The Makers - TOPKNIT FABRICS AUSTRALIA
Last week whilst in Melbourne for MFW and CURATED I was lucky enough to stop by one of the very last in our chain of local knitted fabrics manufacturers, TOPKNIT FABRICS.
Ralph Bonadio is a force to be reckoned and very well-respected member of our fashion industry who has helped build supply chains for the likes of well known Australian brands such as BASSIKE.
The premium knitted fabrics that Ralph produces out of his factory in Newport in Melbourne is supplied to almost all of the Australian brands you see on the market. After buying his two business partners out over the long lifetime of his successful business and downsizing from over 300 knitting machines to around 50, Ralph has managed to evolve and remain relevant in what can only, unfortunately, be described as a dwindling local manufacturing industry.
Ralph took us on a very interesting tour of his factory, from the knit archives that date back to the 50's and 60's, where there was folder upon folder of literally 1000's of different types of knitted fabric swatches all stored safely for reference. Through to seeing the 24-hour round the clock circular knitting machines in action, as shown in the video below.
Clearly, a very knowledgeable man, with a hell of a lot of time spent developing and building brands, Ralph had some very useful advice to give new brands entering the apparel market. "Just do something different, don't be like all of the others. Stick with one thing and do it well, if it's knits test them and research what fibres blends and fabrications are going to work best for your brand, don't worry about what everyone else is up to".
Ralph's right, be true to yourself and your brand, it is so difficult not to get caught in the noise of what all of the other fashion and lifestyle brands are doing.