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Introducing Murray & Smyth

Red gate in front of studio

Firstly, thank you for checking out the online store we have created. Just knowing that people are interested enough to look around is quite rewarding. It’s been a hard slog to get to this point, but it’s exciting to launch things, even if a long NSW lockdown has meant a couple of products we’d like to have available aren’t ready yet. The website is in beta at the moment, so please let us know if you come across anything that isn’t working as it should.

The temptation is to appear as though we have the same resourcing as a larger business, but recently we thought it better just to embrace the slow but steady, DIY yet creative, focus that we feel comfortable with.  Expect a personal service with some creative ideas.

Where did this all spur from? In the 2000s we were prolific in terms of creative output.  Playing in a band, organising gigs, weekenders and tours, and producing fanzines.  All on the smell of an oily rag. They were great days, meeting loads of people who were either in the thick of a youth subculture, whether it be mod, punk, rudy, skinhead, or loosely connected to one (or many).  As is the case with many people, adulthood crept up and took over – we moved from Sydney to Wollongong and got into a groove (or perhaps rut) of a long-commute, a career and study.

Wanting to return to a more creative lifestyle, for the last few years we have been working slowly towards this point.  Tanglewood Press has previously operated as an Etsy store and we’re pleased to have it back online after a break.  While greeting cards have been the focus to date, we’ll be slowly adding other botanical designs on different items.  Eventually it will have a website of its own. The Murray & Smyth label is the home to our clothing inspired by the mod, skinhead, punk and rudeboy subcultures and the Wollongong coastal setting in which we live. Modernism shouldn’t be stuck in the sixties, and so you’ll notice we’re unashamedly broader than what you might expect.

Screen printed size labels

Screen printing was something that I wanted to get into and I’ve been accumulating skills and equipment.  We now have a nice not-so-little 6 colour 4-station carousel in our workshop for printing on apparel, alongside a place to expose screens.  More recently, we have put in a high-spec washout tub and built a fabric-printing table which, while much shorter than the 30 metre tables you will find in established print-shops, will start us on the path of printing textiles.

In addition to screen printing, we have been working with others to develop some cool stuff.  Connecting with an old ska friend, Christos Salaoras from Avenue Road Leather Works, midway through 2020, led us to offer some quality leather goods.  We’ve got some great belts and belt-hangers on offer already, but expect the range to expand as we go on.

One thing I have always wanted to develop was a shirt range.  Wherever I’ve been in the world, mods, skins and rudies have always talked shirt details and I’ve loved reflecting on what I’d come up with if I was to design my own range.  We are not far off having our first offerings, although restrictions on movement in NSW have slowed the progress.  We’ll be starting with our staples monochrome range – black or white long-sleeve shirts – before broadening this range too.

Whatever we do, we are making sure makers are paid amounts that are fair, that we use quality and sustainable inputs and that our final products are both interesting and long lasting.

We are keen to hear what you want more of so please send us a message on Instagram and Facebook or using our contact form here on the website.

G Smyth

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