Hej, Monika Knutsson.
Monika Knutsson left her job at the fashion giant Isabel Marant in Paris, to start her own fashion company in New York. Today, she visits flea markets around the world in the hunt for vintage lace pieces which she turns into jewelry.
Last time you had an exhibit was in September. What's new since then?
Oh many things. We started to plan the exhibit already in October, because the larger pieces require two months' preparation.
I'm very satisfied with a silk blouse from the 1930s with lace on top. From the first moment I knew it would be perfect as a lamp. I like using something that you normally not use for lamps. Another favorite is a bracelet, which is made of lace that was used for King George VI's coronation.
It seems like history is very important for you?
It’s very important. I don’t use new lace. Each jewelry I make comes with a story—where the lace came from and what it was used for.
You left the medical industry and turned to fashion. How did that happen?
I worked with medical marketing research in Philadelphia, and everything went really smooth. But since I wanted more creativity in life, I signed up for an evening class in fashion design. My teacher saw my potential and convinced me to quit my job. I began to study fashion and a year after I moved to Paris, where I worked for Isabel Marant for several years. She was doing a lot of lace pieces, so that’s how my love for lace began.
What’s the hardest part of your work?
One thing is for sure: It’s not coming up with new ideas. I almost have too many ideas. However, it’s definitely the production part. Everything is handmade, no pattern exists. Especially if you get large orders at once it’s hard to get it made in time. Now for the first time, I have a production assistant, which helps a lot.
Where do you find the lace?
I do a lot of research. Running around at flea markets in Europe and here in New York. I think it’s a great asset that I get inspiration from different places, and am not just focused on Sweden or America.
How does it feel to be in New York?
New York has been great, especially in terms of embracing a new brand. People are curious and willing to try new things. PR-agencies and the media are concentrating here, which makes New York a good place to start out.
You lived in Paris for almost 10 years. Which city do you prefer—Paris or New York?
I would have a hard time choosing between Paris and New York. They are such different cities for different moods—Paris for the elegant nostalgic and New York for the creative fun-loving. Since I have both sides, I love both cities. But I have to say that I am really enjoying New York City and its people. New Yorkers are totally underrated; they are amazingly talented, caring and fun!
From Jönköping/ Lives in New York / Fashion Designer/ Arrived three years ago
Find out more, see Monika Knutsson's favorite spots in New York
... smultronställen in New York
watch Monika Knutsson explain her art :
Text: Hanna Aqvilin