As fresh graduates from the Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi, Teresa Laisom and Utsav Pradhan started their ironic fashion label munkee.see.munkee.doo in 2009. Since then, the innovative duo has uncovered exciting ways to interpret contrasting themes through fashion. Just take a look at “An Asian Living in Europe,” their recent show at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014. Japanese modern art is melded with contemporary European style and imposed onto cleanly tailored separates. It’s sporty meets elegant, modern meets minimalist, and masculine meets feminine all aroused by striking color and detail. Find out more about the designers behind munkee.see.munkee.doo in this exclusive interview.
What’s the philosophy behind munkee.see.munkee.doo and its unique name?
The name munkee.see.munkee.doo comes from the American phrase ‘monkey see, monkey do’, which basically is an act of mimicry, usually with limited knowledge or consequences. We thought it would be interesting for a fashion label to have a name that lingers on irony.
Tell me about your partnership. How did you meet and decide to work together? Which strengths does each of you bring to the table?
We met while pursuing our college degree at Pearl Academy of Fashion, New Delhi. We are two individuals who are total opposites with extremely different views. With the two of us debating every issue, more often than not, we end up doing things which aren’t too familiar. We suppose that is what makes things interesting and keeps us going.
There are several thoughtful contrasts in your designs like masculine/feminine, old/new, refined/rebellious, and Asian/European. What attracts you to telling this type of story?
‘Opposites attract’ – this one concept is what starts off any munkee.see.munkee.doo collection. This idea begins with the two of us being so different from each other, and working things out. Well, at least so far. The munkee.see.munkee.doo woman is relatively the same every season. ‘Rules’ don’t apply to her. She evolves with time and she is always in the know of things.
Explain your design process. How long did it take for you to conceptualize, create and refine your fall 2014 collection before it was revealed?
Well, it took us about four months to complete the fall ’14 collection from start to finish. The process for most of our collections starts with a feeling, a song, lyrics (music influences a large part of our designs) or a minute detail we may have observed somewhere. Then the brainstorming session begins, which may last for days. During this session, both of us suggest ideas on that particular topic until we come to the conclusion that the concept or direction is feasible enough to be executed to form a collection. That is basically how we work.
Describe the excitement of showing at Lakme Fashion Week. Can you compare the experience of your first time to your most recent runway show there?
Lakme Fashion Week has been very supportive of us and what we do. The IMG team is so cooperative and fun to work with. It is a great platform to showcase fresh talents in fashion. Everytime we show, we experience something new and it is all a learning process for us. We are always as excited and nervous as our first runway show there.
What would you tell designers hoping to showcase at Lakme Fashion Week about how to prepare for the experience?
Stick to your aesthetics. Execute it to the best of your ability. And most importantly, have fun while doing it.
If you could choose anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would you love to dress?
What inspirations are you researching for your next collection?
Can’t get enough of munkee.see.munkee.doo? Shop their collection at Pernia’s Pop-up Shop and Indelust. And expect their next collection, featuring “guns”, at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2014 on March 20th in Mumbai.