JMVB Fashion is a local fashion label born out of 2 lifetimes of experience, a passion for quality fashion and a fierce sense of independence. Founders, Jain and Monet, met while studying fashion design at the Technicon of Natal back in the 90’s, “the only place you studied if you took fashion seriously.” They became fast friends and co-conspirators. Although their paths diverged, ending up on separate continents for a while, their friendship endured. When they again reconnected in SA, it was natural that their shared love and appreciation for understated style and quality garments would lead to a fashion label of their own.
We sat and chatted to Monet and Jain about their journey, what drives them and what they hope for the future of fashion in SA.
BEFORE JMVB FASHION– THE EARLY YEARS
Jain and Monet’s love for fashion started at a very young age. Monet was creating capsule collections for her dolls at the age of 5. At the age of 6 she recalls her mother wearing “a super glamorous boob-tube blouson stretch lurex knit dress (it was the 80s, ok) when my dad took her (mom) to a work function. She looked like Princess Diana. She literally stopped traffic!” This sealed her desire to create garments “that make women feel gorgeous” and hence, to pursue a career in fashion. She started her journey at the Durban Central Technical College with a 2-year course in Clothing Production before studying fashion design, and meeting her BFF and business partner, Jain.
While Monet focused on design and the production of beautiful garments, Jain “diversified”. After graduating with Monet, she spent time in clothing manufacture. She then moved on to buying and merchandising for a major local retailer, before heading off into marketing. This led to her studying inter alia, multimedia authoring, an IMM marketing degree and her own multimedia business. Finally, Jain invited Monet to join her in Joburg where they embarked on a Social Development program with Sibanye Mines to do a skills development program in Westenaria. This led to their building their own CMT (Cut Make Trim) business producing clothing for other designers.
After spending years building a successful CMT business, Monet and Jain finally took a step back to realise their own dream. To create a fashion label and collection that reflected their personal design aesthetic and personality. Thus, JMVB Fashion was finally born to produce a limited quantity of timelessly stylish, beautifully crafted garments for all women, all made right here in SA. Says Monet, “I have never been happier and honestly feel like I am living my best life right now. AW19 is our second winter collection and we feel that we have really found our sartorial style and that makes us very happy!”
Q&A WITH JMVB
What’s your design motto?
Monet: We aim to build (complete) wardrobes for women, adding classic and statement pieces over time to create ageless, elegant private collections. We design beautiful staples as well as pieces with pizzazz, each made from quality, long-lasting fabrics. Most importantly, we do not mass produce…so exclusivity is always guaranteed. When a JMVB woman feels gorgeous and confident we know we have achieved success. The JMVB woman is not of a certain age… She is simply a woman!
Jain: Not everything has to be avant-garde. Most women want to feel good and look good. That is entirely possible with simple, well cut and crafted garments that always flatter the female form.
What inspires you to create?
Monet: I get inspired by fabrics, but mostly I must say that our mothers and our friends inspire me the most.
Jain: Allll the fabrics!
Who or what is your greatest fashion inspiration?
Monet: Coco Chanel for her incredible sophistication and her arch rival Elsa Schiaparelli for her amazing use of colour and silhouettes.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Monet: Just go for it, and stop doubting yourself, you silly girl!
Jain: …mostly don’t hitch yourself to someone else’s star make your own or you will just end up disappointed.
How is working in fashion different today than from when you started out?
Monet: Back in “the old days”, we didn’t have this massive instant fashion scenario. If you wanted to know what the trends were, you had to buy Vogue. Now it’s all over the place and there are a million fashion directions around. Honing in on your specific vernacular is more difficult because the fashion seduction is real.
Jain: Quality! People used to save to buy something they loved. A designer coat was something to be treasured, that lasted for seasons. People valued things more and the quality and craftsmanship was in the value.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Monet: Stop listening to other people that think they know better than you! Trust your gut.
Jain: If it was supposed to be easy everyone would do it
What in your opinions are the biggest challenges we face in the local fashion industry?
Monet: Competing with mass produced fast fashion. When making limited quantities and being dependent on the fabrics available locally but imported from China, Turkey and Italy we have tremendous difficulty competing at the price points of large manufacturers and retailers.
Jain: Educating the market about value, and that beautiful things should be treasured possessions. Buy what suits you and makes you feel beautiful as opposed to a trend.
What would you like most to see happen in the local fashion industry in the next 5 years?
We would love to see more South African designers showcased abroad. JMVB was invited to participate at Pure London last year, but with the crazy exchange rate it is impossible to build our brand locally and also showcase internationally… so maybe funding for independent designers?
SHOP JMVB FASHION ON EQUILIBRIO
JMVB Fashion has designed an Autumn/Winter collection exclusively for Equilibrio. Click here to see and shop the full collection of stylish cool weather staples. SHOP JMVB ON EQUILIBRIO
Top row left to right:
Waterfall Coat, Black – R1050
The Kate Dress, Blush Taupe – R990
Long Cardigan, Navy Melange – R790
Middle row left to right:
Zipper Sweater, Grey – R890
Melton Wrap, Neutral – R990
Pencil Pants, Navy Floral print – R950
Bottom row left to right:
High-Waisted Leggings, Black – R550
Mid-Calf Culottes, Black – R900
Cowl Neck Sweater, Milk – R790
THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST
(RELATED POSTS: Read about more SA designers featured on Equilibrio here.)