This season we’ve collaborated with local manufacturing business Melbourne Textile Knitting. Dedicated to creating beautiful textiles, we’ve used their unique fabrics throughout our womenswear collection. Here, we talk to owner Stephen Morris-Moody about what makes MTK’s textiles so special.
Having been a part of the industry more than 85 years, Melbourne Textile Knitting (MTK) is somewhat of a stalwart on the fabric and garment scene. Run by the Joseph family for three generations, the ownership of the business switched hands a few years ago to Stephen Morris-Moody who’d worked alongside the family for 20 years.
One of the very few companies to survive the local exodus to off-shore manufacturing, MTK has had to grow and develop with the changing tides of the industry. It has relied on its dedication to craftsmanship and innovation, and used niche techniques and machinery to continue create unique, quality fabrics.
“My approach is extremely holistic” explains Stephen. “From the idea to the finished product, I’m involved every step of the way. We are design and trend driven and not motivated primarily by price or quantities, so it’s important our product reflects this philosophy.”
“MTK is seen as an innovator. We’re a small, niche business, and the designers we cater to don’t want to see things that can be produced in high volumes or cheaply. We provide personal and original creative services in a market that can often be defined by mass production. When designers are talking to me, they are talking to the person who manufactures the product – there is no one in the middle.”
Stephen goes on to explain the design process; “All of our fabrics start with an idea. I am inspired by the industry’s craving for innovation, so I like to experiment with stitch structures to create different textures in fabrics which may also inspire designers. What I really find exciting is that an idea can come from anywhere. Art, architecture and nature, for example, provide endless possibilities and inspiration for ideas. Translating these ideas into a vision for a fabric is truly a rewarding creative process.”
Stephen explains that there are two main aspects that make their textiles so unique. First off, they tend to mix different yarns in ways other businesses do not seem to think of. Secondly, the machinery in their factory is almost as old as the business, so they are able to produce fabrics that simply can not be created on high volume machines. These two factors working together result in the creation of their beautiful and completely original fabrications; of which help to set them apart in the marketplace.
“Once I have an idea, I talk through the vision of the fabric with the technicians and describe the yarns I would like to use," says Stephen. "They then set the machines to knit a trial run. The type of fabric being created dictates the type of machine that will be used and the settings of the machine. In some cases, a sketch or pattern is drawn up first, but most of the time we go directly to the knit stage. Once the sample is produced, we make any necessary adjustments to the yarn or machine settings. When we are satisfied with the result, we produce bulk sampling.”
"At the end of the day, business is business," continues Stephen. "What keeps me motivated is when I finally get hold of what is the idea, and it works, and it is beautiful. That’s what drives me. I want everything that follows the previous season to be better and more beautiful than the ones that came before."