Eli Mizrahi, founder of Mônot, is known for designing daring clean-cut silhouettes seen on red -carpets and starlets such as Hailee Bieber, Gisele and Gigi Hadid.

In this exclusive interview, we speak to the Lebanese-American Designer on what it takes to build a brave yet successful brand.

What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like?

I am an early bird and usually awake by 4am. I prioritize my morning walks, which is the only time I enjoy the city; as it is peaceful and quiet

How did your previous roles support you in being able to launch your own brand and how did you know it was the right time?

I have been in the industry for a while as a consultant to various brands and through that work, I got to learn the ins and outs of how a brand should operate at a base level. I’ve been so lucky to receive the support of so many in the industry, from stylists to models.

Was it challenging to find the right production and how have you had to adapt as the brand has scaled?

It was challenging, but it took much trial and error. I’ve learned that, understandably so, when you first start out, not many people want to take a chance on you. But I believed everything happens for a reason and it landed me where I needed to be.

How do you balance the creative and commercial sides of the business, and do you feel more drawn to one than the other?

The design aspect will reign most important first and foremost, the aim is always to create designs that are captivating and that I can stand behind. Retailers have been very vocal about supporting the brand. Mônot designs are desirable for the top retailers in the world and I would hope to continue this trajectory of establishing and maintaining great sales relationships.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MÔNOT (@monotofficial)

How many people are in your team now and did you start out alone?

I did start out alone, but as of now, it is a small team of seven. The team includes myself, two sales reps, an assistant, a CFO, a lead pattern maker, and a seamstress.

What have been the biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?

The learning curve was steep and I am still learning every day, what goes into running a functioning luxury clothing brand in today’s market. Finding the right factory that can bring my designs to life on a full operational scale has been a challenge. I still visit my factories on a seasonal basis to see that everything is working the way it should be, and in the past, I’ve had to switch and test out many different factories.

How have you found social media in terms of supporting your brand’s growth?

I am not a huge fan of social media when it comes to my personal, but social media plays a huge role in the business. It builds brand awareness by exposing the brand to millions of people all around the world.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by MÔNOT (@monotofficial)

Your cut-out designs are incredible. Where did this DNA originate from and do you look to your Lebanese heritage for inspiration?

I have a love for architecture; Santiago Calatrava, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid are some of my favourites. I try to incorporate architecture into my designs, which can be seen in my work of cutouts. As well as the female form, which helped in the making of the cutouts.

How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?

Research is very important. I moved my production to Beirut, to a small artisanal atelier; as I wanted to support people in my country; but also realized that their drive isn’t money; as this is their passion to make beautiful clothes.

Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what knowledge did they impart?

Carine Roitfeld has been an amazing mentor since day one. She has been a friend and a huge supporter. As an emerging designer, I am able to say that she styled my first fashion show and first campaign, and I am truly grateful for her.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Always take risks, as it can lead to something great. Also always believe in yourself.

This is for the October Pioneer Issue – what does this mean to you?

A pioneer is a leader, who exudes strength and is able to take risks.

– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram

Images: Supplied