Unveiling Mona Cordes: Fashion as Art, Expression, and Social Commentary

A Conversation with the Visionary Fashion Print Designer - Mona Cordes

Step into the captivating world of Mona Cordes, a talented fashion print designer whose vibrant kaleidoscopic visions blur the boundaries between art, fashion, and social consciousness. In this exclusive interview, Mona shares insights into her creative process, her commitment to storytelling through fashion, and her passion for inclusivity and community coherence. Explore the intricate process behind Mona's designs, discover her sources of inspiration, and learn how she uses fashion as a medium for raising awareness about important social issues.

Join us as we delve into the mind of a multimedia artist who defies conventions and empowers through her unique vision. Discover the fascinating journey behind Mona Cordes' creations, from the initial spark of inspiration to the meticulously crafted garments. Explore how Mona's designs provoke thought, challenge norms, and inspire individuals to embrace their own unique style. Get ready to be captivated by Mona Cordes' extraordinary artistic journey.

Stylist/ Creative director/ Producer: Mona Cordes. Stylist Assistant: Jordy. Photographer: Brontë Godden. MUA: Carolina Rojas. Hair: Christopher Byrne. Nails: Carly Lim. Muses: Yasna Delo, Tara Chandra, Nyasunday Yak

 YUGEN: Your work is characterized by vibrant multi-colored kaleidoscopic visions, which create a visually striking impact. Can you delve into the creative process behind these designs and share how you bring together diverse elements to achieve such captivating results?

Mona: My creative process is deeply rooted in my background in craft and drawing. I've been crafting since my childhood and have always doodled throughout my school years. This passion merged with my interest in styling and photography, allowing me to transform inspiration into concepts. As a teenager, I began styling my friends, exploring vintage fashion, and immersing myself in fashion magazines. I draw inspiration from visuals everywhere I go, whether it's during travel or everyday experiences. I unconsciously collect patterns and ideas, which become themes for my designs.

I'm particularly fascinated by cultural influences and draw inspiration from political and emotional subject matters. For example, I created patterns and crafted characters based on the theme of the seven deadly sins, each reflecting the characteristics of the sins. Colors convey emotions, while patterns tell stories. I love combining color and pattern to create a kaleidoscopic vision that encourages deeper reflection from my audience. I see myself not just as a clothing designer but as a multimedia artist, using storytelling and fashion as my mediums of expression.

YUGEN: How do you ensure that your messages are effectively integrated into your designs while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic and resonating with your audience?

Mona: Maintaining a cohesive aesthetic that embodies the essence of "Mona Cordes" is a priority for me. I achieve this by using vibrant colors aligned with specific themes and patterns, establishing a recognizable visual language for my brand. When sketching patterns and designs, I ensure they stay true to my unique style.

To effectively integrate my messages, I incorporate sustainability throughout my collections. I use materials like deadstock fabrics, recycled fibers, and natural dyes, aligning with my commitment to the environment. In my previous collection focused on bacteria and microorganisms, I mirrored their characteristics in patterns and silhouettes. Earthy and toned-down colors inspired by the soil further emphasized this theme. I find inspiration in the interconnected processes of our planet and bring these ideas to life through stories and characters within my fashion pieces and performances, involving the wearers, dancers, and muses.

YUGEN: Could you elaborate on your brand's socially sustainable business model and the significance of locally producing garments in London?

Mona: Sustainability, accountability, and transparency are fundamental to my brand's ethos. I strive to challenge and disrupt the current fashion systems, making fashion a positive force for our planet. All the materials I use are ecologically sourced from deadstock or repurposed fabrics. I prioritize certified fibers like GOTS and Oeko-Tex for tees and jumpers, and I opt for natural dyes in fabric dyeing. My knitwear pieces are crafted from organic cotton fibers, mohair, and 100% merino wool.

Storytelling through materials and themes is a deliberate choice in my brand. As an independent brand, I have complete control over showcasing the value and meaning behind my clothing. I incorporate ethical concepts, such as Scandinavian nature myths and the impact of bacteria and microorganisms on humans and the environment. All my production takes place in my London and Berlin studios, with some knitwear pieces made to order in Germany. I also embrace a zero-waste approach, utilizing off-cut materials for patchwork pieces like skirts and bags. Upcycling textiles is a top priority for me.

YUGEN: How do you balance the punk-esque aesthetic with refinement in your fashion designs?

Mona: I strike a balance between punk-esque aesthetics and refinement by employing high-quality production methods. I utilize advanced industrial machines and fully equipped studios with a sustainable ethos. Unlike fast fashion, I personally create each piece in my studio on a made-to-order and custom-made basis. I embrace zero-waste principles by crafting patchwork pieces from offcut materials. This approach allows me to infuse punk-inspired vibes through the mix and match of materials, colors, and patterns while ensuring the final pieces exhibit a high level of expertise and quality.

Stylist/ Creative director/ Producer: Mona Cordes. Stylist Assistant: Jordy. Photographer: Brontë Godden. MUA: Carolina Rojas. Hair: Christopher Byrne. Nails: Carly Lim. Muses: Yasna Delo, Tara Chandra, Nyasunday Yak

 YUGEN: Your brand aims to offer high-end garments that are accessible to any gender, emphasizing inclusivity and community coherence. How do you ensure that your designs cater to a diverse range of individuals while maintaining a consistent brand identity and aesthetic?

Mona: I maintain a consistent brand identity and aesthetic while embracing a diverse range of individuals through personal style and inclusive representation. My brand identity is an expression of my natural style, particularly in color and pattern choices. Instead of traditional catwalk presentations, I showcase my designs in performance settings, featuring a diverse range of muses from different genders and races. This approach makes my work accessible to a wide audience, allowing them to connect with the pieces.

While my designs may not appeal to everyone, they are created for individuals with strong character who celebrate their uniqueness. I ensure that my looks are showcased in various contexts, including queer spaces, natural settings, and commercial environments, enabling individuals to see themselves in my creations. This inclusive representation fosters a sense of community coherence around my brand.

YUGEN: Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for your brand? Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations, or initiatives that you are particularly excited about and would like to share with us?

Mona: My brand has a bright future ahead, filled with aspirations and optimism. As an emerging designer and a one-person brand, I understand the challenges of selling while funding my creative journey and livelihood. However, I take immense pride in the progress I've made and the community I've built. It's heartwarming to hear from customers who wear my pieces daily, as that connection is incredibly important to me. Moving forward, my goal is to expand my global reach and increase sales. I'm particularly excited about creating custom-made garments that are tailored to individuals' measurements and ideas. Collaboration and shared visions are key to my brand, and I look forward to dressing more musicians and exploring collaborations with other brands or fine artists. Outsiders Division is a brand I can envision collaborating with. Let's embrace the possibilities that lie ahead and trust in the path unseen.

YUGEN: As a designer who incorporates political and ecological messages into your work, how do you see the role of fashion in driving social change and raising awareness about important issues? How do you hope to inspire and empower individuals through your designs?

Mona: Transparency is key in my work as a designer to engage people on my journey. I provide explanations and insights into sustainable processes, materials, and the themes behind my pieces and collections. For example, my first collection focused on the theme of Brexit, delivering an Anti-Brexit statement. I use iconic symbolism to capture attention, like the queen's royal blue suit with a hat and yellow flowers—a powerful statement through style. It's crucial to continue raising political issues while emphasizing sustainability and transparency.

Our planet is facing urgent challenges, and I'm passionate about discussing the importance of an ecological way of living and creating, especially among younger generations. Universities should prioritize teaching and crafting in the most ecological way possible. We can't go back, and it's our collective responsibility to raise awareness and protect our planet through fashion and beyond.

YUGEN: Finally, on a personal level, what fuels your passion and creativity as a fashion print designer? Are there any specific sources of inspiration, experiences, or values that continue to shape and drive your artistic journey?

Mona: I am a highly observant individual, paying great attention to detail. My personal Instagram serves as a visual diary, capturing the intriguing things I encounter in the city, like curtains or unique benches. I believe in the beauty of serendipity and often sketch and document my surroundings while sitting in cafes or parks with friends. Traveling is a major source of inspiration for me, allowing me to escape the city and experience different cultures.

Nomadic living, meeting diverse people, and capturing moments on film are transformative experiences. Last year, I embarked on a seven-week trip to Australia, Indonesia, and French Polynesia, which was truly magical. I printed my film photos on tights, drawing inspiration from Polynesian patterns. These experiences and values continue to drive my passion and creativity as a fashion print designer.

Check out Mona Cordes collection available at our website, link bellow:


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