Melbourne label McIntyre is championing wool with its contemporary, colourful designs

Melbourne label McIntyre is championing wool with its contemporary, colourful designs

McIntyre is championing wool with its colourful designs

“Honestly, we are just trying to share how good wool is with as many people as possible. We believe that once you start wearing it… you won’t go back to wearing synthetic fibres.”

When you’re building your wardrobe with sustainability and cost per wear in mind, something you often learn the hard way is that synthetic fibres aren’t the best investment. Yes, you might have found the most incredible slinky nylon top from your favourite designer but after a few wears, you’ll probably realise the fabric isn’t breathable and that it traps sweat against your skin.

This is why many conscious shoppers are increasingly opting for natural fibres. Melbourne brand McIntyre is intimately aware of the benefits of one natural fibre in particular: merino wool. The label’s founders, Ned Scholfield and Raquel Boedo, started McIntyre with the aim of introducing “wool to a new generation”, and its vibrantly coloured, contemporary designs are doing just that.

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The husband and wife duo have an intimate knowledge of the fibre, thanks to the time they’ve spent on Ned’s family’s sheep farm (his family have been farming wool since 1846). They firmly believe once you start wearing its pieces, you won’t go back to synthetic fibres. Below, they share the journey of starting their label and their passion for educating consumers about the many benefits of merino.

Tell us about you. What’s your fashion background?

Ned and Raquel: We are a husband and wife team. Raquel grew up in the Netherlands and worked in fashion events, then worked in homewares in Australia. Ned was [working in] brand[ing] at Rains, Eastpak and Crumpler in Australia before starting McIntyre.

As part of our roles, we used to travel to Europe a few times a year for business meetings. This was influential for us as it made us realise there is no iconic Australian wool brand that is known internationally [so we decided] we should start one!

How did the label get started? Talk us through the process and the challenges.

N and R: After living on our family sheep farm we noticed a huge disconnect between the farmer who is producing the fibre and the consumer who is buying clothing. Then after moving back to Melbourne and working in fashion, we realised we couldn’t find any merino wool clothing that we liked, so we thought ‘Why don’t we make our own?’. McIntyre was born and our goal was to introduce wool to a new generation.

What were you trying to achieve from the project at the time? How has this evolved and what are you trying to communicate through the brand now?
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N and R: Our goal was to reintroduce wool into people’s wardrobes by designing fashionable pieces and educating them about the benefits of wearing a natural, sustainable fibre like wool. After year one, we realised that our [point of difference] was colour, because most merino knitwear out there is beige, brown, or charcoal so we were like let’s do the opposite and make our knits in bright colours!

Honestly, we are just trying to share how good wool is with as many people as possible. We believe that once you start wearing it and recognise the breathability, temperature regulation, and odour resistance you won’t go back to wearing synthetic fibres.

We also need to constantly educate people that our wool is not itchy, it’s actually really, really soft against the skin. We are also excited to be an i=Change partner now, so each time someone makes a purchase from us we donate $1 to a charity of their choice. It’s a really nice way for us to give back as we continue to grow our business.

How would you describe McIntyre to someone who’s never seen it before?

N and R: Premium, colourful and sustainable clothing to make you stand out from the crowd.

Where did the name come from?

N and R: Ned is a five-time descendant of Duncan McIntyre. Duncan settled Ned’s family farm back in 1846 and the family has been growing wool on the property ever since. We decided to use the McIntyre name to carry on this wool-growing heritage and take it to the next level – from farm to fashion.

What are you most proud of in your work on your label?
N and R: When someone buys their first McIntyre piece and they tell us they fell in love with wool because of us.
What do you wish you knew when you started?
N and R: I’m glad we didn’t know how hard it would be because we probably wouldn’t have started!

Who do you think is the most exciting in Australian fashion right now?

N and R: For us, it’s all about brands that are doing something different and stand for something bigger than just clothing. From Jericho Road Clothing which has amazing prints and is for all sizes, to Dion Lee who worked hard to make Australian fashion stand out internationally.

What about the Australian fashion industry needs to change?
N and R: We think Australians need to get behind Australian brands more. Sometimes it feels like you need to have success overseas in order to gain attention in Australia.

Dream Australian collaborators?
N and R: Alemais [and] Venroy.

R: Jacquemus, Loewe, Staud, Ruslan Baginskiy, Jericho Road Clothing and lots more!
N: Ami, JW Anderson, Levi’s [and] New Balance.
How can we buy one of your pieces?
N and R: Our website has our whole range or you can visit one of our stockists.

Anything else to add?
N and R: Wool is not just for winter! It’s amazing to wear in warmer weather. Try our merino tees, you will love them!
Explore McIntyre’s full range

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