Moné Monte Carlo is a young brand that has managed to captivate me since I first saw them through Production Manager Mike Key’s Instagram posts, with the beautifully made, colorful and detail-laden camp collar shirts catching my eye in a heartbeat. Instantly knowing I wanted to get in the know, meet the guys behind the label and find out more, I reached out and managed to pin down Ben Sawney, co-founder of Moné with hair so good I wish I hadn’t shaved mine a couple months back.
Moné, for me as an outsider looking in, came across as a love letter to that Mediterranean sunshine, channeling inspiration from surroundings and flavorful local stories from Monte Carlo and bringing it worldwide. Read on and get to know the brand from the inside out, as Ben tells us everything we need to know.
Hey Ben – can you introduce yourself and let us know what Moné is all about?
Yo! Christoffer and I came up with the idea of Moné about 4 years ago, but really got going in 2019.
We felt like there was a story to tell around Monaco that wasn’t being told yet. Today, Moné is a unisex ready-to-wear brand. It’s early days for us and one of the good outcomes of the pandemic has been the steady growth we’ve seen since we dropped our first hero shirt, La Chemise Monégasque. The brand is in a really exciting phase now after the success of ÉTÉ 21, with more interesting stuff in the pipeline for Winter 21 and Summer 22.
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Being a fledgling label, could you let us know why and how you came about launching Moné, and what your aims are within the industry as you embark on this upwards trajectory towards success?
One of our key mission statements when deciding to found Moné was to portray as true a portrait of the Principality as possible. There are few places in the world that people can claim to know so much about, but still lack a fundamental understanding of its history and culture other than Monaco and the surrounding Riviera. As a brand, we wanted to pay tribute to stories from the Riviera’s cultural archive (good and bad!!) and create a uniform for Les Monégasques – meaning residents of Monaco – that had substance and meaning to it. Be it Georgio running a Brasserie on the port or Matthias chasing wins at the casino. The word authenticity gets thrown about a lot in fashion, but we wanted to create a brand that at its core portrayed the lifestyle of a community we grew up in.
We at CULTED have previously shone a light on your offering shirts, with open collar looks emblazoned with colorful scenes being perfect for summer. When designing these garments where are you pulling inspiration from?
It’s tricky to pinpoint one area of inspiration as our influences echo the diverse history of the principality, from the Genoese, the French, and even the Greeks. That being said, many of our most recent design cues were taken from the fashion trends during the so-called golden era of the Riviera, from 1970s Alain Delon in Rene Clement’s Plein Soleil, to visions of Serge Gainsbourg strolling Saint Tropez, pastis in hand. It was an era of cultural explosion, dating back to the rise of smaller cities like Antibes and Menton, and populated by the likes of Gerald Murphy and Pablo Picasso.
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And with the garments you currently offer, what references are you using to ensure you embody Monte Carlo with each and every piece?
A huge source of inspiration for us are vintage tourism posters. The buzz around the French Riviera began in the 30s and at the time, advertising was mainly done through travel posters. Train companies, air travel companies and even the towns themselves would try to bring people from all over France and Europe down to the Riviera during both summer and winter. We came across this archive a few years ago and loved the idea of touching on these posters for our shirt designs. It represents the beginning of the idyllic golden era of the Cote d’Azur.
Looking forward now, we’ve got to make it through a harsh winter before we enjoy the sun again. Should we expect to see a Fall/Winter collection injected with the same energy we’ve seen so far, or are you saving Moné for just Summer fun?
As much as le Sud is known for its summer, there is magic in the winter seasons too. Inspired by the winter movements of les Monégasques, there will be some more pieces released around October time. We want to challenge the perspective that the Riviera is just a one trick pony, and are excited to explore more pieces that embody a winter Moné aesthetic. Think wool polo necks, knit shirts. All dropping in time for Christmas gifting season. We’re also gearing up for a significant drop for Summer ‘22, so keep your eyes peeled for something coming around then. Expect more printed shirts, more summer knits, and maybe some swimwear.