Founded by fashion industry experts Saundra Saulnier and Helga Solrun, NINJA MONK is more than just a clothing brand. By designing easy, elevated and effortless essentials for all, Saulnier and Solrun ‘wanted to flip consumption-centric fashion’ and ‘design clothing to last.’ With eco-conscious practices grounding NINJA MONK’s sense of what it means to be cool, comfy and modern, its manufacturing is based in U.S. factories using high-quality, sustainable fabrics. It’s about simplicity, individualism and style being how you wear it, not what you wear.
On the website, it says that NINJA MONK isn’t just a clothing brand, but is a state of being – how do you think NINJA MONK’s clothing relates to one’s identity?
Clothing plays a substantial part in how you express yourself and your unique authentic self; it’s part of your lifestyle. Whether people are wearing designer clothes or they’re living in their PJ’s, they’re still expressing themselves in a certain way. It’s the domino effect; you look good, you feel good, you do good, and that’s a message NINJA MONK is definitely promoting. The pandemic has created global changes in every aspect and with more people working from home, they want and expect comfort, ease and flexibility. At NINJA MONK we have created Luxe Lounge to Streetwear and positioned the brand as ‘Clothes to Live In’. Wearing clothes you feel great in, you build your ‘no-brainer/throw & go’ uniform and this will positively affect how you feel and how you live.
Looking at the people on the Creatives website page, you are showcasing people in many different areas of life such as martial arts, dancing, videography, art, music and skydiving. Do you think NINJA MONK makes people feel free and able to express themselves through their clothes?
The Creatives page was constructed as another platform for people to showcase themselves outside of regular social media and networking. Our intention is to build this page to represent a wide range of people in all walks of life. NINJA MONK believes in the smashing of ALL stereotypes. We are connected as a global community on the foundation of “No Labels and Just Humans.” This awareness and acceptance is needed more than ever: so we started with sustainable, easy fit clothing for Everybody and Every Body. We offer everyday flexible clothing essentials for all areas of your life: work, gym, meditation, travel, events and even raves. But also lounge to playing video games and everything in between, they’re even comfy enough for sleep. More and more Creatives are coming soon.
We feel inspired to hear about the unisex nature of the brand, what influence did you have on your creative journey to come to this design concept for NINJA MONK?
NINJA MONK believes in the smashing of ALL stereotypes. We are connected as a global community on the foundation of “No Labels and Just Humans.” Not just gender, but also ageism, sexism, racism etc. and we support creating community VS division. The current culture of living online, insidious marketing, and the effects of the pandemic has caused more isolation, new dividing labels and separation. We are part of this movement of the new global change-makers here to make a difference.
In fact, even the word unisex is another label that I didn’t originally want on the website, but at the end of the day we have limited vocabulary and understandings, and I needed a simple word to express that clothing has no labels and is in fact genderless. It’s taken decades for the fashion industry to ‘allow’ the mix of ‘mens & womens’ clothing together on the runway, showrooms and in the same stores. Our new generation sees past this and is more open about wearing what you want.
NINJA MONK’s clothes are described as eco-conscious and sustainable. It would be really interesting if you could elaborate on the concept of NINJA MONK’s sustainability.
Sustainability is also about longevity; we believe in ‘buy once and wear for life’ and ‘less is more’. We want people to be aware of what they’re buying, why they buy what they do, how they are being made and what happens after they are discarded. Saving time, money and energy is a sustainable way of being as well. We’ve all seen photos of billions of pounds of clothing being burnt in landfills. Being in the fashion industry for years, I have seen excess in factories globally, tons of clothes in companies and stores and always felt overwhelmed about ‘where is this all going’? I feel it needs to be a more thoughtful process, to really think about what you’re doing and have this consciousness and awareness of what you’re creating and how you’re creating it. Sustainability also needs to be across the board, and NINJA MONK embodies that on different levels, the multi-functionality of our clothing is one. For example, we make reversible garments; inside out and front to back, so you have two items in one. We also cut waste on every aspect of our manufacturing; no excess labels or tags get thrown in the bin. We work with sustainable manufacturing vendors, using ethical business practices that provide liveable wages. We are constantly sourcing the latest in eco fabrics and our clothes are made out of certified recycled plastics and recycled wood chips. Ultimately though, NINJA MONK is looking at the bigger picture and if we support sustainable businesses and help bring awareness this causes a ripple effect.
What do you see as the key differentiator of NINJA MONK when compared with other high-end clothing brands?
I don’t compare NINJA MONK to other brands because I feel that every creator and brand has their own why and process. NINJA MONK clothing is about buying less and living more, and investing in sustainable timeless, season-less clothing. What’s always stood out for me is the marketing pressure to buy clothes that are ‘in fashion’ and we are about style not fashion. People only wear 10% of what’s in their closets and they reach for their favourite items that they always feel good in. We make well-made feel good clothing that you look good in too. Longevity is sustainability and this includes investing in fewer clothes that you love and that last. A NINJA MONK motto is: “You don’t need to buy stuff to feel good about yourself; ‘You’re already a Badass as you are’.” It’s all about You and Your style. We also sell tailor scissors in a neoprene pouch so you can customise/cut your NINJA MONK. All products have raw edges, and you can cut as you want, make it your own and mix it with what you already have. When you have your own style, that’s timeless.
What is NINJA MONK’s vision for the iconic brand? Do they have any upcoming projects that you can reveal?
In addition to creating new and exciting products and working with incredible people, we’re also advocating for a positive change in well-being. We’re going to be working with non-profits such as anti-bullying which takes on many forms. We believe in generating opportunities, mentoring, and supporting visionary changemakers. This helps drive us towards innovation. We have some really exciting future plans with tech, entertainment, media, and distribution sectors. Obviously, we don’t want to give away our company secrets, but we do see ourselves as a tech brand that builds, uplifts, and creates new movements. We’re in a world where smaller businesses, entrepreneurs and change-makers do need to be collaborating, because otherwise we’re going to get crushed by a few multi-million-dollar companies ruling everything and I don’t think that’s helpful for society and the culture. It’s crucial that companies create together and at NINJA MONK we believe in Creativity and Collaboration over Consumption. Its important people have purpose, hope, and opportunities. Basically, we just want to continue putting out great products, working with amazing people, making a positive impact and having fun doing it. Life is short.
Article written by: Holly Lewis, Features Writer British Thoughts UK
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