Our newest L.A obsession MONTE has arrived and we know you’re going to love it just as much as we do.
To celebrate the launch we sat down with designer extraordinaire and brand founder, Dawn McKnight, to hear about her favourite spots in L.A, goals for the future and what it is that makes MONTE oh so special.
Our Goal is to find inspiring brands from L.A., the place we absolutely love. What is your favourite borough in L.A. and how does it inspire you in your work/brand?
There are so many great, unique little boroughs in L.A., but my favorite is probably Melrose, North Hollywood. There is a lot of creative energy there, great, unique restaurants and shops and there is history. The creativity and colorful history and energy inspire me as a designer to create what I love and dare to experiment with new styles, shapes and ideas.
What makes working in L.A. different to other places?
I haven't really worked in any other places than L.A., but I can tell you what's great about it is it's diversity, ethical and environmental awareness and immense creative energy - all of which are so inspiring to me.
As an L.A. insider what are your “best kept secrets” (bars, spas, coffee, gyms, art galleries)
I love nature, being outdoors and hiking , so Franklin Canyon Park is one of my favorite places to go and escape, unwind and reset. There are over 600 acres of chaparral, grasslands, hiking trails and a beautiful lake and ponds.
Some of my favorite restaurants in L.A. are Night Market - amazing and unique, creative Thai Food; Gracias Madres - delicious vegan Mexican Food and fantastic cocktails and Cafe Gratitude - where "love is served". They honor the earth and ourselves , support local farmers, sustainable and regenerative agriculture and see food as medicine. Their artisan chefs create delicious high quality, nutrient dense meals. I always feel so great eating there!
How did you want Monte to be different from other brands?
I just want MONTE to be MONTE, an ethically and environmentally friendly brand that beautiful, easy to wear, comfortable yet stylish and forward clothing to women who care about fashion and want to feel their best when they get dressed.
Would you call yourself a sustainable fashion designer?
Yes, sustainable in that I produce quality, environmentally minded clothing that is well made, ethically produced with pleasant and safe working environments and can be worn more than two washings and kept for seasons and reworn again and again. I also repurpose all my fabrics into new styles or samples rather than adding waste to landfills.
What do you think needs to happen to make the fashion industry more ethical overall?
Stop the modern slavery of garment workers and sweatshops and focus on producing and sourcing locally and ethically where workers are provided safe and pleasant working environments and paid fairly for the wonderful work they do. I also think fast fashion needs to end and less, more carefully and creatively produced fashion of beauty and quality prevail. We need to bring back the respect and admiration, importance of beautifully and carefully crafted and produced fashion that can be worn over and over and not thrown out after a few washes.
What are your goals in the future?
To continue to grow the MONTE brand as a beautiful, ethical and practical fashion brand that women love and feel their best in and stand behind because they believe in the product and the mission. I want MONTE styles to help empower women to feel their best, honest selves.
What are you doing in your everyday life to be more sustainable?
Recycle, reuse and repurpose where I can. I have a hydroponic garden where we grow our herbs and vegetables. I also shop local and small, supporting the small, local businesses.