New Threads: Fashion Designer Monique Jacobs and Bonnie vs. Clyde
Londoner Monique Jacobs, 23, is as fresh on the fashion scene as her brand Bonnie vs. Clyde is, but she’s already seeing signs of success.
Jacobs started Bonnie vs. Clyde last year and since then she has designed two collections and singer Pixie Lott wore one of her pieces at an event in February.
Prior to designing clothes, Jacobs wanted to be a TV presenter, but after doing a workshop she decided it wasn’t for her. In 2008, she designed her first ever piece for her birthday and after receiving some positive feedback from people she decided to keep up with it.
Jacobs says it has been a learning process: “It does take a long time because you remember that you don’t want it to look like something else you’ve seen and you want it to be original and you got to make sure that you’ve got the right name and you’ve got the right fabric and, you know, you got to do a wash/care label and you really got to make sure you’ve kind of covered yourself before someone spots out an error that you don’t know about.”
Jacobs started Bonnie vs. Clyde because she saw a gap in the market for women’s unitards. Her collection is designed with body shapes in mind as her inspiration, as Jacobs herself has a disproportionate body shape and has learned how clothes suit certain bodies differently from that.
“I love to see a body shape defined without always having to reveal flesh, so it encouraged me to design unitards as my first project,” Jacobs said.
With a team of only three people working on her designs, Jacobs has created a sample collection of six unitards and a Spring/Summer collection with 13 pieces in it. She said it takes about four days to complete her more intricate pieces and around two to three months total to create a full collection. Bonnie vs. Clyde focuses on women’s wear at the moment, although Jacobs has started drawing up plans for designing men and women’s outerwear for the autumn.
Fashion has been a family affair for Jacobs, as she started loving it after receiving her grandmother’s garments from the 60s and 70s.
“This is how I learnt fashion has wonderful textures, shapes, and transformations; also that it repeats itself,” Jacobs said.
Designers Azzedine Alaia and Mary Katranzou also fuelled her inspiration for different reasons.
Jacobs describes Alaia’s designs as couture and classy, adding, “his clothes contour women and their body effortlessly.”
Katranzou’s digital prints and luxurious fabrics as well as her background inspire Jacobs.
“Mary’s background is inspirational because she didn’t come from a magnificent life, she just worked hard at university and studied her craft,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs can relate as an only child who relies on self-motivation to reach her dreams.
“I will say this, even if you know you’re doing well you will still be surprised and overwhelmed by your positive feedback and support, and it may not be from the people you expect,” Jacobs said.
Speaking as a young aspiring designer herself, Jacobs’ advice to others is to remember to be original because only the best prevail. She also encourages others to surround themselves with ambitious and optimistic people.
In the future she hopes to have a bigger following and more high profile clients.