#casual - the stylish new collection from Monks on Vacation
Monks on Vacation was launched in 2015 and is a Glass Pineapple favourite thanks to its commitment to UK design and creation, true ‘slow’ fashion and an aesthetic of laid back, easy style. It’s a label that effortlessly brings together comfort and chic, from the bold silhouettes to the luxurious fabrics, which make 24-7 living a breeze. Plus it’s got the kind of versatility that gives you options from the brunch table, to the club, to the playground, to the street that you want to walk down and have everyone wonder “where did she get that?” The latest collection has arrived on the store - a mix of bold prints and feminine, flattering separates. We thought you’d like to know a bit more about the brand.
How would you describe the aesthetics?
Our designs are simple, uncluttered with clean lines and a palette of muted earthy colours. However, we will occasionally put a twist in the mix.
What has influenced your designs?
I lead a busy life, as my friends do, and this has been a driving force behind creating garments that work with a demanding lifestyle. I created designs that could take me from a dog walk in the morning, to a school run or a quick coffee, or glass of wine with friends in the evening, and still feel stylish and comfortable in what I’m wearing. I also wanted designs that have longevity and are transitional between seasons.
What are the challenges for emerging designers and independent brands in today’s fashion market?
The challenge for any start up in any industry is breaking into the market, particularly in an already crowded arena such as the fashion industry. Boutiques have established relationships with limited display areas and so it’s difficult to displace an established designer. However, this is the beauty of marketplaces such as The Glass Pineapple which has unlimited web space for successful designers, and which can reach a far larger audience. For our brand it is made even harder as we provide an alternative to the mass market of fast fashion, manufactured in the Far East for example, which can then also become a commercial challenge in a competitive market. However we made this decision and are happy with it as we feel that the UK has the best on offer in all areas of the fashion industry and should be supported.
What makes your brand different?
We are a niche brand with exclusive limited collections – this means that the customer participates in a unique experience. We have a more intimate design process with each piece created in house based on real feedback from real customers. I also oversee every aspect of the business and feel customer service is paramount to give an overall enjoyable purchasing process and hopefully come back for more!
How would you describe the creative process?
As mentioned above the creative process is all done in-house with everything made by hand from the initial sketch, through toiling and prototypes on a domestic sewing machine, to sampling in the factory where I am closely involved on all aspects of the finished design. We are currently working with a young print designer spending time together to develop unique prints on fabrics that are specifically created by our fabric manufacturers. The texture and composition of the fabrics is equally important and the challenge to use the fabrics in a different way is key. For instance the thick heavy rib we have used for our split rib skirt is generally used as a cuff for something such as a leather jacket, but the fabric composition means it moulds perfectly when worn to give a supremely comfortable wear, despite the split giving it a sexier edge. When washed the fabric bounces back to its original state ready to mould once again on the next wear.
Who is your ideal customer?
My ideal customer appreciates beauty and quality not only in their clothes but in all aspects of their life. She has a busy lifestyle and, off duty, wants to wear clothes that feel comfortable and relaxed but also which make her feel great wearing them. She is confident and knows her own style, not led by the pack, preferring her pieces to have longevity and substance rather than a mass-produced piece she may wear only once. She will appreciate the quality of amazing fabrics and artisan approach to garment production and wear them beautifully. I would love to see Uma Thurman wear any piece of the collection! This is how she described style in InStyle.com:
"Style’ is ‘an unconscious gift that money can't buy. It's being comfortable not only in your clothes but in your own skin. I've always admired how European women have such effortless style, as though they've been culturally raised to wear clothes gracefully and effortlessly."
Tell us about something that inspires you – another designer, a quote, a fashion piece, a person etc
Surprisingly, the phrase ‘Little Black dress’ inspires the thought process behind our work. To have that staple familiar garment in your wardrobe that you know you can pull on at a moment’s notice and more importantly feel and look good wearing it whatever your mood. This is what drives each piece to be lovingly created by us.