Welcome to 'At-Home With'...our new feature series where we (virtually) get up close and personal with some of Ireland's most interesting and creative women. They each give us an honest peek into what their "new normal" looks like–from life lessons they've learned in lockdown to the beauty and health products they've been using to self-soothe.
One of London’s most fashionable residents - actually, scratch that, THE most fashionable London resident - Monikh Dale is a stylist, WhoWhatWear contributor and shopping wiz whose fashion expertise makes her the number one source for all kinds of style inspiration, including homeware.
Starting out in the industry as a personal shopper, Monikh has since turned herself into a sought after brand through the success of her fashion blog, www.monikh.com and a dreamy Instagram account where she showcases her incredible styling and photography skills. Her artistic and relaxed aesthetic provides the perfect backdrop for her charming prairie-dress collection which no doubt catalyzed the original Scandi-trend, but also proved that midi-length dresses can work for all heights given the proper tailoring - Monikh is 5’1".
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With a London home that could be confused for a Mediterranean villa and a fashion sense unlike any other Monikh is a master of creativity. In need of some positive escapism, we caught up with fashion’s it-girl for some industry insights, style-advice and what she has learned from life in lockdown.
How are you and how have you been finding lockdown?
"I think I’m a pretty positive person so I’ve been holding onto the good points; that my fiance and I have been able to keep safe at home, and spend more time together which is amazing. Also, I’ve been able to relook at my career path, and make a more detailed plan for the future."
What is the best beauty advice you have ever received?
"When I hit my thirties, I remember someone saying to me; ‘Less foundation and more concealer’, and that has stuck with me! At the moment, when I leave the house I’m only wearing concealer to cover up any blemishes or scars, instead of blanketing my skin. I feel bright and fresh for it."
Your home has the dreamiest of interiors, how did you approach designing it?
"I spent almost a year researching for all the right pieces. I created a PowerPoint presentation of exactly how I wanted each room to look and then presented that to my fiancé hoping he would trust my vision, and let me get on with it. I’ve also chosen to take it really slowly, only saying yes to those pieces that fit my dream vision. There's still a lot to do, but I’m enjoying the process."
What attributes are a must when working as a stylist?
"You have to know that you are styling someone else, another brand's voice, not your own. Showing a flare of your own style is key, but it must fit into that person's lifestyle. When styling myself, that's when I can show my own personality fully."
What are your top three summer wardrobe essentials?
"First, a white midi dress; something you can dress up and down, style a thousand different ways - this is why simplicity is key. Second, a light jacket; let's face it, the weather is unpredictable and you will always need something with you just in case, so there’s no reason why that extra layer shouldn’t also make a statement. And finally, the chunky flat - I live in flats, I love them. Even at 5’1" I think the flat is chic and can really balance out a more oversized look."
Was it tricky to reach this place in your career and where did you first start out in fashion?
"It has been a struggle. Lots of unpaid work, double/triple jobs. I know a lot of people think it’s easy to work your way up in the fashion industry, especially now with Instagram which is a great platform and searching tool, but there’s a lot of work behind the pretty pictures. I graduated from UEL in Womenswear Fashion Design, it was afterwards when I fell into styling while trying to pay off my credit cards and find a design job - making a final collection for Graduate Fashion Week is expensive! There has been a lot of tears, and I’m sure there is more to come, but I’m happy and content and excited for the future."
How do you stand out as a creative in a place like London?
"It’s simple, be yourself. No one can be you."
How do you keep yourself style-inspired?
"I do a lot of research into new designers and styles. I also take a lot of inspiration from my surroundings. At the moment, interiors and architecture are my main inspiration. However, it all normally comes down to how I feel that day, I dress for my mood and needs."
What do you love most about London and could you see yourself living anywhere else?
"I love the diversity here, there are so many cultures all mixed into one. At the moment I couldn’t see myself living anywhere else."
What advice would you have for those hoping to launch a successful career in fashion post-pandemic?
"Find out exactly what area of fashion you want to be in, find out what you need to do and what that sector is missing. People are always looking for fresh air, so be yourself."
The secret to good style is…
"Being comfortable and confident. That always shines through."
What have you learned from your time in lockdown?
"That I need to take more time for myself."
Main image by @monikh on Instagram