Phil Wildbore: Founder of Monkee Genes
I've discovered a new ethical denim brand that I'm simply smitten with. Monkee Genes is based in the UK and makes a wide selection of jeans for both men and women. I appreciate that they make more unique styles in addition to traditional skinny jeans etc. It's such an honor to introduce you to Phil - founder, owner, and designer at Monkee Genes...
Share a little of your personal background
Even as a kid I was aware, very aware, of wishing to have a definite style. I would hound my mum to buy a pair of oxblood como’s rather than the black ones which every other kid had.
What was your inspiration for Monkee Genes?
Corporate had taken over, I wanted to make a statement with both something individual as well promoting a movement towards ethics and sustainability that wasn’t tame.
Has the brand changed or evolved since you started it?
It’s always evolving and changing, that’s how the fashion industry works, you just have to keep moving.
Can you identify any major obstacles you've had to overcome in the endeavor? How did you get past them?
Price is the biggest obstacle. Competing with fast fashion and highstreet fashion is difficult, but fashion is changing, and more and more brands are waking up. Profit above people is not sustainable.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I start the day with a cup of tea, go through my emails then take Molly Moo and Bert (my dogs) for a walk which is how I plan my day and clear my head. Then I finish my early morning routine with a swim in the river.
Describe your personal style...
Hopefully relaxed, wearing whatever suits what I’m doing. I’ll probably change three times a day minimum.
Do you personally shop ethically? If so how has that influenced your daily life?
What I purchase is influenced by taste. If you want a banana you want it to taste like a banana. Buying organic is the only way to achieve this. The same goes for quality clothing.
What's been the most rewarding part of founding Monkee Genes?
Giving boxes of samples and older stock to charity shops is one of the most rewarding parts of Monkee Genes. As well as watching my youngest daughter route through my samples – desperate for something I’ve designed, that’s a great feeling.
In an ideal world, where would you like to see the brand in 5 years?
Having our own shop with our label, to help young designers to evolve their own products and bring new excitement to ethical fashion.
Here are the two styles of Monkee Genes that I've been wearing..
These wide-leg pants are breezy and moveable. I think they look best paired with heeled boots for a professional look or heeled clogs for a cool vintage vibe.
These are officially my go-to jeans. I've been wearing them multiple times each week. They only had my size available in a long version, so I've been cuffing them until I have time to get them hemmed. They're durable but flexible and don't get baggy with wear.