MEET MONOSUIT: FROM JUMPSUIT INNOVATION TO PIONEERING SUSTAINABLE FASHION
Mia Murr, Founder and Chief Designer
What sparked the idea of launching MONOSUIT?
I have always been a fan of jumpsuits because they are just such cute and playful outfits, actually perfect for any occasion. Any occasion, except for using a restroom. The struggle to get out of it, sit almost naked somewhere in the public WC – this kind of adventure really makes think you twice before wearing a jumpsuit. So, I came up with a killer solution for this awkward problem by adding a system of secret lower back zippers. I wore my first jumpsuits myself, and when people in the streets started asking me, where I got them, I thought why not make it into a new clothing brand? My friend Elena Skazhenyuk, who is also a co-founder of the company and our Sales & Marketing Leader, loved the idea of this upgraded jumpsuit, and came up with the amazing brand name – MONOSUIT, which means “one suit”.
Founded in 2013, the brand celebrates its 10 years anniversary this year. Who were the key people who helped the brand come into fruition?
The core team includes me, the founder and chief designer of MONOSUIT, and three co-founders supervising IT, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Administration. We all had been friends before, and worked together. It may be challenging to have more than 1-2 founders in the company but for us it worked quite well and we almost never argued with each other during the past five years - we just regularly had productive discussions, or fun celebrating our wins!
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What does the work dynamics of the brand look like?
MONOSUIT is a multinational company with HQs in New York and with a team of highly committed and experienced professionals from the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, and more. The core includes 19 people working online. We also have over 40 outsoursed stylists, models, photographers, makeup artists, pattern makers, artists, accountants, bloggers, etc.
Our working atmosphere is creative, fun and - to be perfectly honest - chaotic. LOL. At the same time, I believe that we are quite productive using intuitive management, pursuing core values and high ethical principles in our work. We try to be honest and respectful with each other, we openly and unbiasedly discuss any issues, we encourage creativity and exchange of ideas, we do a lot of brainstorming sessions, and appreciate each person’s input. It is important for us to be one team – without any strict hierarchy structure. Everyone is more of a boss of their own coordinating actions with the rest of the team or leading a certain task.
What was the most important moment in the life of the brand so far?
When we got a seed round of investment in US. That’s when we realized that the world is interested in us. It helped other wonderful things to happen: new collections, lookbooks, web site development, etc.
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How do you discuss matters of sustainability internally, considering it plays a major role in the brand's mission?
I am personally really worried for our planet’s future. I visited over 60 countries, and every year I witness ecological degradation: garbage piles, burning dumps, ocean rubbish islands. My parents, Agricultural Academy graduates, devoted their lives to planting trees on the Earth. They cultivated love for our planet in me. I understand that if there is anything I can do, I should do it in my industry.
The fashion industry also has its ugly side that nobody likes to talk about – each year 85% of all textiles and clothing end up in the landfill. A shocking number, so I started thinking of how to make our designs recyclable. In 2019, we started using an automatic seamless production technology, and created our first Eco Monoskin, 40% made of regenerated yarn produced from recycled ocean garbage. It significantly eliminates an environmental footprint, as the whole production cycle is infintely renewable, and almost zero-waste. This breakthrough technology may change the fashion industry forever!
We also use digital patterns instead of real paper and 3D modelling instead of sewing a bunch of samples. We never overstock to avoid waste and use a special software for high-precision layouts to minimize the fallout in the cut. We do not have products of animal origin in our collections. We strive to create seasonless, trendless and long-term wear!
Elena Skazhenyuk, Co-Founder, Sales & Marketing Leader
How does the pursuit of innovation define MONOSUIT's approach to collaboration?
When Monosuit as a product was ready, we knew that we had to still make it popular, so we developed an innovative community-based approach to collaboration. We approached certain communities that often choose jumpsuits for their for work or hobby – cyclists, yoga guys, surfers, car racers, etc. These people were more likely to consider wearing a monosuit for their daily activities than those who had never worn a jumpsuit before. We work with ambassadors in these unique communities on testing and modifying the products. Once the products are finalized, we promote the monosuits as a daily wear with the selected communities on social media.
What does the conversation within your team look like when it comes to creating a balance between innovation and commercial aspects?
At MONOSUIT, our team prioritizes finding a balance between innovation and commercial aspects by focusing on well-engineered and efficient processes that reduce expenses. This includes digital patterns, automated production, and optimization during cutting to minimize waste and costs. We also prioritize sustainability and provide pricing transparency to build trust with our customers. Overall, we choose innovations that benefit both our customers and business, creating products that are both innovative and commercially viable.
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Tatyana Shorova, Co-Founder, Leader of Administration and Finance
What are the key principles that MONOSUIT embodies and matters to you on a personal level as well?
The key principle is being sustainable in everything we do: separate waste collection, and saving energy, for example by working online instead of renting a real office. We all strive to reduce carbon footprint by minimizing travel by air and using public transport instead of cars. We pay special attention to using only recyclable or biodegradable packaging. For example: I buy water in recyclable packages only. Monosuits are packed in recyclable carton packaging. When we get fabric leftovers we send them to our friends who make jewelry. We are doing the best we can with baby steps - but it’s really better this way than do nothing at all to reduce the waste that we all generate each day.
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Alexander Pavlovich, Co-Founder, Leader of Digital UX
What are some fun elements about MONOSUIT's designs and brand story, as well as working with them?
I am responsible for digital image of MONOSUIT and I can honestly say that there’s much beauty in my work. I like that in our collections we can render our emotions, we can openly laugh at our own mistakes. For example, one collection was born out of a misprint “spaceship sheep”. Each collection becomes very personal and reflects our current state of mind. You can see it even in our color scheme. Sometimes we find inspiration in movies or music. Besides, I enjoy our ironic approach as we love to print some funny phrases on our products, like our famous “Do not remove in case of sex” that can be found on our branded socks, zippers, belts and what not. I also love how we play with the words naming each garment. In our recent collection, “Somewhere in a parallel Universe”, which was inspired by the song of our Founder, Mia Murr, you can find some fun names like Gold Digger, Time Traveler, Twister and Diva.
To discover MONOSUIT's functional futuristic products visit the NJAL Shop!