With a background in textile at Charles Parsons, it was only a matter of time before Alice Scotts started her own label. Helen and Alice Scotts, a mother and daughter team are the founders of luxe label Mhoo Mhoo. While Alice’s experience stems from an apparel background, Helen brings the business side to the label. With a love of fine fabrications, this label is the antithesis to fast fashion and low quality garments the fashion industry is churning out in in abundance.
Despite the hardships, limitations and expense of making in Australia, it’s something they are passionate about, focusing their brand ethos on being an advocate for slow fashion. Quality pieces, are important to them with timeless design. As is also the use of fine fabrications to produce pieces that are built to last.
I sat down with them before their launch at this years Fashion Exposed Now.
Tell me about the ethos of the brand and who is the customer?
We design and manufacture clothing for fashion conscious women who love classic, sophisticated design and have a preference to buy locally produced, quality garments. All our garments are designed and made in Melbourne.
How long has the brand been going for? Is this your first time exhibiting at a trade fair?
We have been in business for 4 years now, and this is the first time we have exhibited at a trade fair.
What made you both go into business together?
We have always shared a love of fashion and design and for a number of years discussed the prospect of building our own label. We wanted to design and make garments we would wear ourselves, both during our work and play time. Mhoo Mhoo has enabled us to do that. When Alice entered the textile industry, having completed a Diploma in Fashion and Textile Merchandising, we were well positioned to source and access the finest quality fabrics to make our garments.
Helen has worked in management and run her own business for some time, and Alice has worked within the fashion and textiles industry for several years, so Helen’s business savvy and Alice’s industry experience have helped us to become the brand you see today.
Alice, tell us about your background with Charles Parsons and your experience in the fashion industry?
I have been at Charles Parsons for 6 years now in a variety of roles, from business administrator through to procurement coordinator for local production.
I am very lucky that I get to work with the merino product Mhoo Mhoo uses all the way from ordering, through production, quality assurance checking and then to the finished product.
With your background at Charles Parson has this taken a lot of trial and error out of sampling with your knowledge of fabrications?
We knew we wanted to work with Merino wool so this wasn’t too difficult, however over the years we have trialed different merino qualities, from jersey to Ponte, different weights and finishes depending on what our customers like and warm to.
What are the best selling pieces in your brand?
Our signature style is definitely our Batwing top, which we have repeated from season to season. It is made from beautiful 100% mid-weight merino wool. Its lustre and drape are beautiful and really complement the wearer no matter what shape.
How important is made in Australia to you and have you managed to stay competitive?
This is very important to us. We design, source fabrics and manufacture in Melbourne, Australia. Our fabrics are all sourced locally in Melbourne. We think it is important to highlight the local talent we have here in Australia, and encourage consumers to support small local businesses like ourselves, and to drive the ethical and sustainable fashion movement. We want to be at the forefront of this movement. We want to promote and highlight the work done by small designers such as ourselves.
What sort of fabrications are you using?
Our fabrics are 100% merino wool, some merino/silk blends and some styles with leather paneling.
You were finalists in the 2015 Australian Wool Fashion Awards and also in Melbourne Fashion Festival, any other plans for the brand?
We would like to grow our stockists, to work with and listen to retailers so we can be the best we can be.
Your website mentions you are supporting ‘slow fashion’ what does that mean to you? Is sustainability an important part of your brand?
Our garments are designed to last, both through their classic feminine design and the high quality of materials used. We promote the idea of slow fashion, in today’s retail market within Australia, it is very difficult to come up against the ‘big guys’ who promote fast fashion. We aim to promote sustainability and to highlight the amazing fashion coming from our homegrown labels in Australia. We are not trend based, we are quality based.
You can find Mhoo Mhoo at this year’s Fashion Exposed NOW – Stand number: F05
About the Author, Phoebes Garland
Phoebes Garland is the Co-founder & Co-owner of Garland & Garland Fashion, a fashion & consultancy agency based in Sydney, and founder of Fashion Initiative. Between the two of them, Phoebes & Robert Garland have over 60 years’ sales experience in fashion, publishing and advertising. Phoebes is an industry mentor to designers with Australian fashion industry body, Australian Fashion Chamber and is on the Advisory Board for Fashion Design Studio (TAFE NSW). Phoebes Garland is also an ambassador to Shake it up Australia Foundation and contributes articles to Australian Fashion industry magazine, Ragtrader.