Toorallie – From the 90s to Now

Simon Smith is the Co-Managing Director and General Manager of Australian Merino Fashion Brand, Toorallie. He’s our go-to guy, and alongside his twin brother has been immersed in every facet of the company’s operations since the late 90s. Toorallie has graciously shared an in-house interview with Simon, providing insight into operations and inspiration.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Simon, one of the twin brothers behind the brand. I had a classic Australian childhood spent on the Toorallie farm near Bombala, NSW, before going to boarding school. My first foray in Toorallie was in my mid-20s when Mum asked me to take on the Wholesale responsibilities for the knitwear business. This was the start of my constant travelling – Australia, New Zealand, America, England – visiting our stockists and staying on the road 24/7. Not being pinned down made me so free.

In 2000, I moved to Canberra as the new knitting mill opened. Here I grew into the role of Production Manager and took to learning all the machinery and operations. I figured I couldn’t run the place if I didn’t know how to operate the machines. By 2004, our parents were stepping away from the business and Steve and I saw our chance to revitalise the fashion brand by moving to Melbourne. This dovetailed with the knitwear industry in Victoria, where we met like-minded people and developed the strong connections we have today.

What is your tole at Toorallie?

There’s a lot of crossover running the business with Steve, but our roles are largely separate. My primary responsibility is design, production, and wholesale. Everything needs a 6-12 month lead time, where the first step is processing our own wool to customer yarn, and then onto our knitters and weavers in China to make the final garment.

How do you wear wool?

Simple – with jeans, a T-shirt, and white sneakers.

How do you find balance?

In design, I believe that a collection must consist of highs and lows to create an interesting mix. Otherwise, it becomes just a group of products and not a collection. Balance is vital.

Where do you do your best creative thinking?

When I’m on my own, at home, or when I’m travelling. Being exposed to elements outside the daily routine is fundamental for creativity.

To find your hero piece from Toorallie’s impressive AW24 collection, click here. Our favourites are the Red Wavey Knit – hello the 80s! – and this funky Toorallie x Hannah Maskell Jumper.

Images and interview courtesy of Toorallie.