Pierre-Yves Monnerville is the Founder of Monnerville. When he was growing up in Paris he was often warned that walking around town wearing sportswear was ‘risky' for young black men. The risk was being stopped by the police and asked for an ID. This is why today he enjoys designing smart, ethical, sportswear clothes that he wished he could have worn back then. We're now at a time when it's okay to work in comfortable, sportswear inspired clothes, especially when we don't need to go to the office as often. The unfathomable change we've all been experiencing led Pierre to launch Monnerville and design a range of timeless basics made up of premium ethical athleisure style menswear. He believes we all need to consume less and make clothes that people will love wearing time and time again. Smart and comfortable enough to work from home in, yet stylish enough for a night out at your favourite bar.
In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Pierre-Yves Monnerville, Founder at Monnerville about what inspired him to launch his ethical athleisure brand in 2020 during Covid-19 after a 17 year career working as Cabin Crew. Using organic cotton the garments are sustainable and made in West London in small batches. Our host Peter Brooker and Pierre talk about the design process, accessing funding, sustainability, and the global pandemic.
Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.
Hello, welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Tucker. And today we're going to be talking to Pierre eaves. manorville, who is the founder of manorville. And website MonaVie. Co, is where you can find all the information and a little snippet about Bonneville they are timeless basics. They design ethical athleisure, menswear, combining functionality and sleek, minimalist design for a competence boosting fit, locally produced in small batches with organic cotton in West London. And here to tell the story in its own words is pa ease. My name is Julia and I I live in Brighton. And I launched the brand MonaVie in December of 2020. And then so it's a brand of ethical athleisure men's wear. And so, we we design, as lira style clothes, very much inspired by sportswear and by rugby jerseys, especially at the moment. And then we use organic cotton. And that is made in the UK. And the garments are made themselves in West London in very small batches. So yeah, that's about it. And so what Trent what, what transferable skills did you have in your past year to bring to the brand? Are you a designer in your former life? How to work? Yes and no. So I came to fashion in a very roundabout way. So first of all, let's go even before that. The reason I moved to the UK about 17 years ago now was because I got a job as a cabin crew. And so I stayed as cabin crew for 17 years. During those 17 years, I went back to university to study industrial design. And then, so I finished I think I waited about three years ago. Then, when I was doing my final year project, I was wondering what I would do with my industrial design degree. And then so my there was a very strong emphasis on sustainability. Then my my project was shower time made of plastic hemp. Then when I researched hemp, I saw that there were hundreds of uses for him, including fabric, and then it clicked, then I thought I'm going to use my industrial design degree to make close to neck sustainable crops. And because even before as a child, I wanted to be a fashion designer, because I wasn't brought up by esteem stress. And the only thing is, at seven years when I was seven, I realised I couldn't rock. And it's harder than it looks, isn't it? Well, especially, especially for me. And then another thing happened then, the fashion I saw on TV was really the odd couture for expensive ball gowns for women. And already then I couldn't really see myself doing that. So very quickly, I just decided, Well, yeah, change my mind, the world like it's not gonna work because I can't roll. And this country. I don't want to design clothes just for women to wear at cocktail parties or whatever. But I still wanted to do it because I remember, I think when I was 17 already, I made some samples of something that looks like Well, anyway, I was already doing some samples of clothes and I was already thinking of which logo I would have and all these kind of things. Once again, because I realised that I will still couldn't roll without 13. And then at the time I had discovered photography. So after my you know, the French equivalent of the A Levels are trained the photographer. And then because of mental health issues, I, I just couldn't really go ahead with the photography and push it forward to sustain a career in, in photography. So that's why I ended up leaving France. And that's why I came to the UK and had a daydream for 17 years. And now finally, I'm allowing myself to do what I want. Nice. Okay, what talks me a little bit about the brand? How it is today? And maybe just backpedal slightly? How did you raise the capital to get it off the ground with a crowd funder? Or was it your own money? So it was a bit of both. So there was my own money for the very first stages of sampling. And in the meantime, I also applied for some funding for fashion startups, which was a which was granted back six weeks ago. So where do you go for that? Where do you where so who funds the fashion startups? Is it? Is it government? Or is it private equity or? No us? Is? is actually funds from the European Union? Uh huh. So, yeah, I'm just imagining 1000 people right now listening to the podcast or wanting to start their own brand and go well, yes. Who do I write to? So what do these people need to type into Google apart from European Union? Well, it's what is called new enterprise annulments. That's what it's called. And then, yeah, that's what he's called. Now. Okay, great. I never knew anything about that. So that's great. I mean, a good place to start, I suppose if you're wanting to get some support and get something like this off the ground? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So you say that everything is produced? Or that the garments made here in the UK? How, how important is that for you to have everything kind of homegrown here? Maybe you can talk about that a little bit? Yeah, so I really believe that every we all need the drug really. And in in Europe, especially. There are so many people who spend their lives training for a drug, they're really proud of that, so many of them can't exit can come do the drugs anymore, because the production has been moved to Southeast Asia or the artist in general. So and they're really they're fantastic at their job, and they're really skilled. Yeah. So it's important to maintain those skills and to give jobs to give jobs to these people and to give them some work to do and wearables in the UK, do they make t shirts like this? So my, the clothes are made in West London, in in Twickenham. Okay, not far from me. Oh, and also the sustainability. Fred, you touched upon it briefly. But if you go onto the website, which I encourage people to do, by the way, and we'll leave links over on the show notes. But manorville Co. It's not just kind of like you tick the box, we do sustainable clothing, there's a whole kind of like a stream of consciousness about why we should be all very conscious about what we're wearing. And we're sourcing effects on the environment, but you know, just new facts and also links to other kind of documentaries, like the guardian and other other places where people can kind of come and immerse themselves in, in getting well read on this subject. But maybe you can touch upon why it's so important to you, and why you felt the need to get this information out into into the world. So I've always been interested in sustainability when I when I was a child, it was called ecology. So I've always been careful with environment and I'm always trying not to killing sex for nothing, you know, all these kinds of things. And then in 20 13 after, after me getting a divorce, and then my my mother had died, I think, the year before, then I felt really lost. So I decided to go to Peru on an Alaska retreat. And that I thought that would transform my life. And even more than just a good Tinder profile pics. From Machu Picchu, this guy's gonna be irresistible. Exactly. And during one of the ceremonies, I really felt in my body that, you know, I'm not separate from the environment, I am bound to the environment. So yeah, it was so strong and so clear, really, that everything was connected. And as a species, we're just one link of a massive chain. So since then, at least, I was already studying, but I really decided that no matter what I would do, it has to be sustainable, as sustainable as I could do it. And I never looked back. It feels like a very spiritual place to come to your website here. I mean, it's not just talking about the ethos of sustainability. But there's also links to music, you know, things that you listened to in your past and things that kind of get you into the right mood right now. And I think that's quite a refreshing thing to see on websites, because it kind of gives you an insight or a window into the people behind it give you a while it gives a site a personality. So was it a website? You built yourself? Was that always the intent? Yeah, yeah. So it took me I work with different mentors. So there's a fashion mentor, business mentor for the marketing people. But I always try to remember that at the end of the day is my vision. And it's my experience. So that's why it's very important for me to share music because as as I write on the some of the pages, and I spend so much time alone as a child music was my companion, so And yeah, is really inspired people inspired me and continues to inspire me. Nice. Well, lucky. I mean, people can go over and check out some of the playlists that you got over there. k lF justified nation, I learned that that was one of the very first songs I learned on the keyboard back in the day. Yeah, well, I that was a soy is to listen that used to play on the radio in France. And I used to play it every single Friday night. I used to love it. No, no good. Some good strong picks. So what's what's next for you now? Well, actually, tell me about your day job now appear? I mean, how much time do you spend on the business in the business? You know, maybe you can just walk me through your nine to five if there is such a thing for you? Yeah, yeah. Well, so the I have I left flying last year, at the beginning of time, just, I mean, I really thought that was the universe. That was a sign of the year. That was a sign I just saw, you know. Actually, what happened is when the I think the first lockdown was March, wasn't it? You know, it's all a big old blur this last year and a half, but I'll take your word, because I remember. I was very cocky at the time. And now in March, I went, I had a trip to Hong Kong. And at the time, he were the COVID virus was was only in Asia. And I remember thinking, you know, qualities Sunday over there. So I remember having a mask when I was going out, but he was mainly out of politeness because I didn't want to offend anybody and I just thought maybe they're overreacting. Until you know it. We'll know what happened afterwards. But then when I when I did look down was announced here. I remember he So, all the way around. And, you know, I felt like I was in, you know, an episode of The Twilight Zone, or black mirror. Newer reference. And when I'm when I'm lost, I always go on the beach to think. And I remember thinking, oh my god, what if this lasts a week or two? What are you going to do? And then I thought to myself, well, you know, I've been I've been meaning to stop playing for a long time. So this might be a sign that you know, it's time to go and do what I really want. And so as soon as the the announcements came for, I will include redundancy in all of that. I thought that's it. Nice. Yeah. That I didn't have to ask you twice. Oh, no, you're already out the door. I'm really grateful. So were you working on the planes when people were even passengers were masked up? Did you kind of get that stay? Like the kind of crazy level for you where you mean, I haven't been flying. I don't think having to mask up. I don't think I've done that. But I mean, we hear all the time, people would have to wear masks, and then there'd be something. And then in between nibbles and bite, they'd have to put the mask back on and stuff like that. Yeah, I don't, I don't know what it's like now, then. Yes. And my very last flight was to India, and the government asked us to, you know, wear aprons and visors and make it work. And we even had like a, I've got no hair. But we we still had to wear something over over our heads to protect as much as possible when we were doing you know, when we were in the cabin, even walking through the airport and the gloves on, and they were like, really dramatic. And that must been was that quite hard to regulate as well, because it's not easy flying half the time and getting half the people to kind of mask up and you know, behave themselves was a bit that was just a miserable time around to be honest, actually. Well, I never had a problem. So and I was never on flights where people, you know, argue that they will no problem and I don't know what it's like Now, again, but the flight I was very I was working on, then. They were really quiet. Really, really quiet. Okay, so it was so even if they didn't want to put the mask on then. Because we were I mean, we're talking make 20 passengers maximum on a long old plane. Right? Did you? Did you do any first class? Do you tend to anyone in first class business class in the business class mostly? Okay. Because my girlfriend and I have got a theory about cabin crew in business class. So what is it? So the best thing that that a passenger can do is get on a plane and go to sleep straightaway? Because then he's maintenance like, hello. So here's your here's your pyjamas. Here's your blanket. Let me just turn that light. Yeah. But we're in business class. The last thing we want to see is where to turn the light off. We want a cocktail in our hands, like in the next five minutes or so. So the conflict is always between the cabin crew and the passengers that want to stay up all night and get on the cocktails and the cabin crew that goes you know, this is an overnight flight at Bravo, you just now watch the back of your eyelids and then I can have a much easier day at the office. Yeah, that's right. Got it. Great. Yeah, tote bag. Anyway. Well, yeah, tell me a little bit about what's happening next. Now as a brand we've we've got some t shirts on the on the store that I encourage everyone to check out once again, we'll leave links over in the show notes. We've got three different colorways going on. Are we going to be focusing on any more garments any more designs? What's next? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, they're on the works already. So the reason I was advised actually to start really small, which is what I'm doing. So that's why there is only one garment which is called urban jersey. And the reason I'm starting so small is first of all, because at the end of the day, I don't want to waste money and and resources and I still As much as I put all my heart and soul in it, but it still has to be on the market. So I still have to see whether people respond to it or not. Then in the meantime, there are already The next product sample the next colorways sample. And the other thing is, I would really like to get some feedback from customers to see what they like what they don't like, and, and then keep improving on seven jersey. Well, I gotta tell you, I really like the site, I even sent it to a friend of mine, the idea that you can just sign up and be in with a shout of winning a T shirt. So that's, uh, you know, because I do have a little bugbear we've kind of pop up some sites, as I'm sure we all do, or you just kind of want to get to where you go to, but then you see a pop up, like, subscribe to this and you get 10% off, which doesn't feel like anything. But to see a pop up that comes up and go, you have a chance of winning one of the T shirts for 100 or so. And then you're winning two, you're winning One for you and one for your friends. There you go. You see, now you now you want to sign up? You definitely and I loved it and maybe even says I'm in because that's a little thing that you click on. But perfect, great idea. And again, you know, people know where to go now. So are you still doing your own photography? Yes. So it looked like that was some of that was shut down in London by Canary Wharf? That little mound, by the way. Yeah, yes. Yeah, London boys talking. The What I wanted was an urban environment. And I also wanted to represent the year I want, in my mind, who I designed for is an urban man. So to me, my idea of urban environment is very much Canary Wharf with glass buildings and all this kind of in just a bit of green. Just a bit of greenery, but a lot of grass buildings. Yeah, you got to be careful down there. Because when I went down to take some photos, and just kind of like fly on the wall photos, I had someone come up to me and goes, you know, you're not allowed to take photos down here because they think that you're kind of taking photos of buildings, you know, these are compiling highly protected buildings, I suppose. And they have their own security and you just have to come down willy nilly and buildings. So well done on Yeah, I could see. I could see there were some security watching over us. Yeah. They didn't come and they didn't come in. asked us what we were doing. Which we were also quite quick. Really? Yeah. You haven't been the neck of the woods. Yeah. Yeah. Well, and also what you were doing, you know, he was he was nothing to be arrested. Oh, yeah. They're not gonna kick you out of town for that. Well, thanks for coming on the show here. enjoyed our little chat. Great to get to know you great to get to know the brand. And like I say, people should head over there and support local local businesses, homegrown talent, and also Get Schooled up on sustainability. It's all in the text over there. In the meantime, wish you all the best. Thank you. Hope to speak to you soon. Thank you very much. Thank you, Pierre. And Yep, the website monroeville.co. Well worth checking out. Thanks for coming on here and thank you for listening. If you like what you hear, why not leave us a review. It does help support the show and helps it stay free. And if you want to check out the show notes, all the other articles on lifestyle fashion watches and more. Do check out menswear style.co.uk on the social also at menswear style. Thanks again, everyone. Until next time,