In a little over a year Thom Barnett has produced a collection of fashion and accessories informed by his passion for cycling and design which he is marketing under the brand Mamnick.
The MADE NORTH at Yorkshire Artspace is using their Launchpad space to present his range of products including shirts, a range of steel products and a cycling/everyday shoe named Hibell.
Mamnick is named after the road that leaves the Hope Valley and begins a steady ascent of Mam Tor, both picturesque and challenging which seemed appropriate for the enterprise he was undertaking. The Peaks is also on the doorstep of a city famous for manufacturing which is another essential part of what Mamnick is all about.
Key to Barnett’s vision is exploiting the skills and resources of Sheffield.
“My grand-dad worked in the steel industry for 50 years and I wanted to tip my hat to him,” says the former art student who grew up in Rotherham. “And I also thought no one was making anything out of Sheffield’s heritage.”
He has recruited local craftsmen to produce his range of steel products which includes a pocket knife, an everyday holder, a tie clip and a chipshop fork and bottle opener in one - the ultimate accessory for a Northern bloke, he says. “It’s a multi-tool like cyclists carry around.”
When it came to the fashion side of the business he was able to source that around Sheffield too, such as discovering Charles Singleton of Hackenthorpe, specialists in mother of pearl buttons. he was able to source fabrics and then fine a cutter to make up the limited edition shirts he designed.
In Derbyshire he found a shoemaker to adapt a 1960s-style cycle shoe into something that can be worn on or off a bike. It is named after the late British touring cyclist Ian Hibbel.
About four years ago he discovered his passion for cycling. “I was in a band called Mad Colours which played all over Europe,” he explains. “But there’s a double edge to being in a band. It’s creative but there’s a lot of standing around and feeding and drinking beer. I wanted to get into something I could take with me wherever I went.”
Barnett did not study fashion but while studying Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University he started working with a vintage clothing company to earn some cash and this was to give him contacts in Japan where he has gone into partnership producing waistcoats and shorts.
“If I am building a brand it doesn’t make sense to get it made in China or Portugal. It’s an ethical decision and it means things cost a little extra, so it’s been difficult making things in England,” he says.
The Mamnick Product Launch continues, along with a showcase for Psalt Design, at the MADE NORTH gallery until July 6. Both groups will be giving a talk on June 28
Thursday 12th June – Saturday 6th July.