Four months a year in Japan for research, production and sales, two annual trips to present at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, and multiple national and international visits with stockists is just how Perthbased, Japan-made label Man-tle rolls.
Returning to home soil this month after a regular two month stint in Japan, Larz Harry and Aida Kim have already ticked off more bucket list items for 2018 than many would dream of achieving by the end
of the year. Meeting with mills and sewing factories, checking samples and production, presenting their next collection to buyers, and working on local press commitments in the Land of the Rising Sun is a winning start to the year by all accounts.
And let’s not forget the side trip in January to present R5 (short for Range 5) at Paris Men’s Fashion Week.
While the experience could be considered a relatively new one for the pair, who launched R1 (Range 1) in 2016, they do come with a seriously impressive set of credentials that include working for industry heavyweight Comme des Garçons. Larz spent six years working in marketing for Dover Street Market in both London and Tokyo, while Aida worked in visual merchandising and brand management for both Comme des Garçons and the Dover Street Market project in Tokyo for five years. For those needing a harder nudge in to the world of fashion, the theme for 2017’s Met Gala (a.k.a. one of the most anticipated fashion events of the year) was the artistic force behind Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo. Needless to say, Larz and Aida’s experience is no mean feat for a couple of Perth based designers.
“We learnt there was great value in doing something original,” Larz says. “We always start with the fabrics – matching textures and colours that are surprising and that are totally masculine, and these colours usually come from rural WA as we drive to our family beach house down in Bremer Bay.”
With a large portion of sales in Japan, where Man-tle is currently stocked in eight stores including Arts & Science, District United Arrows, Graphpaper and Ware-mo-Kou, the brand’s international presence doesn’t stop there. The duo works with Hostem in London, Sanlipop in Beijing, and others in Hong Kong and the U.S., not to mention 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, and there is also the ESHOP,” Larz says.
Man-tle has made its mark with products that are durable, reliable and practical, and informed by Australia and the character of its people.
“We understand this psyche as being a direct reflection of the rugged tactility of the landscape and the extreme environment in this country,” Larz explains. “We see Australian people as being discerning and easy-going, and we like to think our products reflect this too.”
Deriving inspiration for the label’s name from the roughly 2,900km-thick region between Earth’s core and its crust (otherwise known as the mantle), Larz and Aida mean business when it comes to their fabrics. Gravitating towards high-density cloth, they mostly use cotton that has been treated after weaving.
“Our signature cloth is a cotton chambray woven on wooden shuttle looms, often coated in paraffin wax,” Larz says. “With that, we produce shirts, trousers and caps that are mostly generous in shape and easy to wear.”
These fabrics are exactly what make Man-tle’s offering unique, derived from a genuine passion for the craft and traditions of textile manufacturing.
Working directly with seven Japanese mills in total (approximately four per season) allows the brand to develop its ideal textiles. These smaller, artisanal producers are for the most part family run businesses that are very accommodating to its designs.
“We often choose these makers for the fact they are creating modern textiles using very old techniques,” explains Larz. ”Sewing the garments together in Japan also means we have productsthat are very well constructed and finished.”
When asked what his hero piece is and what makes it so popular, Larz’ answer is definite: “It must be SHIRT 1. It’s a loose fitting, regular button up shirt made from the chambray I mentioned earlier and featuring our original hardware. It’s useful as an over-shirt, suited well to the Australian imate, working as a wind barrier, and good for all seasons.”
Could there possibly be anything more desired from a single product?
Aligning itself with the industry’s northern hemisphere calendar, Man-tle has just launched R4 at overseas stockists and will be available in Australia via ESHOP in early March, followed soon after by a launch at the Osborne Park workshop.
And for the fashion-forward women of Perth (and the world)? Rest assured, women’s Man-tle (nicknamed WO-MAN-TLE) debuts in R5, which was presented to buyers in Paris and Tokyo earlier this year. Utilising the same fabrics in completely new women’s shapes, they’ll be available for purchase from July/August 2018.
Visit – http://man-tle.com