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Song for the Mute’s Melvin Tanaya on life during isolation

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Song for the Mute’s Melvin Tanaya on life during isolation

Having launched in 2010, Sydney-based label Song for the Mute has evolved from a small 8-piece menswear capsule collection to a globally-stocked brand and recipient of GQ’s 2019 Fashion Brand of the Year. Behind the label is design duo and lifelong friends, Melvin Tanaya (Brand Director) and Lyna Ty (Creative Director), who draw on their experiences to channel unique stories of travel, connection and family into each collection. Their signature genderless, raw and somewhat gothic aesthetic strikes the perfect balance between contemporary and industrial-chic.

Manufacturing out of Sydney, prior to government restrictions came into play amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the Sydney label had plans to open a new concept space in Sydney, a plan that’s now understandably on hold while the pair prepare their upcoming Autumn/Winter 2020 collection, expected to drop in the next coming months.

We recently caught up with Tanaya who shared with us how he has found time in isolation and what he’s most looking forward to when life resumes as per usual.

Song for the Mute’s 20.1 LE BLED collection. Image: supplied.

First off, how have you found your time in isolation?

Most of our team have been working from home but Lyna and I had to keep going with designing our upcoming SS21 collection. It’s kind of nice to have the whole studio to ourselves again like the old days.

How have you been spending your time?

During work hours I’ve been designing with Lyna at the studio. Then spent a lot of after hours doing FaceTime and Zoom meetings after with buyers all around the world trying to figure out what tf is happening.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge?

I don’t think I’ve ever been this mentally exhausted before. Every day we need to make sure we still conduct business as usual but with the addition of new strategies to navigate the current global situation.

How have you been staying inspired?

More films/reading/writing/research. My kids inspire me more and more every day and I wouldn’t be able to go through this without the help of our team.

Tanaya and Song for the Mute’s biggest fan, his daughter. Image: @melvintanaya

Tanaya in the Sydney space working on the 20.2 collection. Image: @melvintanaya

Tanaya and Song for the Mute’s biggest fan, his daughter. Image: @melvintanaya

Tanaya in the Sydney space working on the 20.2 collection. Image: @melvintanaya

What have you learnt about yourself during isolation?

I don’t hate cooking as much as I thought I did.

Has any good come out of isolation for you?

Extra time with family has been a huge added benefit from all of this. Another surprising benefit was the extra space and time Lyna and I had for creativity as we all worked remotely – that said, I’m definitely excited to start working back together as a full team!

What is one thing you will appreciate more when life resumes as per usual?

While the isolating did create more space for ideas and concepts, it also made me realise how important being surrounded by the team is to support all of the elements that run a brand. Also, it’s the simple things in life – like sitting my favourite restaurant with the family and taking my daughters to the park – we will never take for granted again.

What are you most looking forward to post-isolation?

Travelling overseas to visit our fabric mills.

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