All our storiesMungo

20 Apr 18

Mungo embodies the spirit and nobility of textiles. Using only natural fibers with carefully sourced yarn, this unique family-run company creates beautiful, sustainable products in an ethical, open and transparent way. The history here is palpable as Mungo still works with restored antique looms, in their own weaving Mill in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. Their patterns are still drawn by hand, with paper and pencil. Their aim is to produce timeless quality textiles for the home. In a world of soulless mass production, being able to offer items with a story that is real is like a stroll in the country of slow design and that's exactly what we cherish at Cosy and The Gang.

photo ©Mungo

Created by Master weaver Stuart Holding, Mungo has gained over the years a worldwide reputation. How do you explain this great success?

In Stuarts formative years he did a apprenticeship at the Yorkshire weaving mills. This cultivated a deep, technical understanding of textiles and a lifelong passion. I think one of the most important factors of Mungo’s success is that the business began from a place of passion; the deep desire to make good quality textiles. Twenty years later this is still core to the business. The loyal customers that we have gained over the years are testament to this. It all comes down to quality. In addition to this we champion the idea of manufacturing in an honest, transparent and sustainable manner, something which has become increasingly more rare in the global textile industry.

Although your company has been growing quite a lot, it continues to be a family-run business with a close-knit team. A slightly indiscrete question: what is your favorite part of this family collaboration… and what is worst?

Being in a family business is like being in any big family really. When you love, you love hard. When you fight, you fight hard. There is no lack of passion in what gets done. So this recipe can be one of huge success and shared joy in everyone, as well as a stumbling block in getting opinions across and decisions made. But we are all working on the same goal, so once the issues are put aside we can make magic!

photo ©Mungo
« Sometimes, when I wake up at night, I feel invisible hands weaving my destiny. » Fernando Pessoa —

In no more no less than ten words, what characterize a future best seller among your new products?

It all depends on the customers preference. But the products with a great tactile quality, and detailed woven design often become the best sellers.

Do you feel, like we do, that more and more consumers reward quality and pay even more attention to the ethics of a brand rather than selecting mass production textiles?

Yes absolutely. We have noticed a backlash to mass production and cheap, inferior quality imports. People are starting to vote with their wallets, to support companies and purchase products that are produced in an ethical way and that will last many seasons.

Some of your looms that you’re still using have this incomparable retro feeling, how old are the most antique ones? And what specificity does it give to your production process?

All our looms have been purchased second hand and carefully restored to their former glory. Our oldest looms are the Lancashire and Hattersley shuttle looms that were made in the late 19th century. We also have some Ruti shuttle looms from the 1960s, and the Dornier Machines are from the late 70s and 80s. The older shuttle looms have a quite a different feel to the more modern weaving machinery. It is easy to be experimental with them as it is easier to manipulate the designs - this is why we often use them for product sampling. Another great characteristic of the shuttle looms is their ability to weave a selvedge - a self finished edge that stops the fabric from unraveling or fraying. Last but not least there is something quite mesmerising and intriguing about seeing the antique shuttle looms in action, it is like a seeing a fundamental part of weaving history brought back to life.

photo ©Mungo