When I was growing up in Paris, I was always warned that walking around town with sportswear on could be ‘risky' for young black men. Now I'm grateful I have a chance to design the minimalist, ethical sportswear clothes I wish I could wear then.
My name is Pierre-Yves Monnerville, founder of the Monnerville brand. When I was growing up in Paris, I was always warned that walking around town with sportswear on could be ‘risky' for young black men. The risk was being stopped by the police and asked for an ID, not being shot... Being asked for an ID is traumatic enough, though.
Now I'm grateful I have a chance to design the minimalist and ethical sportswear clothes I wish I could wear then. Also, thankfully we're slowly starting to move away from those issues and wearing sportswear is no longer a problem. We're at a time when it's okay to work in comfortable, sportswear inspired clothes, especially when we don't need to go to the office as often as we used to.
The reason I'm focusing on minimalist basics is because I believe we all need to consume less, but much better quality. Smart and comfortable enough to work from home in yet stylish enough for a night out at your favourite bar.
MINIMALIST ATHLEISURE BASICS
The unfathomable change we've been experiencing led me to launch the brand Monnerville and design a range of minimalist and premium ethical athleisure style menswear. The reason I'm focusing on basics is because, as a minimalist, I believe we all need to consume less, but much better quality. In my opinion, the best way to achieve this is to make clothes that you'll love wearing time and time again. Smart and comfortable enough to work from home in yet stylish enough for a night out at your favourite bar.
ETHICS & SUSTAINABILITY
I used to volunteer as a medic for the French Red Cross in my late teens and early twenties. We were mainly called for traffic accidents or people falling ill at home. We covered France’s richest areas but also some of the roughest ones. I quickly realised that when $h!t hits the fan, regardless of social class, ethnicity or culture, we’re all the same. We all bleed the same. We’re all scared of pain and death. We also want our loved ones to be safe, obviously. I'm grateful I understood this so early because it’s informed so many decisions in my life and business. Despite appearances, we have a lot more in common than differences. That's why it's so important for me to provide employment to a local community with amazing skills and passion. Just like I want a good life for myself and my loved ones, we're all somebody's loved one.
Despite appearances, we have a lot more in common than differences. That's why it's so important for me to provide employment to a local community with amazing skills and passion.
I've always been interested in protecting the environment. There was a massive shift in 2013, however. After my mother's death and a divorce, I found myself needing time and space to grieve and think. So what better way than an ayahuasca retreat I thought. Next thing I knew, I was on my way to the Peruvian side of the Amazon jungle... To cut a very long story short, it completely changed my life and this is when I became so psycho about sustainability!
I realised for the first time that humans and nature don't coexist. We are nature. As cheesy as this might sound, we are one single entity living on the same planet, breathing the same polluted air, etc. Everything and everyone is connected... This is what drove me to want to make the least impact possible that I could on this planet! Now you know why Urban Jersey is made in London with organic cotton and in small runs in order to avoid wastage.
My goal is to lead by example and prove that businesses can thrive without wrecking the planet.
I spent a lot of time alone as a child. Music always offered me escapism as I dreamt of being a designer. I'd like to share with you some of the songs that helped and inspired me then and now.