Where the runway meets the street
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Our ‘Visits’ series continues with a trip to the offices of Sydney brand Song For The Mute.

As one of our favorite brands from Down Under, Song For The Mute has helped put Sydney back on the current fashion map. With all fabrics sourced carefully from Italy and Japan, the label’s founders Melvin Tanaya and Lyna Ty have gone above and beyond both in terms of the final product and the studio where everything is created. To learn more about their new operation, we paid them a visit and asked them a few questions.

Tell us about the space.

It’s a unique space that allows new and current SFTM audience members to view all facets of the SFTM design process. At the end, they have the opportunity to purchase the finished product.

Does the building have any stories/historic background? What was it originally before you moved in, for example?

Prior to SFTM, the space was home to a creative design team and before that it was an art school.

What condition was it in when you moved in and what did you do to make the space yours?

It was a blank canvas for us when we moved in. The retail side we had to design and we installed the clothing rails, front counter, mirrors and the fitting room.
The design space we installed two tables for cutting and designing, etc. We also managed to find two massive floodlights, which we installed as the design area’s lighting. The netting that divides the retail space and the design space was handmade and assembled by Lyna.

How does this space represent the brand?

The space is reflective of a couple things: personally it has become our second home, the space itself makes me excited to go to work, it’s one of those things that you know just carries good creative energy. It also shows how much we’ve grown as a business but most importantly, just like the brand, it’s a work in progress. It’s ever-evolving.

What goes on here?

It serves multiple purposes: a warehouse, design studio, retail premises and sometimes an event space.

Why did you decide to create a space that houses both your creative and your retail?

It all came about when we found the space. The space would be too big for a creative design space solely so we thought of creating the front as a retail space, which allowed us to meet our end-clients in person. This is a very powerful thing.

Why did you decide to make the creative space open for your clients to see?

It gives people access into the “SFTM” design process and in a sense they get to be part of it, too.

When did you move here and where did you come from? I remember you once told me how you used to work out of cars.

We moved into the Glebe space at the beginning of 2014. Prior to that, we were working out of a very small studio in Surry Hills for about 2.5 years. In that old space we didn’t even have enough space to have a proper pattern-making table – we couldn’t even fit racks to hang our collection up. Everything was hung on windows and I had to place my laptop on my lap!

How has the space helped you to grow? Since being here you have moved into womenswear, built a team within the company and are building more expansive collections.

As the label is starting to receive more attention and the business gets busier, we knew we would have to grow the team and the space needed to be flexible to accommodate this. This space gives us physical freedom and also allows us to grow from the “inside out.”

What does the future hold?

There are exciting things happening both in the immediate and distant future: a show in Paris, a second retail space…I can’t give away too much so you’ll just have to wait and see.

If you can’t visit the shop in person, head over to their website to browse their current offerings.

Written by Lester Jones for

Words by Staff
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