Mungo has also created its own aesthetic niche in the market. While Holding is wary of the brand co-opting traditional African designs — “it’s just not who we are” — Mungo blends influences that reflect the continent along with the global heritage and rich history of textile weaving.
A glance at the catalogue reveals designs influenced by early American weaving patterns, by the colours of West Africa, classical tones of the Mediterranean and Provençal hues.
The best place to get a feel for the brand is at The Mill, Mungo’s custom-built — and drop-dead gorgeous — production mill in the Old Nick Village, a retail and crafts hub just east of Plettenberg Bay along the scenic Garden Route.
Opened in 2017, it’s a striking space brimming with subtle design cues inspired by the weaving industry. The outer design speaks to the warp and weft that is the heart of the process; the ponds are tribute to the watermills that powered early mills, and the red brick facade to the industrial landscapes of northern England’s textile heartland where Holding first trained.
“The Mill is really a natural extension of what we do. If you’re using a beautiful old loom from the 1890s you want to share it with people,” says Holding. “We’ve always wanted to be transparent about what we do here at Mungo, and the building speaks to our principles of integrity and transparency.”