20 Feb MOMU&CO in Modapiel & Accesories
Modapiel & Accessories magazine has published an interview to Monica Munevar Cortez –MOMU&CO’s founder– in its last edition, launched for the MICAM Milan 2020 fashion show.
Following we reproduce the text of such interview:
“Each one of our products has a story and each detail a reason to be”
Origins: “The project began because of my restless and creative spirit, together with the capacity and passion to work with my hands.”
Philosophy: “MOMU&CO designs unisex fashion conceived to be enjoyed and wore for a long time. The main aim is to create timeless and intelligent designs, or Slow Fashion. Our philosophy can be summarized in Natural & Basic Fashion, which means, simple yet different designs.”
Production: “To make our designs I prefer to use natural materials combined with unconventional iron fittings. The production process is entirely manual, an option that turns each product into a unique piece.”
Which motives lead you to the creation and design of handbags?
The project began because of my restless and creative spirit, together with the capacity and passion to work with my hands. I started producing handbags out of recycled jeans. Later, with the support of a work colleague who also is a handbag designer, I started to design handbags with natural materials, mostly with ecru linen, a textile which I’m passionate about.
When do you begin making your way in the fashion industry?
Since I was a child I’ve been passionate about the idea of manual production, with simple materials, useful and functional objects. During the years I studied Economy and Marketing at the University, I also designed swimming suits and t-shirts for girls. As a professional, my positions allowed me to manage projects always linked with creative matters. Over 10 years ago, after moving to live first to Italy and then here to Barcelona, I started designing jewelry and gadgets out of recycled materials. And 4 years ago I joined the design team in a leather brand: Cuirum. For this brand I designed and customized leather products. Finally, 2 years ago I decided to start my solo career and create my own brand, initially with an e-commerce. Later I opened the atelier in El Born district in Barcelona.
How has been your training and where?
Mi passion for manual work has been a constant throughout my life, both personally and professionally. That enthusiasm has moved me not only during my university studies but also in my professional career. During the years I have attended many workshops related with creativity and manual work. And I’m still learning every day something new by myself, applying the “learning by doing” method.
Which are the philosophy and values that guide your designing work?
Everything starts from our belief that something made by hand, with care and dedication, has an added value so important that it becomes part of the values of those who buy it. Craftmanship or the value of Handmade with passion and skills, which give to each product characteristics that make unique, in opposition to large and standard production series. The use of raw materials from natural sources, environmentally friendly. In that sense, we’re focused on using recycled materials. We offer simple yet different designs. We refuse fashion’s ephemeral aspect by creating timeless designs. We produce locally, which means proximity of raw materials as well as production, in order to allow a strict quality control, but also to promote cooperation with local artisans and businesses. As such, we promote collaborations with other artisans, designers and creatives, also from other industries, to forge together new ideas.
Which are the most important stages that you remember since you started in this industry?
The first and most important began when I was a child and it was the result of the need making gifts for a numerous family with limited economic resources. In that moment comes up the idea, promoted by my mother, to buy materials and make ourselves the gifts for everybody. Another one of the most important stages in my career was the work done in the leather good shop, where I received the support of the owner and his chief designer to develop my commercial abilities as well my designs of leather jewelry. I would also point out the moment you realize that your designs are appreciated not only by end customers, but also by the industry. And the hardest stage of starting your own brand, setting up an e-commerce and opening the atelier, because of what it demands both personally and financially.
How is the handbags’ production process? And where?
Desing, the initial preparation and finishing are done in our atelier, in El Born district in Barcelona. For sewing phases we engage trusted workshops nearby, which share our creative values. Likewise, the procurement of our raw materials comes from local providers.
Who do you get inspiration from, when it comes to your designs?
We get ideas from everyday life. From the interaction with other artisans, designers, artists or businessmen from different industries, but that share our same values, and with whom we create a network of collaborations.
Do you think consumers appreciate the value of a handmade handbag?
As it happened with the Slow Food movement, I think there is every day more people who, knowingly or not, are becoming part of the Slow Fashion movement. Customers who appreciate craftmanship, independent design and small-scale production.
In that sense, do you think there is ever more interest in purchasing handcrafted products, i.e., a stronger attention towards shopping for more environmentally friendly and less industrialized products?
Absolutely! As I mentioned before, this is a growing market. And you can see it in its full splendor in neighborhoods like El Born, where our atelier is. A district in which customers are amazed by local artisans skillfully using their ingenious tools while they produce an accessory, which can by the way be made to their size and taste. All this in a zero-stress atmosphere, in which the customer naturally understands that waiting for his/her product, more than waiting time is actually a chance for enjoyment and disconnection. This is the main aspect that those who visit us seek, and once they have got to know us, don’t doubt in repeating even from afar, through our online platform.
On the other hand, is it possible to customize your designs according to each buyer’s style?
Of course! Customization is an aspect intimately linked to our designs. Some of our products, like belts and leather suspenders, are only produced to the customer’s size and preferences. In other cases, we start from original design –so to say– standard, and then we apply the customer’s desired personalization. In some cases, we even manufacture products entirely under the customer’s specifications.
Which are the main differential aspects of your products?
Our MoMuStamp, or handmade patterns, and our MoMuLock, or zipper locking system, are differential details that our customers literally love. We love using small industrial fittings, from the nautical and equestrian worlds, instead of conventional iron fittings. Another differential aspect our customers love. We use local raw materials, and in some cases organic or recycled ones. However, for us what really makes the difference is the treatment and attention we give to our customers. Each one of our products has a story and each detail a reason to be, and it is in those moments when we have the priceless opportunity to transmit to our customers that we love what we do.