In May 2015, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia launched Monse. Almost immediately, the brand created a huge buzz thanks to its SS 16 debut, acclaimed by critics, by customers, and by celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Margot Robbie. Today, the brand is stocked at a number of high-profile boutiques and department stores worldwide, including Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, Selfridges, Lane Crawford and Moda Operandi.
In September 2016 they were appointed co-Creative Directors of Oscar de la Renta, replacing Peter Copping who exited the brand in mid-July. The designers are responsible for the ready-to-wear, accessories, bridal and children’s collections, and work on these in tandem with their own label. Since then, they’ve been on a roll.
The Canadian and Dominican designers are part of the FTA Prize judging panel for the first time. There’s no doubt that FTA 2022’s Finalists will listen very carefully to their remarks and advice. Here they answer Pulse’s questions with one voice.
How would you describe Fashion Trust Arabia’s mission? What do you expect from the 2022 Prize – encounters, emotions, interactions?
The idea of inclusion and bringing together a pool of industry leaders from all over the world to support up-and-coming fashion designers from the MENA region is an initiative that we’re very excited and proud to be part of. Most importantly, this mission aligns with our ethos.
We expect a lot of emotions of happiness, excitement and anticipation leading up to the awards ceremony. All of this build-up will help bring the talents from the various part of the MENA region closer together, which builds a beautiful sense of support and encouragement.
Being the ‘winner’ is not always measured by being awarded a physical trophy; people also win through experience and amazing initiatives such as FTA.
Helping, mentoring and advising emerging fashion designers: What does this mean to you on a professional and personal level?
We were fortunate early in our career to have Oscar as our mentor. Oscar taught us how to work hard and have fun with your team—how to value the process and not just the end goal. Mentoring an emerging designer is a lot of responsibility and something we take extremely seriously, as we understand the impact this has, especially in the formative years of a designer’s career. As a leader, you must acknowledge the gravity of this impact, and guide young designers to help them understand their own identity and propose learned tactics from our end.
What is the one thing you remember from your early years as a professional, when you were at the beginning of your career just like the FTA Finalists?
Creating Monse required a lot of trust within ourselves and within each other, separate from Oscar de la Renta’s identity. This was an extremely vulnerable and exhilarating experience, one that allowed us to grow immensely by showcasing ourselves to the world as independent designers.
How would you describe the MENA fashion industry?
The fashion industry in the MENA region is definitely a thriving one as seen by the great talent that is rising from this region. We’re also seeing a lot of initiatives, red carpet events, brand collaborations and commercial activities with international and western brands that are increasing on a yearly basis in the Middle East – a momentum that helps support the mission to grow the fashion scene in the region.
We absolutely love working with clients here! They have a striking style, unique from the rest of the world, that gives us the space to use all of our imagination when creating.
What would the title of your documentary/biography be?
“Designing Our Lives”. We sketch designs for people to feel good in, and through personal experience we have come to realize that the same goes for life. You have the power to illustrate the world in which you reside — all you have to do is be willing to pick up the pencil.