Bratislava, Slovakia is probably not the first place to come to mind when you think about big & tall clothing. Martin Zelinka is working on changing that with his recently launched brand, NORW8. Tired of wearing t-shirts that didn’t offer the coverage or style he was looking for, Zelinka took matters into his own hands, designing shirts with unique prints and a fit made for bigger bodies. The brand offers tees, hoodies, and sweatshirts from 2X – 7X.
He talks to Chubstr about what makes his brand unique, what he thinks is missing in men’s plus size apparel, and new products coming from NORW8 in the future.
Starting your own clothing brand is a major undertaking. What made you want to do it?
Somebody said: “I do not feel like you can properly look good unless you feel comfortable in what you are wearing.” For years, I was dealing with my belly sticking out of t-shirts, breezy butt crack, and lower back tan lines. You know – hands up and belly out!
[There is a] lack of well-designed clothing for big and tall guys. I am a big guy! I want to feel comfortable and look trendy! There was nothing on the market to feel me this way, so I came up with the idea of my own t-shirt to meet all my requirements.
What makes NORW8 shirts different from other t-shirts on the market?
All NORW8 shirts are handmade and offer a unique cut! My t-shirts are extended and the bottom is slightly narrowed. I wanted to make something that would avoid all the things I mentioned before. Together with my tailor, we made more than 20 prototypes until I was completely satisfied with the final cut and fabric. We were trying fabrics with different combinations of cotton and elastane. I wanted something airy and pleasant to the touch that would keep its shape.
I am also playing more and more with design now. For instance, my Viking Hoodie t-shirt is black with special Viking fabric on the sleeves and hood.
NORW8 currently offers a sweatshirt and hoodie in addition to the t-shirts. What can we expect from the brand in the future?
I am mainly focusing on new t-shirt designs with my own fabric patterns, but we are also working on a business casual collection of polos and short sports pants. In the future, I would like to bring more assortment for big guys like shirts, trousers, and sweaters This will probably take some time as I want each piece to be comfortable and good looking.
We’re seeing more brands begin to offer extended sizing, with varying degrees of quality. Do you feel like big guys have better clothing options now than they did 3 to 5 years ago?
I think big guys have more options than some years ago, but the clothes are still missing features like functionality and style. They don’t properly cover the body and most of them look like they come from the same warehouse.
You’re based in Bratislava. Are there many big & tall clothing shops in Slovakia?
There are few shops for big guys here. You can find big & tall departments in regular shops, but the main problem for me is that I can‘t buy things I like that fit my size.
Try NORW8 Big & Tall T-Shirts for Yourself
Shop NORW8 big & tall t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and more at their website. Follow the company on Instagram here.
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