A chat with Mamnick
Mamnick are a label that are certainly on the ascent. With some great accessories and some beautiful shirts, they’re finding more and more favour with discerning blokes looking for well designed and honestly made clothing. I sat down recently with the man behind, Thom Barnett for a chat about why he started the label and where he sees it going in the future.
Morning Thom, so what brought you to start your own label?
Many things really, I’d come to a time in my life where I wanted to focus my creative energies into something of my own. I felt as thought my kmowledge of clothing had grown a lot from working with vintage clothing and I was doing bits and bobs of graphic design in my spare time. I was spending a lot of time on the bike too, and all these things slowly took shape to build the foundation of what is now Mamnick. When our first shirt was in production, I took a mooch around the old industrial facade’s of Sheffield and that’s when I started working with a factory on the steel products, which feels really good since my Grandad worked his entire life within the famous Sheffield steel industry.
How’s the reception been so far? From where I’m sat it looks like it’s doing pretty well?
I’ve been over-whelmed with the response to be honest. I’d not really thought about it until maybe a month back but now we’ve got a full collection being manufactured in Japan and we’re onto our third shirt made in England, it’s starting to become a full-time job – which was really my aim I guess.
I’ve just been taking it one step at a time and putting everything into how the product is seen and received. Nothing has been taken for granted and It’s great that people (such as yourself) have written about us and helped us spread the word. It’s something that I started by selling my own jacket collection, working with a super tight budget and that’s extremely difficult when your mixing it up with the big-boys of the fashion world.
I’m not counting my chickens just yet, we’ve still got a long long way to go but so far so good really.
What you’ve already produced incorporates clothing and metal accessories, are there plans to continue broadening your product base as the label grows? I seem to remember hearing something about shoes?
I have started working on a limited run of shoes, made in a factory in Derbyshire. They’re passionate about what they do and being based in the Peaks ties in with Mamnick so well, but I don’t want to start making every little idea that comes into my head. I’d like to focus on making limited runs of shirts that are manufactured in England at a price that compliments the consumer, and I think we’re getting closer to doing that. I’m sat on a couple more steel ideas, just waiting for the right time to release them.
How’s the Black Label range coming along?
Really good thanks. It’s going to be more limited in numbers than the British manufactured stuff, less than 10 pieces in many cases but the quailty and attention to detail is more than I could wish for. Really looking forward to doing the shoot, that’s really when all the stress and anxiety is over and I can start focusing on the creative again. The floral shorts seem to be on people’s shopping list already after the emails I’ve received, but unfortunately there will be some unhappy faces as I’ve only manufactured x8 in each colour! That’s something I really need to look into.
And how did that range come about?
I was supplying two stores in Osaka with UK and Euro vintage. They branched out their store and started stocking new-brands as opposed to old. Mamnick joined their roster of brands. There’s a new development being made in Tokyo at the moment, it’s not really my place to say too much about it but I’ve been working on the creative overhaul of the store and through the process of working closely with Osam (the store founder), we designed a collection when he was over at my home. The samples we’re superb and we pushed on with the production.
I think we’re now the only UK brand, along with Nigel Cabourn that is manufacturing in Japan. That’s not too bad in six months, I never thought it would move so fast.
How important to you is where Mamnick’s products are manufactured?
For the steel products it’s vital, 100% integral and important, not only because it’s on my door-step but Sheffield is known for making the best steel in the world. I’d like to try and remind people of that.
Obviously the quality of the garments comes first, if that can be done in UK and still give me a retail price that doesn’t mark out your average man then I’m interested. Some of the factories I’ve been to don’t seem to understand that. Most of the textiles industry has been sold up now, so it’s making it harder and harder for people to make stuff here. But although I’m proud to make stuff here, I’ve seen the dark-side to it all. The ‘Made in England’ tag-line is being damaged because certain factories don’t really want to help, regardless of what they’re shouting about on Twitter etc…
You’re a keen cyclist, are we going to see more cycling-orientated clothing from Mamnick, or is riding your bike more of a hobby that has a broader influence on what you do generally?
I’m inspired by the bike and I ride a lot. It’s become an obsession over the last four years. I was once told that growing old is about learning good habits and the bike is the best good habit there is. It’s a vehicle I use to get to the remote places in the Peaks and I’ve always wanted to share these places with my friends in some way. I’ve been drawing up plans for a free sportif, ‘The Mamnick Challenge’, in the Peak district in the summer, hopefully to encourage more people to visit on their bikes and see what all the fuss is about.
I did make some cycling caps to give to my friends and there is more bike-related things in the pipeline, but Mamnick is definitely not a cycling-brand. If anything, I’d love it if we became a brand that cyclist wore when not on the bike. I’ve found the bikes become a social currency and I’ve found more and cyclist are following what we are doing after our two little bespoke pieces for Rapha.
And finally, do you have a long-term plan for the brand or are you just going to see where it ends up and grow it organically?
I’m just doing one thing at a time the best I can, trusting my intuition so I think it’s quiet organic. Ideas come and go and it’s a matter of taking on the right ones to commit to and working with the right people. I don’t want it to become stale and working on things alone gives me the freedom to maneuver the Mamnick vessel rather easily in whatever direct I want.
For more information on the brand, or top buy via their online shop, go to the website here: Mamnick.