Meet Your Maker: Nat Taubman of Barney Cools

  • Style
posted by Kate McCart

We caught up with the Creative Director of Zanerobe and brainchild behind LAPSE to talk to him about his new menswear label, Barney Cools. Inspired by the Aussie coastal lifestyle, the cool new school surf brand has hit the ground running. Take two to find out what makes our home grown Aussie fashion icon tick.

Barney Cools_Nat Taubman


What triggered you to start up a third menswear label?

I’ve been itching to get Barney Cools off the ground for a few years now. Having spent my youth on the Goldy,  I’ve had the surf culture ingrained in me. Like a lot of guys, I’ve evolved on from core surf wear and Barney Cools is my first outlet to show my take on new school surf.

What differentiates Barney Cools from its older brothers, Zanerobe and LAPSE?
Barney Cools is fun and quite nostalgic. Its a boisterous take on fashion (effortless and everyday). We’ve drawn heavily on retrospective influences to create the Barney Cools aesthetic, which bridges surf and streetwear.
At Zanerobe we made the conscious decision that we wanted to challenge people. We explore progressive streetwear trends, whilst focusing on pioneering fabrications and silhouettes. Zanerobe has become a source for fresh and edgy styles, executed in a quality that surpasses fellow brands.
LAPSE is my passion project. I adhere to three simple rules: masculinity, understated and luxury. I get to throw out the commercial rule book and use premier European and Japanese fabric agencies to create a premium lifestyle collection for the astute guys out there.

If you could have any icon wear Barney Cools, who would it be? Why?
I would have to say Donald Glover aka. Childish Gambino. He is a ridiculously talented human who is inspirational from a creative perspective, and also just looks like he would be a legend.

Describe the Barney Cool’s crew in 3 words…
Boisterous, rugged and salty.

Walk us through the through the design process for Barney Cool’s debut collection?
I was lucky enough to launch Barney Cools in summer, which means you can be pretty adventurous. It’s a mischievous time of year and I wanted to put out some fun pieces which reflect the Aussie summer season. The majority of the preparation (design process) was spent in the construction of the apparel – when you pick up a Barney Cools piece even your average dude will be able to notice the superior quality of our garments. It’s our high density stretch fabrications and our tailored finishings that are going to set a new standard for fellow brands. It’s one aspect of the brand I am most proud of.

What’s next for Barney Cools?
Barney Cools has hit the ground running. We’ve had an overwhelming response to the debut collection and I’m super excited to present successive collections in early 2015.
We have a huge amount of travel coming up. We’ve been picked up by premiere USA stores including Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom, so we are heading over there to spread the Barney Cools story. We’ll then travel back through Japan on a fabric-sourcing trip. Design, surf, party, design, surf, party…  or something like that haha.

What will we see you wearing from the debut collection?
I’ve found myself wearing the ‘Cools’ Crew Sweats & Nylon Taslon trunks. I’m pretty lazy guy, so they’re a bit of a no-brainer – I can chuck them on and be out the door in the morning in 5 minutes.

Describe your style…
Pretty cliché for a designer –  haha mostly black. Like I said before, I’m very lazy with how I dress. I have a handful of pieces I love and they are on high rotation. Leather biker, long sleeve knit, jogger pant and hi-tops is me day to day.

Give us the brief history of Nat Taubman…
I grew up in Coolangatta on the Goldy. I always had an interest in design. I moved to Sydney for college and landed a junior design role at Zanerobe where I hustled my way to Creative director in 4 years. Now, whilst continuing on as Creative Director for Zanerobe I’m working on my new brand Barney Cools along with my nocturnal passion project LAPSE. I’m still living in Sydney and still dreaming of escaping somewhere more remote.

Was the fashion industry always where you thought you’d be? How did you get your foot in the door?
Yes, specifically menswear. I originally had a strong passion for graphic design, but once I was schooled in fashion I never looked back. I’d say having a strong computer aided design understanding gave me a massive advantage in getting my foot in the door, but i’m generally pretty hungry and motivated. I would have persisted and persisted, and worked for free until I made a break.

Describe a typical day…
3 x Coffees, 150-250 emails, beers if I’m lucky and a swim if i’m very lucky.

What are your interests outside of work?
Daytime partying (Beach, Pool, Festival – anything in the sun), escaping to places on my motorbike, and getting into DJ’ing (again cliché’, I know).

What’s playing in your headphones right now?
The new Flight Facilities album – Down to Earth.

Next stop?
Konnichiwa – Japan.

Read more on Barney Cools…