Today, women’s lives are complex, and sometimes, twenty-four hours a day aren’t enough. Monika Silva, the founder of Gauge 81, is well aware of this. That’s why with her brand offers clothes that adapt to their different necessities of the day to all types of women. Blurring the line between evening and casual wear, and with vintage Saint Laurent or Princess Diana as her references, the designer aims to back minimal and sexy glamour to the city.
After a decade as a knitwear maven, you decided to start Gauge 81. What made you take the step?
Initially, the brand was meant to be more knitwear-driven, but as the saying goes, the best-laid plans…often go awry – and Gauge 81 rapidly evolved into a total look brand.
But let’s go back a little bit. You’ve been working with knitwear for years, how did you first get interested in it?
I was drawn to fashion (it’s in my family) and decided it was better to focus on a single aspect of the business to learn it properly. I was particularly attracted to the craftsmanship that goes into creating knitwear – turning a cone of yarn into a garment. There is something about the complexity of the weaving process that I find fascinating.
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You say to blur the line between evening and casual wear. How do your clothes adapt to the different necessities of a women’s day?
Yes, for sure! The reality is that today, women lead complex lives and wear many hats. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day… A little daytime glamour can go a long way.
I can’t help but think about what Gauge 81 stands for. Why did you name your brand like this?
Gauge is an industry term that refers to the weight of yarn, but it also set the creative platform of playing with size and proportions. The francophone pronunciation developed somehow organically during the launching phase. 8 and 1 are very powerful numbers in numerology, their significance resonates with what the brand stands for – and for luck!
The ‘90s, Sex and the City… If you had to describe your inspiration universe in three words, what would they be?
Minimal, glamorous, sexy.
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The ‘90s were such an iconic era in fashion. What fashion figures have inspired you the most?
Vintage Saint Laurent, Miuccia Prada and as of recently, while working on a new dress capsule collection, I’ve been particularly drawn to Princess Diana’s eveningwear looks.
Because Gauge 81 offers a fresh take on contemporary and retro classics, what are your wardrobe staples? What items should every woman have in their wardrobe?
My personal wardrobe staples include menswear-inspired button-down shirts, which I find inherently sexy, and an ‘all-occasion’ black blazer. I think every woman should have both.
As a skilled person working on artisanal techniques and craftsmanship, how do you see the future of fashion as the digital world seems to be taking over?
My essence leans toward the old school. For instance, in Colombia, where I’m from, I met the most talented craftspeople you can imagine working on manual looms in underprivileged neighbourhoods– working mainly in the shadows. Now, thanks to this digital era, their work has a greater audience. There’s more global awareness of artisans because it is so much easier to find, see and purchase their work. Specifically in terms of the future of fashion, I see it evolving into a less-is-more industry.
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