For Zubaz, Plans Change, Not the Stripes


(from New York Times, March 5, 2013) For the 2013 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 basketball tournament, Adidas plans on unveiling some “funky new basketball shorts.”  These peculiar shorts resemble a once popular brand of zebra-print pants called Zubaz.  Zubaz were a popular and very recognizable fashion trend during the early 1990’s.  Now, thanks to Adidas, Zubaz is receiving heavy attention all over again.

Dan Stock and Bob Truax were the originators of this fashion theme.  Zubaz were bold and colorful with a tapered inseam and elastic waistband.  They started the company out of a storage closet.  The whole purpose behind them launching this brand was behind many of the complaints that their power lifting friends graced them with about not being able to find pants that fit, and  the idea sprung from there.  They began experimenting with different cuts of fabric and designs, and before they knew it, they had Zubaz.

Zubaz’s big moment came in 1992, when Minneapolis, MN hosted Super Bowl XXVI.  The Minneapolis based company was graced with the presence of many superstar athletes and celebrities who were crazed about the new fashion.  They would come up to the company’s headquarters not only to buy some gear, but to also mingle with the creative designers.  Bob Truax said “(John) Madden used to come out quite a bit, actually… It was very, very common on a year-round basis for people to stop by and get some product. We would have country singers’ buses pulling up outside. But during the Super Bowl, it was everybody.”

At the peak of the company it grossed more than $40 million in annual sales.  Dan Marino also became a partner and pitchman for the company with billboards all over Florida endorsing the Zubaz brand.  By 1995 Truax and Stock decided to sell their remaining stock in the company.  With the help of Adidas, it has given them another opportunity to sell their brand again, and that is exactly what they plan on doing.