McIntyre Merino’s bright woollen wares might seem at odds with the all-black wardrobes commonly seen in the brand’s home town of Melbourne. Yet husband-and-wife duo Ned Scholfield and Raquel Boedo have a commitment to colour that has become part of their brand’s DNA.
The pair moved to Sydney in early 2023 and have launched a store on Paddington’s Oxford Street alongside names such as Hansen & Gretel, Funkis, Incu, Sarah & Sebastian, Jac & Jack and Haulier. “We wanted our store in Paddington to align with all the Australian brands here … It just seemed like the right fit for McIntyre,” says Boedo.
The space takes over the ground floor with sleek lines, mid-century-style furniture and a coat of brilliant white paint to let the bright knits stand out. Scholfield and Boedo have welcomed a slew of customers since opening in July. “A lot of locals already knew about us and the ones that have just stumbled across us say things like, ‘This could be dangerous!’” says Boedo.
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McIntyre was inspired by the couple’s time spent living on Scholfield’s family-run Victorian wool farm. Located between the Warrnambool coastline and the Grampians, the farm has been owned and operated by Scholfield’s family since the 19th century. The brand has grown quickly since its launch in 2018, with a successful pop-up leading to the opening of the first Melbourne store at Emporium in tandem with the Sydney launch.
Designed by Scholfield and Boedo in Australia, around half of the range is made here, the rest in Vietnam. The split, explains Scholfield, is based on the technical needs of the product. “The factories we work with in Vietnam, who we help select with help from Woolmark, excel in technical knit techniques; while what we produce in Australia [are] the more classic knit styles.”
Shopping in-store gives customers the ability to touch and feel the pieces, which the designers see as crucial when shopping for wool. McIntyre Merino is not just about classic pullovers, but also tees, tanks, socks and pants to form a year-round wardrobe. “McIntyre is a slow fashion brand, and we design a lot of timeless and trans-seasonal pieces,” explains Scholfield. “Our Gravity stripe knit and the Polly Waffle knit are standouts this season for their additions of bold stripes and new textures to the range.”
How does running a store in Melbourne differ to Sydney? “Colour! Sydney people wear more colour than Melburnites,” says Boedo. “Don’t get us wrong, in Melbourne there is a community of colour wearers, but as a rule, Sydney wins on that front.”
Launching a wool label into the typically warmer northern cousin might seem challenging on the surface, but the team are quick to challenge the notion that wool is only for winter. “Wool, merino in particular, can absorb twice as much water vapour as cotton and more than polyester, plus its odour-resistant and requires less washing,” Boedo says. “It’s a fibre that reacts to changes in body temperature, keeping you cool in warmer months, certainly a reason why our T-shirts have become so popular in particular – easy to throw on and go.”
The roots of the brand remain in Victoria with the McIntyre homestead on Scholfield’s family sheep farm (that will be soon to be available to book via Airbnb). “The house was originally built in the 1850s and I grew up there. It’s the inspiration behind the brand and still a working merino sheep farm,” explains Scholfield.
Visitors can also pick up the brand’s first self-published zine, Not Normal People, an ongoing bi-annual effort featuring creatives doing interesting things, including painter Jamie Preisz and Art’s Matter co-founder Susan Armstrong.
Where can we find the couple when the working day is done? “We have deemed The Village Inn our new local, 10 William St is great for date nights, and we can’t wait to go swimming at Clovelly when it warms up,” adds Boedo, “The sun all winter long has made this move even sweeter.”
McIntrye Merino Sydney
208 Oxford Street, Paddington
0432 034 359