Photography by McIntyre Australia
He was ten years into his fashion career when NED SCHOLFIELD - the 6th generation of a Merino wool farming family in Victoria - decided that he wanted to share the joys of wearing wool. Having identified a gap in the market and access to some of the world’s finest Merino wool, MCINTYRE AUSTRALIA was born; a 100% Australian wool knitwear company that manufactures women's, men's and accessories collections in Melbourne. Here, we speak to the man who is taking the product of his 170-year-old family-run business direct to the consumer with his emerging fashion label.
How did you get started in fashion? What were you doing before you started your label?
I have been working in fashion for 10 years now. My most recent role was Global Sales Manager at Australian brand Crumpler. I really enjoyed working for an Australian company that exports globally and it was during this time that I started to think about starting my own label that is iconic Australian.
What inspired you to start your label?
I grew up on a Merino wool farm which my ancestors (The McIntyre’s) have been growing wool on since 1846. I have always loved wool as a fibre and working in fashion I felt there was a gap in the market for wool clothes that I wanted to wear; good quality basics in on trend colours.
If asked to describe your label to someone unfamiliar with it, what would you say?
Smart casual Merino knitwear
What makes your label unique?
We use 100% Australian Merino wool, and we manufacture everything in Australia.
What is your design philosophy?
Premium basics in on-trend colours.
How would you describe your design process?
We get a lot of inspiration from old Australian made knitwear. Whether it be a scarf from the 1950’s or a cableknit that our grandparents knitted. We take this inspiration and apply 21st-century design and manufacturing practices to it to come up with something that is classic yet modern.
What are your best selling products?
Our unisex crewneck ‘The Colin’.
Ned Scholfield with his father
Who are your customers?
25 to 45-year-old urban dwellers who care how their clothes are made.
Where do you look for inspiration?
We look everywhere for inspiration! For example, we are inspired by quality Australian workwear styles, high-end Italian menswear, and the latest on-trend colours.
How has the Internet/digital marketing impacted your business?
In a very positive way. The majority of our sales are made online, and we see it as a vehicle to grow a global brand from Australia. We put a lot of focus on having high-quality imagery of our garments to ensure customers can ‘see’ the details of each product.
What’s the best business advice you have received?
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.
What do you think the future holds for your label and shopping in Melbourne?
I see McIntyre continuing to grow in the Australian market at a steady rate, whilst simultaneously expanding into new markets Internationally. As for shopping in Melbourne, I am a big fan of independent stores and I really like the shopping strip in Northcote at the moment.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young designer, or someone starting out in their career, what would you say?
Find a niche and hone in on it. Understand that customer, and make sure you talk to them directly.