The Imperial General is a brand-new street wear company that embodies the themes encompassed within classical Greek history and mythology.
The brand presents a sleek and sharp look, personifying strength whilst expressing Hellenic-based values.
Infused with the 'spirit of the Hellenic warrior', The Imperial General street wear has been embraced by Greek martial artists of the diaspora wishing to represent the brand and all that it signifies.
Greek City Times speaks to Nick, the man behind the brand, to find out more.
Tell us the story about how The Imperial General business began.
In actual fact, the Imperial General started as an idea for a beard balm.
A while back when I was living on my own I was facing some financial difficulties. I always like to be well presented and groom myself but I could not afford to buy beard oil.
I remember looking around my house trying to find something to fix my beard and the can of olive oil in the kitchen caught my eye. I thought to myself, “well that’s a type of oil” and I remember reading that Greeks used olive oil for everything.
Out of curiosity I started researching and learned that the ancient Greeks had a culture of grooming their facial hair with olive oil.
I realised that beard industry was not utilising olive oil and nor was it appealing to men of Mediterranean background with its product offering.
I got really excited and thought to myself I should do something about this I should try and create a balm made out of olive oil and market it in the tradition of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Mediterranean civilisation in general.
During the development of the beard balm I suffered a serious injury to my hand while trying to make a sample which put me out of work for about six months. I guess you could say put a lot of “time on my hands”.
I outsourced the R&D for the beard balm which kept me busy but not busy enough and I felt like I had this creative energy that needed to be exerted elsewhere.
My idea was to make a few T-shirts in order to promote the upcoming beard product but I enjoyed doing that so much that eventually it evolved into more and more styles and branched out into its own thing.
Why is The Imperial General brand resonating so well amongst Greeks and the Greek diaspora? What niche did you see in the market that you thought could be filled?
I’m a very proud Greek Australian and I found that our representation in popular culture wasn’t connecting with our community as well as it could be.
The Greek Australian community is very diverse – as is the Greek diaspora around the world. We have different interests, different lifestyles, but we all have one thing in common which is our ancestry.
In terms of the upcoming beard products I found that there was so many different products on the market but none of them utilise the great benefits of olive oil. There are so many different brands our for beard balms but I wanted to create a product for the ‘Mediterranean man’ - a product they can identify with, something that a Greek Australian or and broadly ‘Mediterranean person’ can see at the shops and say; “This is our product. This is our brand.”
I do truly feel that that young Greek Australian men have a desire to be represented and most importantly they want to be the ones to represent themselves.
Greek Australian men have so much history, motivation, desire as well as very strong ethics that have been instilled into them by their parents and grandparents.
I’ve been trying to capture the essence and needs of this market for a while and I feel that I am on a great track.
I think it’s a great time to express our existence of Greek Australians especially now as we are seeing Greek athletes and other athletes from the Greek diaspora take charge on the international sporting stage.
The aim of The Imperial General is to help represent these Greek athletes, entrepreneurs, business owners and our generation with the spirit of the “Hellenic warrior.”
The Imperial General logo is an image of Pericles - the most famous and influential Athenian statesman of ancient Greece whose name means ‘surrounded by glory’. Can you tell us about this and how the logo was developed?
Pericles became the face of the brand very early in its conception.
After doing some thinking I was trying to find a symbol of Ancient Greece to represent the olive oil beard balm. I remember wondering if I should use Athena as the symbol - after all she gave the gift of the olive tree to the city of Athens according to Greek mythology.
I decided that Athens should be a central theme behind the logo, however considering that beard balm is a male dominated market I had to find something a little bit more masculine.
Pericles was responsible for building the Parthenon and many other culturally significant buildings in Athens, he was an innovator, visionary and a remarkable militaristic general. Pericles was born with a disability [it is said that Pericles would always wear his helmet in public to hide his unusually oblong head] but that did not stop him from being everything that he wanted to be.
Pericles became the symbol of Athenian domination and an overall cultivator of Hellenic culture so it was decided that he had to be at the forefront of the brand.
Pericles was all about legacy. He stands for building things that last - for example the Parthenon is still here after thousands of years standing in strength.
The Imperial General aims to be a consequence and extension of that legacy and to ensure the continuation of the values of self-determination, freedom of expression, bravery, honour, strength and innovation.
We notice that martial artists have developed an affinity with the brand. Can you tell us about this?
Our primary target market is men who identify with Greek culture, particularly those that are enthusiastic about Hellenic culture and in particular Hellenic mythology , Hellenic warriors and history .
Our connection with martial arts wasn’t that deliberate but it became obvious that the people attracted to our brand shared a common passion for martial arts - this was something that was heavily embraced early on.
At this stage the target market is predominantly males however we are seeing the potential to incorporate females in the brand and we do have female customers.
We are looking forward to catering more to females as much of Hellenic culture promotes the image of strong, determined women and these values are what our brand aims to project.
One of The Imperial General’s best selling designs is the ‘Molon Labe’ shirt. Can we talk about what ‘molon labe’ means to you?
To me molon labe means going for everything that you want while being prepared and knowing that you will suffer in the meantime. It’s about embracing the suffering and the hurdles and transforming them into medals of honour.
Metaphorically speaking scars are nothing to be ashamed of, they should be worn like medals .
Molon labe is also about being fearless in the state of your own being.
Your colour palette focuses primarily on black and white at the moment - is this for a particular reason? Will you eventually branch out into new colours?
Yes most of the products are black and white.
We like the aesthetics of black and white - it's clean and sharp.
We are also influenced strongly by the current hip-hop scene in Greece that incorporates a lot of black and white imagery its fashion and video clips.
We are slowly starting to experiment with using navy blue but we are keeping cautious as we recognise that black and white is a distinguishing point for the brand.
The Imperial General clothing has attracted a lot of interest internationally, in particular from Greece and the USA. Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we have received strong interest from Greece and the USA – these are very promising markets for us.
At the moment certain, obvious limitations are making this step a work in progress, however our plan is to become more involved in the international market in the near future.
So, in additional to expanding internationally, what does the future hold for The Imperial General?
We are still working on the extra virgin olive oil based beard balm which was the birth idea of our brand. We have been working alongside some awesome Aussie cosmetic chemists and we can’t wait to release that balm and expand further into cosmetics.
We also want to remain focused on supporting Greek fighters throughout the diaspora, I believe this is the heart of our brand.
In terms of clothes, we will be releasing some really cool hoodies in time for next winter and we are working on a branching out into gym clothing, boxing gear and activewear.
We are really, really excited.
The Imperial General streetwear can be purchased on Facebook and Instagram and website:
Website link : www.theimperialgeneral.com
Facebook: The Imperial General