From its niche beginnings in 2010, avant garde and street-inspired label Song for the Mute initially came to fruition through a simple t-shirt idea. Hailing from the economic hub of Sydney, Australia, it wasn’t before long that the brand garnered a slew of fans from across the globe, and after eight years in the game, its oversized silhouettes and meticulous designs can be found throughout an extensive list of worldwide stockists.
But the best is yet to come. Refining their style and maturing through experience, founders Lyna Ty and Melvin Tanaya are planning towards the long-term and if their mysterious SS/19 collection is anything to go by, we expect an explosion of mass appeal.
Finding their voice, ICON sat down with the creative duo to chat about what is next for Song of the Mute.
Tell us how Song for the Mute came to be and what the real essence of this label is?
Melvin: “Lyna and I went to school together and shared a strong, long-term friendship. I came to Lyna with a t-shirt idea, and we soon found that working together creatively flowed very organically. From that first basic print t-shirt, it evolved into out first ever collection ‘Ink’. This was our first attempt at a menswear collection which only comprised of eight styles altogether but still an intensive process that took us almost a full year to develop. Since then, our voices have evolved and matured, but it’s still fuelled by the same ambition and optimism that inspired us to start the brand. We now view Song for the Mute as an evolving story – each season as a chapter, a male and female cast, never one the same. Narratives told with exceptional fabrics and experimental process.”
What is your creative approach? Do you ever take inspiration from outside the fashion world?
Lyna: “I am always searching for inspiration. Whether that is with the people I meet, the art I see, or the travel that I do, it could be the most obscure thing that triggers my imagination. For many previous menswear collections, I would construct a fictional character from my ideas, and a representation of this characters would be displayed in the clothes – harbouring the feeling and attitude of this character. As the collections have evolved and my design process has matured, I now see each collection as a chapter – like a snapshot in time to reveal the current experiences of both myself and Melvin. I still reference character traits, yet in a deeper way – where do they live? What music are they listening to? What scent is best for them? These details become the essence of my ideas, becoming a key ecosystem and inspiration reference point for each collection.”
Since 2010, you have been creating timeless designs that live beyond the season and that’s what make your brand so unique. Is there a specific connection between every collection?
Lyna: “In almost every case, there is no deliberate connection between collections. There may be design elements or shapes that are carried over, but they are always reinterpreted in a new way, and take on a new meaning – it needs to feel right to fit a specific collection, a character, and a concept. We understand that we must challenge one another to progress and evolve, to ensure we approach ideas in new ways and moving forward outside of our comfort zones.”
In the last few years I feel like the bridge between menswear and streetwear has become very thin. What do you think about this concept and where it is all going?
Lyna: “It’s true that streetwear has become a huge part of the fashion system. From the outside, FW18 could be seen as a streetwear inspired in terms of the styling, while our upcoming collection 19.1 STILL LIFE (SS19) is more delicate and clean, with the use of lighter, refined fabrics. We always have liked to re-appropriate traditional ideas, fabrics, cuts, and express them in our own way. Streetwear is one additional avenue for us to experiment with different shapes, printing methods and techniques, and the introduction of textures and pattern and how this affects a collections overall feeling.”
Can you tell me your biggest challenge so far and the biggest one to come. What’s next for you guys?
Melvin: We’re always progressing and evolving, conscious to never be reactionary in decision making. In some way we let the ideas flow much like our design process, in a more organic way. We do have exciting news regarding long-term plans into the future, but again, we never get ahead of ourselves. The focus is always on the hard-work, the ideas, and creating what we believe is a thoughtful collection each season – a chapter in time to best reflect the essence of Song for the Mute. From past experience, if we continue to make this the focus, then all other aspects will inevitably fall in place.”
You can follow ICON’s Street Editor, Roberto Malizia on instagram @this.is.malice