STEVE MONO AT PITTI UOMO 85: MADE FOR LIVING
Words and pictures by Jasper L
Words and pictures by Jasper L
“Steve Mono is kind of like my alter ego,” is the first thing that Gonzalo Fonseca, the founder and designer, says to me; and for the rest of our interview all that I can think about is The Importance of Being Earnest. His company - Steve Mono - makes leather goods that are perfect for weekends, day-trips, and quick getaways: if there were ever a company tailor-made for the casual Bunburyist, this is it. And there is an old-world, slightly disheveled - or perhaps elegantly dilapidated - feeling to the collection. Wildean, you could even say. The bags are unstructured, the leathers soft and supple, and more importantly, they’re foldable and scrunchable, made for tossing over a shoulder or tucking into a pocket while beating a hasty retreat.
His design process is deceptively simple: “I look for the materials I like, and after having the material I think ‘What can I do with this?” It might just be my imagination, but I think it shows. A number of options are leather or leather and textile mixes that simply fold in half and close with a strap, or bags that can be scrunched up and lifted with one hand. In my eyes, the design seems very honest - it’s easy to imagine the pattern-making process as someone simply folding bits of leather into various shapes until something clicks. And that’s not to say that the design, or the production, feels cheap. Leather goods are tricky, and there seem to more and more folks these days intent on selling “travel accessories for men” - I walked past a lot of them in January. I’m no expert, but Steve Mono stood out; it has a nice heft and a nice feel, and to add to the clout, everything is sourced and made in Spain.
These aren’t statement pieces. In fact, they’re sort of the opposite. Gonzalo describes the collection as “Pieces that grow up with you, and they live with you, and they are nicer for the living.” The Internet helpfully declares Steve Mono to be a brand inspired by the classics.That’s is a useless observation, but I can say that the bags are quotidian, and proudly so. Put a computer, a change of clothes, or your groceries in one. Stuff as much in there as you want. Throw a tote in the back of a car, on a beach towel, or in the overhead cabin of a plane. Really wedge it in there, too. These are bags you don’t need to worry about, bags that will continue to look nice no matter how horribly (well, lovingly, really - because we always abuse the pieces we love most, right?) you treat them.
I’m sure Gonzalo’s out there right now, telling someone that his name is Steve Mono and getting into all sorts of trouble in all sorts of places - Constantinople, maybe; although I hear they call it Istanbul now. If he’s not, he should be. Regardless, if you’re out Bunburying, these are goods that will happily share in your triumphs and embarrassments. I’m not sure that Gonzalo has many of the latter - he seemed pretty put together. Although I believe he told me that he previously designed rockets in some capacity, so perhaps he needed a break more than most.
For a full list of stockists and more product information, visit www.stevemono.com