Close Up interview with Paul Zack Founder of BCNU Clothing

Tell us a little about yourself and BCNU Clothing.

Paul Zack

Last year I left the corporate world to explore the inner entrepreneur. After 20 years of working for large corporate’s holding executive roles in Sales, Marketing, Product Development and Customer Service it was time to branch out and put all my skills to the test and follow my passion for design.  Going out on a limb I decided to get into the lucrative world of Men’s fashion designing men’s clothing that would reach every corner of the global.  Last year I launched BCNÜ Utility wear online and to date the brand has had much success in a very short time frame with sales coming in from all over the world. We specialise in sportswear and streetwear.

After a seeing a gap in the market for fashionable and stylish sportswear, designing for guy’s that want to look good and feel good in sportswear and streetwear that’s functional versatile and sporty, hence the name Utility Wear

I strongly believe that the influence of sportswear on broader categories of clothing is a welcome trend. Strong colour combinations, sporty styling and detail, and practical cuts designed for the active man, are all indicative of sports and lifestyle brand BCNÜ.

The new Aussie label combines sportswear and urban streetwear in a range that’s designed to be worn 24/7.  Another key feature of BCNÜ ranges is the moisture management system, built into each garment to draw moisture away from the skin and keep you dry when exercising or active.

Our brand focuses on limited editions – I’m a firm believer that just because it’s sportswear doesn’t mean it has to be generic. By adding new designs every few months, we ensure a fresh turnover of styles in a broad range of sports shorts, tank tops, athletic vests, hoodies, sweatshirts and streetwear.

Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?

I’m inspired by colour & People.  What I mean by colour is the effect that colour has on us as humans and how we respond.  I’m a visual person and when I see colour it ignites my imagination and gets my creative juices flowing. It’s colour that that inspires my creativity and is the basis for allowing me to create and design clothing that’s visually pleasing on the eye and grabs peoples attention.

I’m also inspired by people who are visionary and creative and have the ability to see things that others don’t.  I draw strength from these people and they are good to have around.  I generally gravitate toward creative people and flourish in their presence.

Where do you get your inspiration from when you design?

My background is architecture and design and I’m inspired by ‘form, function and colour’. Our clothing has a strong attention to detail with tapered designs and bold colours. We design clothing that showcases a man’s assets. If you work hard on keeping fit and have a good body you want to show it off. Right! Our products compliment a man’s physique with contoured panels and tapered designs.

I love that fact that the brand represents everything about me. Playful, cheeky, colourful and fun. I’m involved in all aspects of the design process, from the initial deign of the garment to the style, colour selection, sales and marketing.

What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?

Creative, Visionary, Energetic & Driven & Fun

Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?

My first job was working at McDonald’s. I started there when I was 15 years old where I found my independence, but if you mean real job, I was and Architect working for Desmond Freeman Architects in Sydney.  It is here that I was able to express myself through design and architecture working on the design of same fairly major projects like the internal redesign of the iconic Queen Victoria Building (QVB) in Sydney and Lego Australia corporate head office in Sydney. After a short stint here in Sydney I travelled to London to build my skill and experience. I soon got the travel bug after living in the UK for 18 months where I travelled the world and returned to London after running out of money where I landed a job in retail working for the Body shop International. I then took a role win telecommunications with British Telecom before returning to Australia. After working for large corporates for 20+ years I decided to venture out and find the entrepreneur within and here we are today, running my business, being my own boss and responsible for designing and creating garments that are sold worldwide.

 What does having your own business mean to you?

Being successful, my own boss and fully accountable. More importantly being happy doing what I love and seeing and hearing the satisfaction of customers as they get into our gear for the first time and come back for more. That’s what inspires me to keep going.

Describe a typical day in your studio space?

The day kick starts with a nice strong coffee followed by lots of work, combination of being creative, planning for success, designing new garments and being fairly active on the social media front.  This is where our customers hand out and I love engaging with them, seeking their feedback and working with them to deliver products that meet their needs.

As a business owner & designer, what is your biggest frustration?

Having to do everything yourself.  In a start-up you wear multiple hats and have to be flexible and willing to do practically everything. Having come from the corporate world where I had an abundance of resources who were accountable to the business and myself, I found having to do everything myself a real challenge. But hey, you get in there and you do what you need to do for your business to succeed. It’s the biggest form of self-gratification when you accomplish things you didn’t think you could do.  That’s what keeps me going day-to-day.

Luminaire Basketball Shorts

Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.

Do the things that please others first and then do the things that please me later. It works for me and keeps me honest and on track.

Tell us about how do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?

I make sure that I put myself out there and make my self-accessible by clients and customers alike. Quite often I will participate in industry forums, which allow me to network and learn form others. With my customers I’m constantly engaging with them thorough social media, advertising and providing avenues for feedback.

What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?

Have a vision, plan, plan, plan and make sure that you stay true to yourself. Never loose sight of your goals and when the going gets tough (and it will), never give up. Be resourceful and never take no for an answer. Where there is a will there is a way and you just need to keep moving forward. Along the journey you will meet people who will inspire you and you will inspire others around you. That’s what its all about. More importantly have fun!

What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?

I’m dreaming of beach house property in Spain. This is where I eventually want to retire with my partner. We both love the warmer weather, beach, Spanish food and culture. For now I will keep working hard and dreaming of the future.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Launching a brand that was conceptualised in my apartment in Zetland, Sydney (that no one knew anything about) and reaching customers at the other end of the world who were inspired by what they saw and bought into the brand. I can’t explain how that makes you feel but it’s definitely my proudest moment so far.

Who do you most want to meet and why?

Richard Branson – A truly remarkable man. He’s been through it all and I love his positive energy, focus and enthusiasm for life and business.

Viper Athletic Vest

What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?

Never give up and never take no for an answer. Be RELENTLESS! There are a lot of people out there that want you to fail. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?

I’m not big on reading books; I find it had to draw inspiration form reading, as they don’t let my creative juice’s flow. If I do pick up a book I generally like reading about other peoples lives. I find people fascinating and amongst other things I’m a big people watcher.  You learn a lot form watching others and their behaviour.

Where do we find you and your products? (List stores & links, websites )

Current we sell online at

You can also find a limited range of our clothing at BANG Clothing in Taylor Square Darlinghurst.

Check out our promo video:

Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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