Designer Profile: mono

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

above: images from collaboration, Clothe/Breathe
all images courtesy of mono

Despite its simple moniker, Canadian label mono draws from a cross-section of disciplines such as art, craft, design and fashion to create elegant, beautifully minimalistic clothing and accessories. Eschewing traditional, seasonal categorizations (i.e. Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer collections), mono releases small capsule series throughout each year, freeing its designer to collaborate on the line with artists in various disciplines. I became aware of the label through Portland’s Stand Up Comedy, which carries a selection of the latest series on their website and was able to view some of their clothing in person at Debut New York. This is clothing which manages to maintain simple lines, color palette and silhouette while conveying the careful thought and feeling behind its designs. Read this interview with designer and founder Heather Martin to learn more about mono…

Can you tell us a bit about mono? What is your design philosophy? Do you think this has changed over time since you started the label?

mono has been building for the last couple of years. It started out very small, paying close attention to the intricacies of craft methodology and how the public market relates to these notions. Throughout this time we have grown a dedicated following and have worked in collaboration with several artists spanning varied disciplines. Within the most recent collaborative project, Clothe/Breathe, we joined talents with a choreographer and a sound artist to create a performance installation.

With each series, there is an attempt to explore the spaces between art, craft, design and fashion aiming to redefine the categorical convention of these genres as well as their ideals, content, norms and expectations. The work stands for more than just a cycle of endless products and endless seasons; it is a stand against the complacency within the fashion ideal and a movement towards progression.

above: looks from Interlacing Opposing Thoughts

Can you describe the inspirations behind your latest two series?

Interlacing Opposing Thoughts was a play of harmony, bringing together opposing ideas and defining a balance between those conflicts. SHARD explores the depths of darkness, mood and fragmentation. Within both of these series there is an exploration of balance yet within SHARD the metaphorical scale tips more favorably to one side.

What materials did you use in these series?

There are handcrafted fabrics within both of these series, a mix of cotton, leather, linens and silks.

above: looks from SHARD

Tell us about your design process. Do you start from sketches, concepts, draping or experimentation, for instance?

With each series comes a different process. Most begin with an art project. These projects can range from a simple illustration or collage, a new textile technique or to more elaborate installations or collaborations. These projects fuel the inspiration for the clothing and accessories.

Where is your clothing produced?

Situated on the west coast of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, mono’s products are either handcrafted in studio or locally produced.

Can you tell us about future plans for mono? Any collaborations or projects on the horizon?

Currently…. I am working on a video project as well as a crochet collaboration. These projects are too new for a more detailed description but I will be sure to update you as they become more concrete. I hope to travel more with the upcoming series and keep fine tuning our business model.

mono is available across Canada and the US in select boutiques. With the latest series, the label will be expanding into international markets. For an online selection, check out For more information about the label, check out: mono will soon be featured in the online shop of London-based website, Not Just a Label; for more information on the shop, to launch May 28th, check out:

Related Links:
Mono on Clothes Pin blog
On Nokomis Clothing blog
Feature on She Breathes

Other Designer Profiles on Dream Sequins:


Adela said...

love the lacy scarf thing!

The Socialite said...

Great interview! Very interesting and eccentric. ;)

AsianCajuns said...

Absolutely gorgeous clothes! I love when designers collaborate with other creatives. I'll have to check out their site asap. It seems so much awesome design is coming out of Canada recently!

Liv said...

Very cool! I haven't heard from them... but they are definetely the kind of designers I like!

nookie said...

great interview!love the first dress

Brigadeiro said...

Wow, LOVE these designs, thanks for introducing me/us to yet another amazing label (great interview)! Sorry once again that my answers weren't very good (and were very late).

Hanh said...

I haven't heard from them. Thanks for sharing. cool line!. Great interview too!

Dream Sequins said...

Adela: Thanks for your comment! I'm so in love with the lacy scarf thing, too.

The Socialite: Thanks for visiting! I love their whole interdisciplinary approach and think they are very talented!

Liv: Thanks for stopping by!

nookie: Gorgeous, right?

Brigadeiro: Glad you enjoyed it! I think their approach is so refreshing, and I'm in love with their latest collection, even though it's kind of hard to make out (so dark).

Hanh: I think these pieces would work so well with your killer shoe wardrobe!

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