Young, hype and fanatic… Welcome to MONKI
A sky of glowing clouds, a rotating turbine flower display and a shoeheaven carousel are part of a story told by MONKI, Swedish fashion brand, through their first store in Kuwait at The Avenues Mall. Established in Sweden in 2006, Monki’s aim is to empower young women everywhere to express and feel great about themselves. The new store will adopt the Monki World concept, leading customers into a fantasy universe that has inspired all stores worldwide.
“Kuwait is a new and exciting market for us,” says Lea Rytz Goldman, Managing Director for Monki. “We look forward to seeing how fashion-lovers here will make Monki part of their style!”
We had the chance to have a quick one-on-one with the creative minds behind this uniquely introduced brand and architect Catharina Frankander to get a glimpse of this fanatical world of Monki.
KINGDOME: How did the concept of Monki start?
We started Monki simply because there was no Monki. We believed we could do anything, even create a world of our own: a fashion brand with a personal approach to style that would empower young women. Monki was first launched in Sweden in 2006, but was not created with the Swedish market in mind. We knew right from the start that we wanted to become a global fashion brand.
When first launched, the stores truly stood out on the retail scene and got maximum attention in a very short time. Less than two years after launch, the company was acquired by H&M and Monki started opening stores worldwide. Today we have 120 stores in 15 markets.
KINGDOME: What is Monki bringing to the market that’s different and new?
Monki is a storytelling brand offering great fashion, aiming to be kind to the world and empowering the young women in it. We want our customers to feel confident, strong and inspired. We use our platform on the high street to bring issues central to young women into the limelight.
The most important part of our concept is our girls. Monki is a community of fun-loving, value-driven women. We get inspiration from our community and in turn we inspire them. Our community ‘#monkistyle’ is showcasing our customers’ sense of style from all over the world. Also, the stores’ staff embody the individualistic and brave spirit of Monki, while the vibrant and friendly communication guides the way with empowering messages.
KINGDOME: Your stores are based on storytelling, what are the elements of inspiration in your story?
Our interiors and windows are all inspired by the idea of a parallel universe, the Monki World. When you enter a Monki store, you step into a part of the enchanted Monki World. Every floor rack, chandelier and price sign is designed as an integral piece of the Monki World story, to inspire and excite our snap-happy customers.
The world is constantly evolving, gradually becoming an omniverse. Through creative workshops, we are constantly exploring new places with different moods, stories, colors and [alternative] languages. The Knotted Jungle, The Onion City in the Clouds, the Midnight Desert and Rosehip River in the Fields are places we are currently obsessed with.
The Monki World store experience is a collection of exciting destinations inspired by the Monki World, taken from a smorgasbord that we constantly re-design and add new features to. The store design is therefore constantly evolving with each store, with the customer experience always in mind.
KINGDOME: For Kuwait’s store, how did the local culture inspire you? Or what influences from the local culture will you be implementing in your storytelling?
Monki’s interior world is inspired by youth novels, brilliant songs, theatre, quirkiness in nature, mesmerizing art installations, and fun Youtube clips. We also get inspiration from our community and in turn we inspire them. Our design is global, and wherever we go, we pick up influences that we sample and add to our store experience. We are super inspired by Kuwait and the Middle Eastern region. The burning sunrise, the sunset and the nightscapes. The water reservoirs, towers, ornaments and fractal geometry are all destined to be implemented in our storytelling.
KINGDOME: How did the story of Catharina Frankander and Monki start?
Catharina Frankander: Fresh out of architecture school in London, I had just founded my own design agency in Stockholm when I got to know Monki’s founders. We started with a gigantic paper where we together sketched out the first map of the Monki world. We were both start-ups companies, all of us willing to work around the clock to make visionary ideas come to life.
When H&M acquired Monki in 2008, I joined full-time to support the global expansion. Working inside Monki, I have found an exciting platform; a perfect match for my restless creativity, endless search for the newer or better and a love for action.
Monki’s foray into the Middle Eastern market will be in partnership with leading international retail franchise operator M.H. Alshaya Co.W.L.L. The 400 m2 large concept store will be located in The Avenues and customers are invited to take part in the Monki story by showing their own unique style through #monkikuwait.