Featured Designer: Te.Mono

FK talks to Jarren who is a Leather accessories designer from Melbourne’s Te.Mono. Te.Mono will be debuting at our upcoming Sydney Markets in May.

Tell us about your leather accessories label Te.Mono.
Te.Mono is actually the business name for the label called “te.”, although from this year we have started a new label under the same business called temono. The first label, te. utilises traditional saddlery techniques in leather work to make durable leather goods with a more unique aesthetic when compared to stuff made by machine. The new label temono has a similar approach to construction but is finished by sewing machines to make it more accessible. Everything is made in our own studio in melbourne. We aim to give Australians decent creative jobs which, in the leather industry disappeared a long time ago.

What is your background and where does the passion for leather craft come from?
I did leather work for my father from a very young age but the country aesthetic didn’t inspire me very much then. Though I did make some of my own designs, it was really just to have a new wallet for myself. I then studied art and photography before running an art gallery. One day when I was living in Tokyo I found a skin of leather and decided to make myself a bag. It was a passion that I had never experienced. I had design skills from uni and I already had the leather working skills from me old pa. Everything came together suddenly, and I had the confidence to enjoy the process without being impatient about the finished product.

Describe to us your creative process.
I don’t really think that I have a typical process that works for me every time. Sometimes while making one thing I get an idea from how the leather is behaving so I quickly try to make a prototype or at least a little sketch to remember it. I try not to sketch too much though because I find that once I have put them in a book with pencil I forget about the ideas. Consequently I have book after book of ideas that will never get made. If I make a quick prototype straight away even if it is messy and ugly and put in in my studio it tends to remind me to continue with it when I have time.

What have you learnt about running your own label?
Oh I think the question should really be what haven’t I learnt! The biggest lessons though would be; I don’t have to follow the fashion industry’s trends and business practice. I can make my own rules about how my business is run. And above all, my time is very valuable to my business so I have to use it wisely and pay other people to do stuff that I don’t need to be doing.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere. The shape of a tree, a leaf, an animal or anything in nature. I also get a lot of ideas from the behaviour of my materials. Each leather will behave differently and just by picking it up and feeling it and manipulating it, ideas will flood in.

Where would you like to see Te.Mono in the future?
Most importantly, still in Australia. I would love it to be recognised for quality and a benchmark for ethical design in fashion. I would like it to be recognised without seeing it on every second shoulder on the street. I would love to have about 10 employees who work together on design and production and inspire each other to create exciting products.


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