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Meet: Monozygotics

Meet: Monozygotics

Monozygotics crafts handmade ethical and sustainable fashion designs in East London. Scarlet (Fashion Design and Technology, London College of Fashion, 2020) and Daisy (Fashion Media Practice and Criticism, London College of Fashion, 2020) are twins who started the company in 2021 after graduating and seeing a need in the fashion industry for a more accessible, sustainable and inclusive space. We caught up with them to find out more about their journey.

A group of modles sit at a table having dinner
  • How did your UAL experience shape your career path?

Scarlet: I had a couple of really amazing tutors in my second year who really encouraged me to take my own approach to my designing and supported me in doing things that were different or unorthodox. They helped me when I considered dropping out in the first year.

Daisy: I actually feel I didn’t make the most of my uni experience, I had a lot of personal stuff going on throughout the first few years, then covid hit! But since graduating and being in contact with the alumni and funders clubs we’ve received so much; jobs, info, just general help!

  • How did you meet and decide to collaborate?

Scarlet: We met at birth - we are twins! we didn’t even really make a decision to collaborate we just kind of did.

Daisy: Being twin sisters who both ended up using fashion as our main route of expression, it just kind of happened.

  • What does Community mean to you? 

Scarlet: Community is really important to us, we are recently finding and building our own small community of like-minded people within the industry which fills us with hope and shows you can make real meaningful connections in an industry that is known for being surface-level or forming connections purely to further your own career

Daisy: For sure community is everything. Fashion is a really cutthroat industry, it can be very selfish, very elitist, very exclusionary – and is super full of nepotism. For us, since we exist outside of that structure and are trying to forge a path doing things how we consider to be the morally ‘right’ way, it can feel a bit lonely. But slowly building our own community of people who share our goals and genuinely want to uplift each other has been great.

Three red blocks with a model posing in a black outfit
  • What kind of advice would you give current students or alumni who want to work in Fashion?

Scarlet: I don’t have a lot of advice - I have just kind of been making things up as I go and figuring it out. I guess just take every possible opportunity to learn from people because everyone has their own little tricks and tips that can be helpful. And try to focus a lot on your own confidence and building a thick skin - of course, it goes without saying nobody should treat you poorly ever, but most likely at some point someone will, and it’s important not to let it get you down or make you unhappy.  You do need to be able to take criticism and listen without taking offence, but if they are overly nasty you need to be able to not take it personally.

Daisy: That’s definitely a good tip people unfortunately will often either criticise you, let you down, or not understand what you’re doing and you really need to learn how to selectively listen to what is useful feedback and brush off anything else. Building a community of friends in the industry really helps with that. I would also say learning everything is so important – I’ve had to teach myself all kinds of things from social media strategy to filmmaking to photography, to business planning and accounting. Never miss the opportunity for a knowledge exchange!

  • What was the hardest thing about setting up your business?

Scarlet: The hardest part of setting up the business is money.  Lots of people in the industry come from money so they either can afford to fund whatever projects they want, don’t have to have multiple other side jobs, or can afford to do unpaid internships for experience or have time off work where they can network. It’s a struggle for us in this area.

Daisy: 100% what she said. Only 16% of people in the creative industry are working class. Getting a job in fashion totally relies on you having the privilege to attend a good uni, the financial stability to intern for free for years, the ability to fund your own projects (or be willing to exploit other people to do them for free for you) and having the time to focus on your work without working another full-time job. If you aren’t in that position the burnout is almost continuous. And since we aspire to be as ethical as possible this almost gets in the way sometimes. Some other brands who also don’t have huge financial backing get their feet off the ground by recruiting tens of unpaid interns, stylists, photographers, basically a whole unpaid, full-time team. We just aren’t going to do that. Now and then we do collaborations with friends and people who actually need the experience but making a whole skilled team work for us for free would be wild. That’s definitely slowed down our growth but hey – we’re still growing!

  • What are the benefits of being a duo?

Scarlet: The benefits of being a duo are that in terms of work, we have very complementary skills so we can really do it all - I have design and sewing skills, while Daisy literally can do EVERYTHING else - creative director, photography, social media, writing, organising shoots. So that is very useful if it was just me I’d just be making clothes alone in my room that nobody would ever see. I think it is also good for our mental health; we have someone to voice ideas off, to rant to or ask for help, and to tell us when we need to take a break or that it’s ok to go home and chill for a bit.

Daisy: Yeah I think it being two of us is lucky. I’ve spoken to other solo founders who struggle to stay on top of the different sides of the business, the marketing, media and the designs. We’re lucky that we can split those workloads. I think creativity grows so much when you get to bounce ideas off another person, not just work in a bubble – we definitely hype each other up and inspire each other, and also can comfort each other or let the other person know when its okay to rest, to feel disappointed, or whatever they are feeling.

A model in a striking blue suit gazes off into the distance
  • How would you describe the experience of building your own business as a person with disabilities?

Daisy: Of course, there are some struggles, I have an invisible disability so I spend a lot of my time having to loudly explain to people why I can’t do something in front of a room of people, and there’s always this nagging feeling that they don’t believe me – which sucks. I have to take days off sometimes or stop a project and that stresses me out. I’m lucky to have a partner that totally understands and has my back no matter what I need, and being my own boss I am able to do what I need. So personally it has been okay – in other jobs I have had discrimination but that’s why Monozygotics focuses so much on being a safe space – I don’t want other people dealing with that. I will say that being a disabled person working specifically in fashion makes me so angry on a daily basis. Representation almost doesn’t exist, no one ever spares any kind of thought for accessibility. Even things as simple as just letting you know beforehand if a venue is wheelchair accessible, or has seating, or has flashing lights or whatever people just don’t even think to do it because the fashion industry is just a space that is not for and never has been for disabled people.

Scarlet: I don’t really have an answer as I’m not disabled. But it’s very eye-opening seeing the extra considerations that Daisy (and other people with disabilities that we have worked with) has to take every time we do anything or go anywhere. And it shows how important it is for us to consider, and how often it’s overlooked.

  • How do you feel your brand is connected to the Queer community?

Scarlet: I think mainly our focus is on the expression of individuality and the desire to make everyone feel good in their clothing and bodies. This is something that resonates with the queer community, all our morals intersect. There are also physical things such as making unisex clothing, and custom clothing which means we can create clothes for any gender or expression.

Daisy: For sure I think for one being a queer founder means it’s a world that I care deeply about, also working in alternative fashion, or even fashion in general actually,  so many of our trends and styles and innovations have come from the queer community and we love to celebrate that heritage. Then, as Scarlet said, we design for people who aren’t trying to fit into stereotypes or outdated gender norms in terms of fashion – and we are very outspoken about it!

  • What achievement are you most proud of since starting your own business?

Daisy:  It’s hard to say, honestly I don’t think we actually give ourselves much time to sit on our laurels and feel proud. However thinking about it I’m just proud of everything – every item that a customer tells us they love, every time someone messages us saying they appreciate what we’re trying to do, those moments of being seen and knowing that we’re catering to someone who needs us make me prouder than any celebrity customers or big sales.

You can follow the work and story of Monozygotics on their website and Instagram.