LPA: What was your first ever job in the fashion industry?
Monica: I was a buyers clerk for Miss Selfridge straight after leaving London College of Fashion.
LPA: When you first started out, did you have a clear idea of what you ultimately wanted to do or was it something that developed along the way?
Monica: I always wanted to work in fashion but started out wanting to be a designer then realized buying was for me. Running my own business came much later but have wanted to do this for many years with a passion.
LPA: As someone who’s had a long and successful career in fashion, what advice would you give to someone hoping to break into the industry? Do you think it makes a big difference if you study fashion first? Or would you recommend interning instead?
Monica: BOTH! Its so competitive that you almost have to have some sort of fashion qualification so I would recommend that. Also work experience is essential for your CV and to make contacts within the industry.
LPA: Leaving a position as prestigious as Head Buyer for the Arcadia group to start your own company was a seriously bold move! Was there something in particular that prompted you and Joe to do it?
Monica: We have a young family and I wanted to change my lifestyle to be more flexible and spend more time with my children. I also really wanted to work for myself and make my own decisions. Joe and I have had this dream for a long time and I think it was when I lost my wonderful Dad that we both realized that life is too short we should follow our dreams and take the risk.
LPA: Monica & Joe stocks an incredibly diverse range of brands from all over the world. How do you select your designers?
Monica: As a buyer I am very instinctive so I follow my gut feeling everytime. We are inspired by the cities we love; London, Paris, Copenhagen, NYC… We love cool little boutiques and new designers who catch our eye. We always make a note of labels we like and look them up. Often one discovery leads to another which is so exciting. We also go the fashion weeks and trade shows to find new labels and designers. No stone is left unturned!
LPA: What’s your failsafe fashion formula?
Monica: It depencs on my mood that day but when I’m working from home of with the kids I’m a jeans and boots girl. I love cool oversized t-shirts from I Love My T’s and Simeon Farrar and I have a good selection of blazers and leather jackets from 2nd Day. When I’m out and about then it’s heels and dresses from By Marlene Birger, Stella Forest or Bruuns Bazaar.
LPA: What do you think is the key to dressing well?
Monica: Confidence and good shoes! Shoes make or break an outfit. Sometimes I can’t wear a dress for weeks until I have found exactly the right pair of shoes to go with them!
LPA: Who, in your opinion, is the most stylish woman in the world?
Monica: That’s hard because I’m inspired by so many women but if I had to choose one woman whose style I really relate to its Kate Moss.
Love Ella. X