It’s been quite a ride for Perth-based, Japanese-made label Man-tle, ever since husband-and-wife duo Larz Harry and Aida Kim locked eyes and ideas while working together at Comme des Garçons in Tokyo two years ago.
When did Man-tle launch, and what has been the response so far?
R1 (short for Range 1) went into stores in July 2016. By that point we had already been working on the project for about 18 months, developing the fabrics, our blocks and the relationships with our first retailers. We got off to a great start thanks to the network we built while working in fashion in Japan and the UK.
Each piece of clothing is made in Japan. Tell us the unique point of difference this gives you in the Australian market.
Working directly with the mills there allows us to develop our ideal textiles for our products. These smaller artisanal producers are family run businesses and for the most part they are very accommodating of our designs. Sewing the garments together in Japan also means we have products that are very well constructed and finished.
Describe your creative process.
We always start with the fabrics – matching textures and colours that are surprising and that are totally masculine. These colours usually come from rural WA, as we drive to our family beach house down in Bremer Bay. We later develop the shapes of our garments for easy use and for comfort.
What was the motivation behind using custom fabrics?
These fabrics make our offering unique – and they have come from our genuine passion for the craft and traditions of textile manufacturing. We often chose these makers for the fact they are creating modern textiles using very old techniques.
What is your go-to piece?
(Larz) Shirt 1 is my core item. It’s timeless and incredibly versatile. We have a lot of customers who only wear Shirt 1, and who buy a new colour every season.
Any plans for a women’s line?
There are plans!
Where can Man-tle be found around the world?
A large portion of our sales are in Japan where we are currently stocked in 8 stores including Arts & Science, District United Arrows, Graphpaper and Ware mo Kou. We work with Hostem in London, Sanlipop in Beijing and others in Hong Kong and the US. We also work with Hamish Munro in Melbourne, and on occasion McKilroy in Perth.
We also have a workshop that we open to the public in Osborne Park every Saturday afternoon (when we are not away in Japan for production). Also there is the ESHOP.
What’s next for Man-tle?
We are heading back to Japan at Christmas for our regular two-month stint when we meet mills, sewing factories, check samples and production, present our next collection to buyers and work on local press commitments. We do that trip twice per year. Following that we will be back in Perth to launch our R4 collection – available to buy then!