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Emperor Apparel was a brand born out of frustration. In 2014 Australian fashion had clearly flat lined. It was evident at the time that many of the brands that were considered popular were producing their products at the lowest cost possible with no regard for the quality or the fit. I could never find clothes that fit me properly. The t-shirt lengths were always too short, the templates were boxy, the sleeves were baggy and the fabrics felt like sandpaper due to most of the products being produced with cheap cotton fabric blends.

When speaking with friends and staff working in retail stores throughout Australia, everyone was suffering the same frustration when shopping for clothes. When I shopped for clothes I would often purchase from European brands or order from US online. Trying to order from international designer brands and brands that specialised in limited edition designs was a painful experience because most products would sell out or some brands didn’t even ship internationally (This was back when e-commerce wasn’t as big as it is today). It was here I discovered a very large hole in the Australian fashion market and decided if I wanted the high end products my friends and myself liked and talked about,  I would have to design and produce them myself.

After several months of intense research, designing, sourcing manufacturers, sampling, late nights and countless cups of coffee I designed the first Emperor Apparel collection. When designing this collection I wasn't influenced by market trends or any other brands or designers, I simply designed exactly what I wanted to wear an incorporated bold design elements into the products to make them unique and distinctive.

The first range was 5 cap designs and 4 t-shirts designs. I used the money that I had saved up from working as an electrician and placed my first order with with my manufacturers with the aim of producing the products and selling them online. Previous to this I had no experience in business, clothing design, production or online marketing and advertising.

When I told my parents I hated my job and was going to leave it to pursue fashion their response was "We know you've always been passionate about fashion but how the hell are you going to make this work? You've never ran a business or been involved in designing or producing clothes" and my response was "I will go to whatever lengths it takes to make this work. I know what people want to wear and I'm going to produce it and put it onto the market. I'll learn the rest as I go along."

I released the first range in February 2014 and promoted the products through Facebook advertising, organic Facebook posts and Instagram. I also made sure all of my friends were kitted out and always seen wearing the products in clubs and any events they were taking part in. By April, the whole collection had sold out and I had pre-order requests from customers who had missed out on their sizes on the first production run. I re-produced the first range again and it sold out in June. It was here that I started receiving requests from retailers to start stocking the products in stores and the brand started growing rapidly.

The aim for Emperor Apparel has always been to design and create innovative, unique and superior quality products for fashion forward individuals worldwide. It is a premium brand designed to cater for people who want and expect nothing but the best. I started with this mission and will continue to ensure we are always are guided by our 3 key brand principles:

  • Ensure superior quality is maintained in every product
  • Strict attention to detail on the cut and fit of our products
  • To remain unique, innovative and one step ahead

I am so proud to see that we have now built a strong and loyal customer base of individuals that align with our brand vision and support us season after season. We pledge and promise innovation and superior quality and we now have an obligation to ensure we continue to deliver this every season to our valued customers. This is extremely exciting and what motivates and drives us to continually push the barriers of fashion and create unique and distinctive products that are always leaps ahead of the current market trends.


To all our amazing customers who have supported us so far, I would like to personally thank you all. Without our #emperorarmy we wouldn’t be here today and Emperor Apparel wouldn’t have had such a significant impact on the Australian fashion scene. I am looking forward to a successful and positive future and look forward to building and expanding the Emperor Apparel movement season after season.


Zane Marshall
Owner & Founder
Emperor Apparel


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