Monika Young was working as a fashion buyer in Berlin when she realised that she was part of the problem — and that was a big no-no for her.
Seeing first-hand how fast fashion was destroying our planet, she wanted to look great, sure, but she wanted to do so sustainably. And thus her small, independent brand, Monika The Label was born. Fusing 70s era Cali cool and East London grunge, Monika’s vintage-inspired collections include cute, printed slip dresses and bandanas in an array of sunset-inspired tones. You don’t need to feel bad for purchasing them either: Monika The Label believes in limited runs, which make the most of local manufacturers, eco-friendly fabrics and recyclable packaging.
HUNGER caught up with the designer about her night-time routine, and how she unwinds after a busy day of being a small business owner…
Sum up what you do in five words?
Fashion designer and independent brand owner!
What was the inspiration behind Monika the Label?
Monika The Label was born out of a desire to make sustainable fashion for wild-hearted women who want to find cool clothes whilst making eco-friendly choices. Starting a brand has always been something I wanted to do and previous to MTL, I worked in fast fashion buying out in Berlin and saw first-hand the negative impact that the industry has on the planet — I didn’t want to be part of the problem any longer. Driven by my love of California cool and East London grunge, I decided to move back home and create a slow fashion brand with collections (all made in the UK) that are designed to be centre stage in wardrobes for years to come.
What’s your favourite thing about designing womenswear?
I like to think the Label is an extension of my own personal style and I’ve basically created my dream wardrobe. So it’s absolutely incredible seeing thousands of women across the globe loving it just as much as me.
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you love your sleep?
10! I’m cranky as hell without a good night’s sleep.
What time would you ideally like to go to bed, as opposed to what time you really end up in bed?
I used to be a bit of a night owl and go to bed at around 1 am. But since living with my boyfriend Nat, who wakes up at 6 am for work, I’ve ended up mirroring his sleep pattern! So now I fall asleep most days around the 11 pm mark. But this change has definitely done me a lot of good!
What’s your usual reason for going to bed late? Work… scrolling through Instagram?
Tik Tok, 100%! I’ll end up scrolling for a short while after my boyfriend falls asleep.
What side of the bed do you sleep on?
I always and forever sleep on the left-hand side
What kind of sleeping position do you normally find yourself in?
Fetal, on my side, cuddling up with a small memory foam pillow.
What is your bed setup?
My setup is quite simple, soft cotton sheets in a dusty pink colour and loads of pillows!
Light sleeper or heavy sleeper?
In the middle!
Morning bird or night owl?
Again, in the middle!
Running a small business can be hard! How do you unwind before bed?
After eating I’ll always have a cup of tea and change into a big oversized, comfy tee. Then I’ll get ready for bed, brush my teeth and take a moment in the bathroom to do my nighttime facial routine, normally while listening to some music or a podcast. Afterwards, my boyfriend and I like to watch a couple of episodes of something in bed (at the moment it’s The Simpsons!) before drifting off to sleep.
Do you read before bed? If so, what can’t you get enough of at the moment?
Every so often I will, but to be honest I’m more of a morning reader! At the moment I’m reading LA Woman by Eve Babitz. I didn’t know too much about Babitz before someone recommended the book as they knew how obsessed I am with California and the 70s. But I’m really enjoying it and the book is certainly fueling my love affair with Los Angeles even more now!
What products/items are on your bedside table
There wasn’t any room for an actual bedside table on my side of the bed as I have a vintage rattan chair next to me! But on it, there is normally my book for the morning, Vaseline and headphones.
What’s the weirdest thing next to your bed?
Probably not too weird but I have this big fake plant that belongs to my landlord. I managed to fit in the corner on my side of the bed next to the chair and some of its branches like to loom over me at night.
Do you sleep with your phone next to you?
Yes I do, I wish I didn’t and I’m trying hard not to jump on it first thing in the morning but I can’t resist! Something to work on this year…
What can’t you go to sleep without doing?
Check all the switches are turned off.
Do you always take off your makeup before sleeping?
I used to be so guilty for years for not doing this but now I swear by always taking my make-up off before bed. I feel so gross otherwise. Love getting into bed feeling fresh-faced.
Favourite way to remove your makeup?
I swear by Emma Hardie’s Cleansing Balm. A bit on the spenny side, but totally worth it. It’s like a mini spa treatment in a pot and melts makeup off beautifully.
How does your nighttime routine change on Friday / the weekend?
At the weekend I’ll take a bit more extra time, maybe apply a face mask (I’ve been using the Organic Botanics Clay and Seaweed mask for years) and massage my face with a Gua Sha stone to de-puff after a long week!
Can you walk me through your nighttime skincare routine?
So I use micellar water to remove my eye makeup first, then I’ll apply the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. I love removing it with a warm soaked towel for a couple of minutes.
Then from here, I follow a similar routine to my mum actually! She introduced me to most of these products while growing up and I still use them now. I’ll apply the Dr Organic Rose Otto Toner and then I’ll apply a mix of three different oils – Retinol, Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil and Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Or I switch out the oils for the Drunk Elephant’s Potini Polypeptide Cream every so often!
Favourite products to use before bed?
I love using Aesop’s Resurrection Hand Balm before bed so I can smell the citrus & woody scent of it as I drift off to sleep, and a slather of Cocoa Butter Vaseline on my lips.
What do you do if you can’t sleep?
Thankfully I don’t struggle too much with my sleep anymore but if I‘m kept up due to being anxious or overthinking about the business, I’ll pop in my headphones and listen to some music or go make a tea.