The right fit: Montreal plus-size fashion brand tackles men's body positivity

Nov 9 2021, 4:54 pm

A Montreal fashion designer wants to pave the way for body positivity in plus-sized men.

Mahrzad Lari, the co-founder and creative director for Wide the brand, has created a fitting line of menswear by carving out a niche in the men’s plus-size fashion market right here in Montreal.

Lari tells Daily Hive the brand stems from a “very personal story,” proclaiming he’s been “a wide man” his whole life. Lari says finding clothes that he both loved and fit was impossible. He says his mother would alter his clothes as a young man because he wanted to express himself through fashion. “I always loved fashion, even though fashion never really loved me back.”

Lari’s desire to create a great-looking plus-size brand didn’t stem simply from seeing a need in the industry. He studied fashion in college and worked for Canada’s leading luxury fashion house, where he learned about cut, proportion, and seam fabrics — which he used to “alter and construct” with his own line.

The young entrepreneur even successfully and confidently pitched his brand to some of Canada’s wealthiest investors on season 16 of Dragons’ Den.

“My knowledge of the craft and my wearing of great fitting garments that I also loved is what started Wide the brand at its core. Wide the brand is far from being about myself, it really is a collective of people coming together to offer wide men all over the country and the world the opportunity to dress as great as they like, and ultimately, so the confidence they have in the inside is reflected on the outside.”

Wide the brand offers a full collection of garments, ranging from tees, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, coats, pants, jumpsuits, and accessories, starting at $90.

 

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Lari says the plus-size movement for women in fashion has been around for more than a decade, but the industry has seen “a very important shift in body positivity for women which has weirdly not followed through for plus-size men.”

The Montrealer says his brand is not the first fashion brand aimed at plus-size fashion but says other outlets often “miss the mark when it comes to plus-size fashion, in general.” Lari says they “simply size up regular garments” without thinking of wider bodies and the  “unique lifestyle and needs” that simply don’t work just by upping a size.

Wide the brand is tailored to fit plus-sized men who don’t have slim-fitting alternatives. “Our silhouettes put the wide man first instead of hiding him,” says the company’s webpage. “Our fabrics stretch and move with agility, allowing for maximum comfort and breathability.”

Lari says his brand aims to serve men with inspiring imagery, marketing, and communications at all times so they can “continuously feel uplifted by our content. Our guys have been ignored by the fashion industry for most of their lives, until now.”

 

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Lari, whose parents immigrated to Montreal in the 1980s from Iran, says Montreal is “at the heart of everything we do,” citing that every aspect of the company is done right here in Montreal. “The essence of our fabulous city is in everything we do!”

He says he thinks plus-size men are now allowing themselves to indulge in their style and are discovering their unique fashion voices.

“Plus-size men have always existed. I just think we always believed, as a society, that plus-size men didn’t care about the way they look.”

Lari says various new drops and collaborations are underway and says Wide the brand plans to become the reference for plus-size menswear. “We want to bring our vision of style, comfort and body inclusivity to Wide men across the world and highlight our city and country’s immense talent in the process.”

 

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