Saturday, February 4, 2012

Talking Copenhagen Fashion Week with
Monica & Joe- Links á la Mode

During Copenhagen Fashion Week, I had a lovely conversation with  Monica and Joe Wahla to discuss three things about which they are quite passionate, Copenhagen, fashion and their online boutique, Monica & Joe.

Monica and Joe launched their site,, in 2011. Both have almost twenty years of experience working at top fashion companies, but left their jobs because they saw an opportunity to create an online version of the small stylish boutiques they've visited in Copenhagen and the Marais neighborhood of Paris. Their online boutique is based around what Joe describes as their “intrinsic belief  in what we think is cool.” The Monica & Joe site carries a hit list of cool niche fashion brands such as Baum und Pferdgartem, Valentine Gauthier, Munthe + Simonsen and By Malene Birger, to name a few.

Monica and Joe
Talking to Monica and Joe it is immediately evident how important their customers are to them, and they do everything possible to offer the same service found in a neighborhood boutique. This boutique approach to customer service is part of what has helped them develop a loyal following. “We’re old school, we have been going to the same dry cleaner, butcher for years. We’re junkies about people we respect,” says Joe. Either Monica or Joe respond personally to every e-mail, and Monica also offers personal style advice to customers via online chat. “Some women literally don’t know what to wear. [Via live chat] I ask them, ‘Do you like to show your arms? What colors do you like to wear?’ People just want a little advice.” This high-level of customer service with a personal touch is something that the two are committed to maintaining, even as their business grows.

When it comes to choosing new designers for their site, Monica and Joe, don’t have a set formula. “The plan was to add about five new designers a season,” Joe explains, “But, last season we added seven. It just depends.” Monica relies on instinct when choosing a new line, “It’s about what is catching my eye…The product speaks for itself.”  

Part of the reason the couple make the trip to Copenhagen Fashion Week each season is in hopes of “finding the next big thing.” According to Joe, “We don’t want to become like everyone else…[High street shops] are so trend-driven. One week it’s all about Boho-Gypsy-Peruvian-Shepardess, and then the next week, it’s gone…We don’t want to talk about trends. I’m interested in smart intellectual fashion…[Our customers] are internet-savvy, educated and stylish. They want something different.” Monica adds, “Other people just stick to what they know, but that’s why we come to Copenhagen, because we find loads of great designers.”

Monica checks out the Dante 6 Fall 2012 collection Photo: Monica & Joe

Dante 6, a Dutch brand, is one of their favorite new finds, discovered at one of the trade shows in Copenhagen. “It’s amazing. Fantastic! It just caught our eye,” says Monica. The collection from Bruun’s Bazaar was also a stand out for them, and Monica describes the collection as sporty with lots of color. She also went on to say, “This season it was toned down. [The show] was in a beautiful location, but it was smaller and less high profile. It allowed the clothes to speak for themselves. We loved it.”

Monica at Bruun's Bazaar showroom Photo: Monica & Joe

In terms of the overall trends at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Monica noticed that there has been a shift in Danish fashion: “Copenhagen used to be a bit samey, but this season it was a lot less one-dimensional; more color, punchy color, more individual, perhaps driven by the States.” She picks the skirt, particularly the peplum skirt, as a must-have piece for Fall ’12, pointing to the fact that, “[On our site] skirts have sold out- that’s exciting! Dresses were popular, but now there’s a mood for separates. It’s a different way of dressing and skirts are one of the easiest pieces to wear.”

Finale at By Malene Birger Fall 2012 show Photo: Monica & Joe

And if you're heading to Copenhagen, check out some of Monica and Joe’s favorite places: 

Avenue Hotel

M: “When we were looking for a hotel in Copenhagen there was something special about it…It’s quite designer-y, but not 5 star…I really recommend it.”

J: “Everyone there is really cool. They have these sofas in the lobby and it’s great because you can chit-chat and meet loads of interesting people.”

Avenue Hotel 

M: “We love to go to Illum for their hot chocolate. It’s really amazing.”

J: “It’s like melted chocolate scooped out with a ladle. It comes with the best little cookies- perfect.”

Illum Cafe Photo: Shu Tu


M: “I never have salads in London…[At Munchies] there is a salad that is sort of spicy, with onions and chicken. It’s amazing, but I was so full I couldn’t finish.”

At Munchies Photo: Madoghave

1 comment:

  1. Didn't hear of this site before but it sounds interesting and I like the brands they show. Very nice!