Just MONO | more than meets the eye
We love discovering new brands with enthusiasm and great style - Just MONO is certainly one of them! Starting only recently in 2017, this label has won our hearts with their quiet style and simplicity. We talked to its founder, Joanna, to learn more...
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
I have always been interested in design. I was very lucky to visit some amazing places all over the world with my family whilst growing up, and all those experiences and the things I saw whilst travelling have undoubtedly inspired my passion for design. After school, I went to Leeds Arts University and studied Printed Textiles. Cities and architecture were always my inspiration, I created patterns and prints using abstract shapes. After university, I started to work as a Greeting Card Designer, but I soon realised I was missing the development and constant learning of being in education and so I was after a new challenge. I have always loved jewellery, but I am very fussy by nature and struggled to find pieces to go with the minimal yet quietly playful style I love. So I set about making a range of my own. I read books, watched videos and experimented. I bought the basic equipment & had a go. I got the silversmithing bug!
SO, THIS IS HOW YOUR BRAND JUST MONO STARTED?
Yes, Just MONO started from a love of learning and playing around with new materials. I taught myself all about the process of making jewellery and I initially created a range of jewellery just for myself that complimented my personal style. People soon started asking me where they could get my designs and so I decided to set up the brand. I feel Just MONO is as much about the minimal geometric aesthetics, as it is about the process. The journey so far has seen me express my aesthetics and style through jewellery, but I love learning new processes and I hope to develop my skills further and work on different products in the future.
TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOU…
I was born near Manchester, in the UK. Growing up with a big city on my doorstep was great, there was a fantastic arts scene with lots of exhibitions taking place all the time. Throughout my education, I struggled with the more academic subjects, whereas creative subjects came to me naturally. I went to a college with great arts facilities, which inspired me to push for a career in design. At that time pattern and print interested me the most, and to get the best education in this at degree level I moved to Leeds to attend Leeds Arts University.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I find visiting new places very inspirational. All the different cultures, the fashions and styles that go with them really interest me. I also find architecture very inspirational, particularly Brutalist style buildings. My most favourite that I have visited recently is the Barbican Centre in London. I love all the clean lines and shapes.
WHAT IS YOUR BRAND’S MOTTO?
Simple, quiet & playful design to inspire happiness.
EXCEPT FOR JEWELLERY, WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?
When I’m not designing and making jewellery I love to take my camera out and about. I usually shoot on 35 mm film on my Nikon FE. This camera was given to when I was a teenager by my Dad, who had saved his money and bought it second hand when he was young. I love thinking about all the pictures it must have captured over the years. The slow considered process of analogue photography really appeals to me, and I like developing my own film when I get the chance.
NOW, MORE PERSONAL QUESTIONS:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
Leeds is bursting with great places to eat. Living in the city centre I am spoiled with delicious food and drink from the amazing independent businesses on my doorstep. I have such a sweet tooth, so I think my favourite would have to be a brownie from Noisette Bakehouse with a strong black coffee from North Star Roasters. Both are delicious!
YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?
My favourite music changes depending what I’m doing and what mood I am in. There’s always music playing in my home, I love the atmosphere it creates. At the moment I’m really enjoying Bonobo’s most recent album, Migration. The chilled feel is perfect for a relaxed evening of making.
A FAVOURITE BOOK?
I read more magazines at the moment. I like to know what is new. My favourites tend to be home/lifestyle magazines. I don’t subscribe to any specific ones, I like to just go and pick what interests me off the shelf. Kinfolk usually has some very interesting articles.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE LABEL IN THE FUTURE?
As well as a new jewellery collection, I’d like to develop the aesthetic of the brand and expand into other product categories, possibly ceramics. I love the challenge of learning new processes, and I think ceramics would compliment jewellery very well. I would also like to revisit my origins of print and pattern and bring that into the products too.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON SLOW-FASHION?
When choosing to shop at independent designers, you are putting money into a community, rather than a large money-focused business. Quality over quantity matches the minimal ethos of Just MONO. The customer gets a more unique and often better quality product whilst supporting a designer doing what they love. Everyone wins!
WHAT DOES MINIMALISM MEAN TO YOU?
Minimalism to me is a quiet style with so much more to it than initially meets the eye. Designs are beautifully simple and considered. It is a long-lasting wholesome approach to design and life.