Redrawing geopolitical and gender lines is a task not for the faint of heart. Sonya Monina is “a girl with a male character“. She credits her own masculinity for the success of her menswear line. When I saw the brand three years ago, the Crimean designer was caught in between the proverbial rock and a hard place of Moscow and Kiev. She now runs a studio in Ukraine’s capital and shows at Ukrainian Fashion Week. I owe Monina a shopping spree and an apology for my misguided yet pun-tastic annexation jokes. Maturity is non-linear.
For the spring-summer ’19 collection Sonya Monina turned to fashion education. She wanted to teach (white) men how to get better at making bolder style choices. An honorable mission, especially within a post-Soviet cultural context where matching buttons and kerchief on a jacket might already qualify as rocking that hetero-boat. She challenges the comfort zone boundaries with softer edges, asymmetrical hemlines, mixed textures and color options just a fraction of a gradient removed from gentlemen’s classics. But nothing too much, out of sorts, above and beyond: fashion (r)evolution at a glacial pace. AND I LOVE IT. I love designers coming into their own. In 2015, she described her style as “neo-universe and urban-cosmic casual.” Mmmkay. Today, the brand’s mission is “balance between restrictions and absolute freedom.” Maturity is non-linear.
At a decent price point, these looks aren’t #wishlist, but actionable items! Lesson learned.