10 Minutes With: Stefanï Grosse of Monreal London
April 21, 2016
The world of activewear has evolved into an industry of its own. Designers from all backgrounds are beginning to incorporate athleisure and loungewear styles into seasonal collections, while others are creating standalone athleticwear lines. We sat down with the founder of Monreal London, Stefanï Grosse, to dive into this fashion movement, talk trends, and hear what the future holds for the brand.
Neiman Marcus: Tell us about the origin of Monreal London and how it morphed into what the brand is today.
Stefanï Grosse: From a fashion style-conscious perspective, I was never fond of the clothes I played in. Convinced that I could create something that is as functional as it is flattering and alluring, I founded Monreal London. I have a great passion for tennis and also fashion. My upbringing allowed me to pursue both—my father worked in the sports industry and my mother in the fashion industry. Combining these two worlds into one seemed very natural, and the obvious thing to do, and that is how Monreal came to live in 2012!
NM: Describe the Monreal woman.
SG: Monreal is a brand designed for women who care as much about style as they do about scoring. Fitness is a key part in their fast-paced lifestyles, and they don’t want to be short-changed on either fashion or performance when it comes to exercise. They want luxurious, versatile athleticwear that crosses over into their everyday lives—looking cool during and after sport.
NM: Monreal focuses specifically on the fusion between function and fashion in activewear. Why do you believe style is important on the court or in the gym?
SG: Sport is an important aspect in most people’s lives, and there is no reason why it should be treated differently than formalwear or eveningwear. Activewear is becoming more fashionable because women who usually pay a lot of attention to their appearance and spend a fair bit of money on their fashion do have the desire to look great—no matter what they do. Gyms, sports clubs, and country clubs also serve as social platforms where people meet, do sport, and generally spend quite a lot of time—similar to restaurants and cafes. Of course, there is the great importance of functionality—sports clothes need to be functional, durable, and comfortable!
NM: Tell us more about the use of hydrophilic technology in your collection.
SG: Hydrophilic technology is essential for high-performance sportswear. It absorbs moisture from the skin and quickly transports it to the fabric’s surface, allowing constant evaporation and producing a cooling and drying effect on the skin.
NM: You incorporate a dynamic two-way stretch into your pieces. How is this detail beneficial to the wearer?
SG: We use two-way stretch fabrics for our high-performance pieces as it ensures the garments always hold their shape whilst still allowing maximum movement and flexibility for the wearer.
NM: Tell us more about your latest collections “Laguna” and “Curacao.”
SG: The inspiration for the Curacao Collection came from the tropical island paradise of Curaçao in the Caribbean, with its verdant jungles, blue lagoons, clear waterfalls, and hot-hued wildlife. This was translated through to the bright, bold color palette with flashes of neon and reflective silver.
The Laguna Collection was inspired by California sunsets and the clean, active lifestyle that Laguna Beach residents embrace. Their dedication to sport and fitness informed a collection that answers the call for sleek activewear that performs as effortlessly as it looks. Collection highlights include feminine scalloped-edge hems, colorblock details, and the introduction of loungewear pieces.
NM: The layering of sports mesh is found in the majority of your pieces. Why is this fabric one of the most popular among the collections?
SG: It has become a signature feature in our collections and is a nod to the traditional use of sports mesh, but instead used in a fashionable way as a detail or contrasting color layer.
NM: Let’s talk accessories. What’s one accessory from your latest collection that every woman needs?
SG: From this collection, definitely the Warrior Bag. It’s the perfect athleisure bag that is versatile enough to take you from the gym to the office to drinks.
NM: What does the future hold for the activewear market as a whole?
SG: There is definitely a movement in the health and fitness sector—people are becoming more aware of what they eat and how active they are. In terms of activewear, I think there is still a lot to be done as it relates to fashionable performance wear, and I hope that Monreal can fill this need in the future. This is no longer a trend—it’s a lifestyle.
NM: What can we expect to see in the next Monreal London collection?
SG: We are working on expanding our product offering from loungewear to accessories and introducing new categories such as swimwear. There will be some surprises in the future!
Stay stylish in the gym and on the court. Shop the Monreal London collection at Neiman Marcus.