Perhaps it’s a little early for wintry campfires, but with Mr. Autumn arriving sharpish, one could do worse then huddling together for a convivial sing-song. For this round, we chose to celebrate the true maker’s mark. Yes, it is great to pack a powerful visual punch with your designs, but what about their soul? Isn’t that the missing link that truly matters. So this time we sing a different tune; a SONG FOR THE MUTE. Hailing from often overlooked Down Under (yes there are great design minds here too), Lyna Ty and Melvin Tanaya, know what’s up. No gimmicks, no flashy campaigns, no redundant logo-typing. No. Instead, they propose a slower kind of fashion. In the land of the Southern Cross, they make understated clothes that envelop their wearers, gently, softly and with tactical purpose. Perhaps they operate far away from the rugged desert clad outback, glitzy Bondi-budgie-smugglers or the tourist hordes selfie-ing along that famous opera house, but that precisely is what makes SFTM such a great collective.

When I spoke to Lyna and Melvin, during the June SS18 Paris Men’s collections, it was clear that wanted to do something special to introduce their work to these rebellious pages. So, we kindly asked them to re-shoot their latest collection; only this time the Fucking Young! way. Gladly they accepted (a thank you to Jason and his team!). To round things of: Melvin also decided to casually throw in a summer studio playlist. Top marks for effort! So why not slip into something comfortable and perhaps monochrome, head over to Spotify (see below) and read on, as we unravel a unique take on menswear tailoring. Lyna and Melvin; let’s get real!!

HOME. Melvin, what kind of a boy were you?

Melvin: I actually grew up in Indonesia until I was about 10-years-old before I moved to Australia. And when we moved, I did not speak a word of English. I also remember myself as always being a rather ‘naughty’ kid. You know, the kind of kid, that all parents tell their kids to stay away from. Later on, I really disliked high school as none of the subjects I had to study interested me. I spent most of my upbringing questioning the system and finding out/learning shit from the deep dark world that is the internet.


HOME 2: Lyna, what did you dream of as a young girl?

Lyna: As a child, I was always in my own world. Never really focused because I was always a dreamer in class. I would spend hours dreaming about what is out there and what was happening in this big world. Next to this, I always saw myself as a tiny little person that no one could see, I would walk about in a giant world seeing everything bigger than life and me. When I grew a little older, I remember always running around my parents’ factory, rambling in the mess of things, going under the tables or hiding in the cupboards or basement where I could play and create in my own world.

PARLAY. As you know each other, ever since you were 10-years-old. I am curious about your teenage years and what you were interested in?

Lyna: To be honest, we were always in the same Visual Art and Design classes and have always shared a quite similar set of interests. Maybe that is what brought us together, our sense of creativity was alike although we are very different in our characteristics/personality. For instance, Melvin has always been interested in anything new/modern/current/now, and in what could be the future. On the contrary, I was heavily influenced by the past and curious about where we came from and came about, in the history that has made us today. Between these two worlds is where Melvin and I found our balance.


PUNK. We all need to find our way in life. Lyna, what was your moment, when you realized you simply had to design?

Lyna: There was never a distinct moment but more of an instinct where we just knew we had to follow our gut feeling and do what we love, despite the consequences and risks that came with it. I am a firm believer that your true intuition can never do you wrong, so always follow it, it will lead you to the right path.

GROUNDSTROKES. We all have a beginning. SFTM, has a specific, name, feel and connotation. Melvin, why did you opt for this direction?

Melvin: A sense of belonging and connection is a powerful thing. Over the past 7 years, SFTM has matured and like chapters in a book, each collection signals a progression. Despite this constant evolution, one thing remains the same: it is the label that we will always hold dear to our hearts. SFTM is the truest reflection of Lyna and I. As every collection represents what we have experienced and experience in our daily lives. By telling our stories through the garments, we hope that other people can view SFTM as a platform they can use to be or express themselves. As unique as you think you are in the world, there is always someone out there experiencing the same thing as you are. We like to embrace these connections.

ALTERNATE. Lyna, what would you say is the essence of crafting your garments?

Lyna: In a single word: fabrication. What makes a garment is the fabric. You have to let the fabric be and fall how/where it wants to. It does not want to be controlled or restricted; so let it speak. Everything has a form and fabrication is the form of a garment.


SPEAKEASY. So Melvin, as SFTM, is all about the fabrics, please tell us about your admirable research process?

Melvin: When we started the brand, we were fresh out of university. We had no experience in the fashion industry and how things worked. During our first collection, we bought our fabrics out of a retail fabric shop. We cold-called companies out of the yellow pages directory to ask if they stocked organic cotton… without even knowing what this meant. We just asked because ‘organic’ cotton sounded cool. We knew this wasn’t sustainable so, during our third collection, we decided to go to Paris to attend Premiere Vision (PV) to look for proper fabric mills. This is when we met some of the mills that we still work with to this day. It has been 7 years now…. Some of them really took us under their wing, they offered guidance and taught us how fabrics are weaved, how to pick the best yarns for what purpose, etc.

Today, Lyna and I travel to Japan 2-3 times a year to visit our mills personally. They are located in the smaller, more rural part of Japan. Here they still use very old machines that hardly exist these days due to the extensive labor needed in order to be able to operate them. Some of the fabrics we use are literally sun-dried for months to create a special hand feel and finish. This is why we sometimes have to work a year to a year and a half ahead of schedule – because the process to make these fabrics takes that much longer. But these fabrics we find fascinating and inspiring, so we love to put the extra effort in for them.

RUNTHEMILL. Lyna, we often speak of craftsmanship in these pages. In how far can we maintain tradition, unique skills, and true artisans?

Lyna: For me, the meaning of a true craftsmanship is the want to always better things or yourself. It is about being able to push the boundaries, being driven by curiosity about what has been and perhaps could be. It is not a skill of multi-tasking but a skill of achieving one thing and making that one thing the best it can be. Next to this is so important to be able to study this skill from its past to its present. This way you can understand where it came from so, how it developed and how it may enable you in years to come.


SCHEMATICS. Connected to the deep craftsmanship, also it feels as if each collection is created around a fully fledged theme?

Lyna: There isn’t really an answer to why we do certain collections the way we do, as often it is a purely instinctive process. For us, it is a feeling or a thought that triggers us to create. It is not a planned or organized in a specific way because SFTM is very personal to us and it is a reflection on our own lives and what we are going through at that moment in time/particular moment. Our direction is often unpredictable because we are always changing and ever-evolving as people and always aim to better ourselves. The only constant anchor that always triggers our theme or concept for each collection is the fabrics.

So for MOTH, our FW17 collection, the fabrics inspired me to think of an old youth, searching to bring out the inner child and inner rebel within them. They are a collage of previous experiences, always deconstructing what is seen as traditional, something from the past, something forgotten and making it new again. Driven by a state of mind rather than actuality, they do not respect authority or traditional ideas. He/she is stuck in the past, in something forgotten and is always in search of that sense of memory/history and what’s forgotten in the new world. He/she sees the beauty in imperfection. And in WANDER SS18 – the fabrics reminded me of a traveler, a drifter, a dreamer. We wander aimlessly without a plan, but not all who wander are lost. You have to dare try to wander. Wander forward but also backward in your life. Wander down memory lane. Our families were all wanderers and have traveled the world and this is us wandering down their memory lane. ‘WANDER’ is a reflection of our past and where we came from.

PAUSE. These make sense as a societal them as well, so when we look at today, in our overly stimulated world. Lyna, how do you find ways to track back, hide and embrace our true sense of self?

Lyna: To fully disconnect, this is more of a mental exercise. I tend to put myself in my own bubble, where I can strip myself off all baggage and create my own world and blank space. In this bubble, I can be anybody I choose to be or dream about. There are no rules or judgment, just me facing myself and reflecting.

We are living in a world filled with more and more information thrown at us every day and if we do not learn to filter that information given all at once, we will get overwhelmed and not know what is right or wrong anymore. So always reconnect with yourself from time to time and embrace who you truly are – seek to be in your own life and not anybody else’s life.


RECORD. Melvin, closely related to this, I am curious on how you would apply this ‘societal’ filter?

Melvin: To me, I think it is all part of the journey. We must learn to love the process. You need to learn to adapt quickly and also have to be aware of filtering what is relevant information. Not everything is worthless information. In the end, I think that being able to navigate and receive the cautionary feedback thrown at us, is an integral part of growth.


INTERPRET. Lyna, as you mentioned, you like to turn to the inside, to find yourself, silence and new ideas. If you observe the exterior world, what inspires you?

Lyna: Of course many things do, anything with a past, history or story behind it. I am inspired by cultures, people and the environment that surrounds us so there isn’t anything or anyone in specific really that triggers me. I take it all in. To be honest, I find being able to travel is the best way to educate yourself on what is around you. This way you can learn to better know yourself and your past. What inspires me is a sense of feeling more than anything so I enjoy listening or visualizing on something that can trigger that feeling or notion in me.

SUMMERTIME. Exterior, also means sound. Melvin, as we are about to turn the page and head for the autumn, could you provide us your ultimate fall studio playlist?

Melvin: We too are turning a page, but as you know, we are in Australia so that transition is into Spring and Summer. The below choices are somewhat reflective of that transition, whilst likely keeping any Autumnal feelings at bay if you are moving into the gloomier seasons. Ultimately though, good music is good music no matter what the season.


Have a listen to Melvin’s special playlist for FY!:


Dearest Lyna and Melvin, thank you for the kind answers and time, let’s end with some friendly banter….

INTERCHANGE. Lyna, what is Melvin his best quality?

Lyna: Melvin’s quality is his drive for things. He is always curious about what could be and that is what drives him, which in turn is his quality, as he pushes us to our full potential.


EXCHANGE. And Melvin, what have you learned from Lyna?

Melvin: I truly admire how much care she puts in every-single-thing. That she truly does. Her love for our garments, her love for each individual team member, her love for the littlest things possible – even the tools that she uses, scissors, pencils, paper, and erasers. She also always is so hard on herself, she never thinks that we’re good enough and always remains hungry to better herself. We definitely would not be where we are today without Lyna’s passion and creative direction.

FUCKING YOUNG TODAY: Lyna, we began by speaking of your younger years, so what does it mean to be a part of Fucking Young?

Lyna: This is easy. It is to be ever dreaming of what could be and be driven by a gut feeling – your curiosity is to always be in search of that something – run as fast as you can for that dream!! Never stop chasing it.


FUCKING YOUNG FOREVER: Melvin, you also spoke of the insecurities as a young graduate, if you look back, could you give new hopefuls some kind words of guidance?

Sure! For the first 25 years of my life, I actually did not know what the hell I was doing. I began this brand with Lyna knowing absolutely nothing. But I was eager to learn, I was hungry. You will never know if you do not try, so go out there and take the risk. Make mistakes and learn from them. The power of asking questions can be very important if you allow yourself to do so!


All images shot exclusively for FY, garments by Song for the Mute.
Photographer:  Jason Henley / @jasonhenleyco
Stylist: Jana Bartolo at Network Agency / @janabartolo
Grooming: Isobel Claire at OneNinetyNine / @isobelclaire_makeupartist
Talent: Weah at Chic Management / @officialkinglightskin
Photo Assistant: Aaron Viii