Saving Silk

Meet the Matakana fashion designer whose garments have a unique point of difference. 

Words Carolyn Enting. Hero image photography by Brijana Cato.



Meet Monique Jansen, the designer behind fashion brand MONNI, which you can find at her store Tea & Tonic in Matakana Village. It’s a beautiful collection cut to be classic keepsakes from silk and French seamed. Some pieces are even made from recycled silk kimonos.

For the moment Jansen is using the last 10 to 50 metres of silk left over from other designers (to cut down on waste). MONNI is also made in New Zealand and locally dyed using eco-dyes so that she knows exactly what has gone into her garments and that she is not harming any waterways. She is also working with a local jeweller who melts down sterling silver to makes the rings and slides for her pieces.

Silk worms won’t be harmed in the future production of MONNI garments. Jansen’s vision for the future is to use vegan silk, also known as peace silk, for her designs. Also an artist, Jansen plans to paint her garments after they’ve been dyed and constructed. “So you end up with a vegan museum-quality silk garment that is naturally dyed, and that then becomes an art piece,” Jansen says. “And the thing about it being naturally dyed, because you absorb things through your skin, is like taking a homeopathic remedy because of its natural medicinal properties so as well as it being your clothing it also becomes your medicine. I don’t know if you can get a more pure garment than that.”

Tea & Tonic, which Jansen co-owns with Aysha Robertson is described by Jansen as “a modern nourishing room” which also sell vitamins, candles, health supplements, skincare and tea.

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