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Subversion and sustainability under Monozygotics’ lens

We started the brand in an anxiety fuelled context, we were in lockdown, the BLM protests were taking place and social media was blowing up.
Monozygotics

Scarlet and Daisy are the authors behind Monozygotics, the London-based design studio creating a symbiosis between fashion and media. Monozygotics does not claim to have a firm answer to the current status quo but leads the audience to question the impenetrable facade of high-fashion and lesser-known seedy practices whilst preserving their disarming tongue-in-cheek identity.

Reading: Subversion and sustainability under Monozygotics’ lens
Written by Monozygotics
16.03.2022

Tell me more about the conceptualisation of Monozygotisc.

We started the brand in an anxiety fuelled context, we were in lockdown, the BLM protests were taking place and social media was blowing up. Were people protesting because they genuinely cared or because they just wanted to enhance their digital capital? What separates the commercial from the meaningful? We could see a precedent in history by looking at The Suffragettes who were most certainly not creating a marketing opportunity for fast-fashion brands to create T-shirts and keychains. So we asked ourselves, how do we connect the image with the core? The lines between blindly following authority and rebellion are becoming so blurred and we try to fight back with transparency. What you see at the front is what is behind the scenes as well.

What are the references shaping your work?

S Film costume is something that really inspires us. Wes Anderson is incredible, especially the way he builds his rooms around each character’s personality and intricacies.
D The resurgence of horror films that are beautifully shot inspires us as well. Of course, Hitchcock is a classic, but we are massive Tim Burton fans as well; yes, it is animated, but the fact that someone took the time to sew a tiny jumper is so cute and represents the level of detail we strive for as well.
S We are also inspired by other designers who paved the way for what we do; Margiela and Galliano are some of our favourites. The narratives of designers are not what they used to be; you used to have these lovely stories about people who climbed from social and economical hardship, defying their backgrounds and going against all odds to champion their ideas. It can be demotivating to see how uniform the background of successful designers is today.
D Alexander McQueen is another designer we look up to. It’s tragic to see what the industry has done for him and the more we have worked in it, the more we took notice of the patterns that led him there. How many people is the industry going to take until we realise the gravity of the situation?

 

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What other forms of media do you consume?

D We also love podcasts. There’s this one that Scarlet put me onto called ‘Dressed’, it’s so good and goes so in-depth about items of clothing and fashion history.
S There could be an episode on buttons, one on pockets, and it’s these little things that make working in fashion so much more interesting and exciting.
D There is also “You’re wrong about”, which is not necessarily fashion focused, but goes to uncover common urban legend, slight untruths, and things that are built into social consciousness which are actually untrue. It’s really good.

Give us a glimpse on your identities seen from each other’s perspective.

D Scarlet is straightforward, ‘what you see is what you get’, she’s considerate and she has this urge to create clothes, she NEEDS her sawing machine; with or without a brand she’d still do it. She even has snips tattooed on her.
S Daisy is colourful in the way she is as a person, and the way she dresses. She just bring niceness wherever she goes. Very creatively effervescent, she disperses her energies in so many directions and I find it so inspiring to be around her.

Who is your customer and how do you create a dialogue with them?

They are people similar to us, not only in aesthetic but mindset. They are the people who are genuinely trying to do something good in the the industry and the world as well. It’s a match when we look at them and think ‘Yes, I can see you are trying too!’. But they are mostly creatives who care about supporting sustainable brands.
D We feel that higher-end brands create this god-like image that you can never reach. There is this ‘insider’ mentality that is so damaging and which we try to challenge.
S We try to make people’s contact with us super accessible, everyone can be a part of it and we always say ‘drop us an email, a DM on Instagram’ and the connection evolves naturally from there. People will send us a moodboard and we’d go from there.

 

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Tell me more about the process of creating a campaign.

Our subject matter is serious but we don’t take ourselves too seriously, which is why we approach everything with a subversive tongue-in-cheek note. For ‘GIVE ME MY SIN AGAIN’ we juxtaposed two themes with contrasting politics, the 18th century wealthy courts and punks. By playing with the antagonism between the two, the absurdity of image over content enforced by the establishment becomes apparent to the viewer who is struck by personal and social interrogation. We do not claim to have the answers, but we want to provoke a discourse with our audience and make them question the aspects which are brushed off by the industry.
D There is also the aspect of immersing ourselves in the story we are creating and using all resources to understand it better. Scarlet did her dissertation on the film ‘America Psycho’ and she made a point out of listening to the soundtrack on repeat while creating.
S I feel that the movie still translates into our work through its element of critique on the establishment. The minutiae that go on with the description, analysing what each character is wearing ‘Oh I have an X amount money sofa and art’ is so funny. What I played on was the concept of pinstripes that has been associated with social deviance, pirates, prisoners, and now shifted its significance into this yuppie Americana culture. It’s that balance between the veneer of the industry and its actual composition that we bring forward with our work.

There are religious undertones to your work, can you explain how they play into the rest of your concept?

We believe in creation, yet we condemn the ‘tortured artist’ myth. The closeness between religion and fashion alludes to the devotion and ritualistic habits ingrained in the consumers. Fetishising icons and images is a prevalent theme in the industry and ‘GIVE ME MY SIN AGAIN’ represent a rebirth of the world, through the emergence of late capitalism. We translated Dantian archetypes into characters.
D: Our most complex character for the story was the bride, she was the star of the show and her look was filled with subtle references to the origin story. We embroidered ribs on the dress which send to the Adam-Eve dynamic.
S: For the father of the bride whose arms were pulled off, we opened the seams at the shoulder. These little details help build the story and make our models get into character really easily.

 

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How does your model casting reflect on your brand values?

S We always look for models who are not just models; they do or say something. We mostly work with friends of ours or people who are somehow part of the creative industries; so it’s more of a collaboration, rather than giving them static instructions on what to do. We find that giving them free rein opens up our project to new perspectives and ideas. Gina, for example, is our makeup artist and activist for the LGTBQ+, so we always feel that she brings so much more than visuals to our team.
D Once we give our team a theme, it is up to them to interpret their experience in relation to it. We want to portray their personal dynamics with authority so that we are diverse in in background and subjectivity.

How do you implement sustainability through your brand?

S Sustainability is the cornerstone of Monozygotics. We are super transparent with our production; we post pictures of our studio, people know the conditions we work and source our materials in.
D We are also very transparent with our pricing, why things cost the amount that they do and how much people get paid as well.
S People can also hire the clothes from us, slowly eliminating the need for ‘throw away’ culture. Even though we are a business we encourage people to educate their buying impulse and think critically about what they are going to purchase.
D Working with discarded material is also intrinsic to the brand; we believe that the ‘worn’ quality of fabric should be celebrated as it offers glimpses into the identity of the wearer. This is not only sustainable, but extends our ideology into the clothes.

What are your biggest challenges in implementing your ideas to your brand?

S Funding is definitely a big part of it; we both have multiple jobs and unfortunately, that is the situation for most emerging creatives. Getting the attention feels like a shout in the void in a clout-chasing culture.
D Back in the days you just had to come up with good stuff and your talent didn’t depend on a search algorithm. We try to defy this by making genuine connections with the people we work with.
S It is so much more fulfilling in the end. Daisy made friends with the people from The Sassy Show, who came to use and borrowed some garments; after they came back they were crazy excited and said “I put this thing on and it made me feel happy!”.
D We thought “You get it!” and made us all the more excited about the possibility of genuine connection which fashion can offer if you stick to your principles.

 

Back in the days you just had to come up with good stuff and your talent didn't depend on a search algorithm. We try to defy this by making genuine connections with the people we work with.

If funding wasn’t a problem, what would be on your agenda?

D We already donate to charity, but if we were an established enterprise, there’s so much more we could do. We would create a space for designers, media people and also anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to go to uni. The fashion industry shuts the door on so many people, even through internships they are ruling out so many people who can’t work for free.
S Someone took a chance on me and it helped me get where I am, ‘taking that chance’ on someone would be the core of it.

What’s your take on the injection of NFTs and the meta verse into the fashion industry?
S What pops into my mind is a Gucci installation at Fashion Week where someone bought this digital Gucci bag for so much money *roughly $4,115 (Input, 2022)*. It still feels surreal to spend so much money on something so intangible.
D And the whole concept of the meta verse is at the core point about creating a decentralised space for everyone, however, that is not the case because there are already different metaverses; it’s not an open sandbox. It’s a new concept and you go into it in a very idealistic way disregarding the possibility of cyberattacks and diversity concerns which would easily translate into that medium.
S If we were to do anything in that dimension, it would be strictly for entertainment purposes. It would be very tongue-in-cheek, because the essence of our brand is the focus on physical manufacturing.

Designers
Monozygotics

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