April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
Co-Founders of MONTROI, Enrique Hormigo and Samir Aghera share with us how the brand embraces a cultural bridge to create connections through everyday objects.
What do the first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
EH: I usually check my phone when I’m up. I’m not sure this is the best thing to do but I like to feel connected as soon as I wake up. I usually have breakfast and work for a little from home, answer emails and organise the day ahead. I try to inculcate fitness into my morning routine, as I live close to the beach, hence, I enjoy starting my day by running there.
What inspired you to launch the brand and what is at the heart of the DNA?
EH: The project started around five years ago as a lot of people around me were inspired by the concept of being a nomad through their love for travelling. At MONTROI, we see nomadism as a cultural bridge that is an educational tool – to connect, to grow, to learn through dialogue and shared experiences. Being a nomad is ultimately leaving behind a more enlightened world for future generations. We were all nomads at one point, regardless of where we came from and going back to our roots is often essential. A nomad goes back to the essence of having less things in life, while only appreciating things that can be carried, which age well and tell stories of where they have been. Our leather goods are manufactures in Italy and Spain, our pashminas are hand-made in Kashmir and our fragrances in Grasse, France.
“Sustainability has many dimensions. For us, sustainability is not a destination but a journey.”
How has your focus on artisanal excellence helped to support building such a strong brand identity?
EH: We work closely with our artisans, as we don’t manufacture in large factories, rather in places where we know the people create with pride and care, which ultimately translates into good quality products. For instance, the production timing of one backpack is four months from the preparation of the leather, production of zippers which are made to measure, the double anti-humidity treatment, sewing and other steps which require around twenty-one experts to participate in during the manufacturing process. If we only consider the work in the workshop to manufacture the backpack it is the equivalent of two full days per bag.
Enrique Hormigo & Samir Aghera , Co-founders of MONTROI
What elements have the brand taken inspiration from?
EH: We take inspiration from nomads. People who lived nomadic lives such as Paul Bowles, Alfred Thesiger and Le Corbusier but also nomads of today. We have a pool of contributors who live like nomads and who inspire us daily. The more we travel, the more we learn from other cultures and ultimately, we make this world a better place. The world needs more nomads, more dialogue and more learning from each other.
What key lessons are you grateful for from any mentors you have had?
EH: When we started this project, we had a pool of mentors who helped us shape it. We learned how to make a beautiful project financially sustainable in, long term. We are grateful for those who helped us build both a passion project and a business at the same time. Be true to what you are – is another great piece of advice we received from one of our mentors which I will always remember.
What have been the hurdles you have experienced in your career and how did you overcome them?
EH: Some years ago, I was trapped at a job in a big luxury company, which had stability but I felt the need to do something more creative, entrepreneurial and more dynamic. We live once and I believed I still had time to create a beautiful project myself and combine my love for travelling. The transition time was challenging.
Which location has been the most inspiring in terms of travel and where is next on the list?
EH: Every year we spend time in the places where we manufacture, which include Marrakech, Jaipur, Jabal Akhdar, Bergamo, Spain and the French Riviera. It’s been more challenging this year but usually I really enjoy hopping from one place to the next. We are now working on a fantastic project in Jaipur so that’s my next trip.
What do you always pack when traveling?
EH: My iPhone, my sports equipment and my camera.
What’s the perfect gift for a host from MONTROI?
EH: We have many gifts. Now I am obsessed with the new candles and incense sticks that we just launched which I like to offer when going to someone’s place as we usually burn it and it sets the mood.
How does the brand offer a holistic approach to sustainable living?
Sustainability has many dimensions. For us, sustainability is not a destination but a journey. We may not be perfect but we work hard toward being it. We start by making products that last long and age beautifully. We encourage conscious investment in products that last as opposed to quick consumption. Also, we work in partnership with workshops and communities; we know their names, their families and their stories. We feel that it’s easier to work on these topics compared to working with big factories.
This is ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – What are you grateful for?
I am extremely grateful for the life I have and the people around me. Just by having food and water on a daily basis we already belong to the 60% lot of privileged people on earth. In addition, I’m in good health, comfort, while being surrounded by family and friends who I love and I love my work too, which I’m so grateful about.
For more information regarding the brand or to make a purchase visit montroi.com
April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram