Stuart first became interested in weaving when, at the age of 16, he worked as an apprentice at an English Silk Mill. Five years later, he left the U.K. and ventured to South Africa, where he got married and immersed himself in various weaving projects, When his friend gave him a couple of antique looms that were being unused and neglected, the business idea took form. After some restoration, he started up the museum and as its popularity increased, his quality fabrics quickly transformed into Mungo Design.
Mungo was founded in 1998 in the seaside town of Plettenberb Bay and housed in the historical homestead of old Nick Village. Here their fabrics are woven on antique 19 century looms in a working Museum. Mungo is a unique textile Company with the rare ability to create quality fabrics from the inception of design to the final product. This ensures all their products are from an ethical and quality beginning.
Originality is found within Mungo’s textiles, as this company continues to weave fabrics using the ancient Hattersley shuttle looms, and are inspired by century old weaving books that Stuart had been collecting over the years. They also use high-speed Dornier Rapier weaving machines and the antique shuttle looms were are now modernized to be power driven, and both are ideal for shawls, scarves and table runners.
“All fabrics are of original construction. We work out a weight versus yarn ratio in order to create fabrics that have their own special texture and luster, thus making unique and durable weaves. Mungo Designs is actively reviving African resources and techniques, making us self-reliant throughout the entire production and manufacturing process so that we have freedom to control the steps from start to finish.”
All of Mungo’s fabrics are sourced from natural fibers, primarily cotton, linen, wool, mohair, chenille, and bamboo. They use Irish linen, which is “wet spun and woven” in South Africa, as well as viscose chenille, imported from Italy. All organic cotton is sourced from Africa. Mungo not only embraces quality, but also a positive working environment, as they keep everything fair and respectful. They currently employ 15 trained artisans from local communities whom Stuart has personally trained into skilled weavers and seamstress.
Mungo's ethos is- Ethical trading and integrity underpins our philosophy, we are particular about sourcing quality natural fibres, we do not mass produce and our fabrics are constructed to last. We are fully prepared to make the sacrifices that this awareness entails.
Mungo's production consists of two weaving operations. Our working Weaving Museum is our creational hub where all our sampling is
done on 19th Century Hattersley looms and is open for the public to experience these fine looms in action. The Hattersley looms were gifted to Stuart many years ago. He restored them with much patience and skill and they are still the ''beating heart' of Mungo
Mungo is an expression of Stuart’s own brand of skill, philosophy and aesthetic. 15 years on, Mungo has crossed generations and is now a family run business, taking it forward and sharing our unique story and skill with the world.
At The Foxes Den we are proud to bring a brand like Mungo Design to the New Zealand home.