Shop Monks on Vacation :
How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?
We create contemporary, stylish and versatile niche collections while utilising the best of British knitted fabrics and manufacturing. The design style is simplistic and authentic.
What sort of comments do you get about your designs?
Overwhelmingly the comments centre on the quality and luxurious feel of the fabrics. Feedback also mentions our designs which compliment any body shape and in which the customer feels fabulous whether wearing the garment during a busy day or relaxing into the evening.
What is your background?
A degree in Art History and a small business while living in Asia working alongside a small number of seamstresses on evening dress designs for a Dress hire company I had with a friend. We also had an accessory business also based in the Far East.
Which designers do you rate highly and why?
A bit predictable but I have an awful lot of admiration for Victoria Beckham, not least for turning her hand to a completely different workspace, alongside the inevitable high level of scrutiny, in a very competitive business. I think she has proved herself without doubt and her designs transcend catwalk to the high street seamlessly.
Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves…
I design all the time in a sketch book which is ready then to reference when the time comes for putting into practice. Designs are worked on and toiled with fabrics which are knitted in a Leicester factory. Each season we develop a unique print with Scottish print designer Katie Charleson which is then worked into a statement piece for our collection. This season we combined the print with a bespoke fabric from our fabric producer to make a limited edition piece ,the Maisie Dress . This has a fabulous stretch which moulds round each body type to flatter curves and accentuate the figure. The best bit is it washes on 40 degrees, leave to hang dry and no need to iron!
How do you think your brand has developed?
We only launched 15 months ago but already we have a following for our small collections which consist of pieces which work beautifully with each other to form the perfect capsule wardrobe. Our pieces are ideal for a weekend beak away or a summer vacation as the fabric packs well along with the neutral colour pallet of our basics, which offset a splash of colour in a selected piece. The versatility of our garments ensure they can be worn throughout the day and into the evening with a quick change of shoe or jacket to dress up or down.
What do you dislike most about your job?
Paperwork and accounts !!!
What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future
Our main achievement to date was to get our second collection out online. We now want to reach beyond where we are currently to gain greater brand awareness on which to build. Ideally we would love a loyal repeat customer base who appreciate quality, beauty and creativity in the form of a slow fashion brand, producing transitional designs which work all year round and which give true value per purchase!
What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?
Surround yourselves by people who are the very best in their field, whether it be in fabric production, the quality of manufacturing or the web designer who brings your story to life. I’ve been so lucky to have a great team around me which makes such a difference to getting through the daily workload!
Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?
I think British designers aren’t scared to push the boundaries and have a fabulous environment to be inspired by. We have amazing city culture, not only in London but Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol etc which exude a wonderful creative culture alongside inspiring design studios and colleges.