After launching her first clothing collection this past March, Ana Gutierrez, founder of Vancouver-based La Monarch, released a leisurewear line inspired by quarantine and our new work-from-home lifestyle. To say that the resulting convertible sweatshirt ($120) and joggers ($95) were a hit is an understatement: they near-sold out in just two weeks! We chatted with Ana about the La Monarch range, and what sneak-peek pieces she’s planning to add to the line. —Vita Daily
Hi Ana! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m the founder and designer of La Monarch, a Vancouver-based fashion brand. I’ve been working in the industry for over 15 years, with fashion jobs in Mexico, New York, Milan and Vancouver, and currently I’m studying fashion law; I finish the certificate this month! I basically work all day, every day, designing and developing new designs, checking production, marketing and even doing some accounting. Although I’m busy, I always make sure to give myself some “Ana Time” and I go for long walks along the seawall or around the city. I’m also a foodie on the side and love to try out any new restaurant.
When and why did you launch La Monarch? Does the name hold special meaning?
I launched La Monarch this past March—the week of the lockdown to be exact! I had always known I wanted to have my own brand and business, but, TBH, I was comfortable having a steady paycheque. Thankfully, I have a strong community around me who motivated me to finally go for it, and, well, here I am, fulfilling my lifelong dream. I grew up living between Canada and Mexico, which resembles the Monarch butterfly’s yearly migration between the two countries. Therefore the name.
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
We currently offer versatile womenswear; I design items that can be worn or styled in different ways to achieve a completely different look with just one piece. For example, the Reversible Bell Sleeve Blouse can be worn with the buttons to the front, creating a deep V-neck, or buttons to the back for a boat-neckline. Recently I launched the leisurewear collection, inspired by our current WFH situation. The sweatshirt can be styled as a crewneck or off-shoulder by using the snaps along the seams. And, just between us, there will be a new unisex style launching very soon, so keep tuned for that!
Sustainability is a big piece of the puzzle when it comes to style these days. What measures does La Monarch take to preserve the environment?
I built the company considering the best sustainable practices (within our means) advised by a sustainability specialist located in the U.S. All our fabrics are dead-stock or in-stock materials sourced from mills close to our factory, our manufacturer has excellent working conditions and care for their employees, and all our packaging and shipping materials are 100 per cent compostable! There’s still a lot of work to be done and improve on, but I believe that even the smallest efforts end up making a big impact.
How else do you give back as a brand?
I donate all our fit and production samples to Dress for Success Vancouver, an organization close to my heart; I’ve volunteered there for more than three years. It’s priceless knowing that these pieces could potentially have an impact in helping a woman in need build her career and a stronger future.
What La Monarch piece are you currently rocking on repeat?!
I’m currently living in three pieces; every day I wear The Convertible Sweatshirt and Joggers. If I have to dress up a bit, I wear the Open Vest with a pair of jeans—this piece really elevates any outfit!
Win! A Convertible Sweatshirt From La Monarch!
We have a winner! Congratulations Nicole D. of Ajax, Ontario, who will receive a Convertible Sweatshirt from La Monarch!