“I first came across Monika at one of her pop up shops at Yonge & Eglinton. I saw a dress in the window that was just so perfect for me, I couldn’t even believe it, and I was like, ‘Should I go in, should I not go in?’
But then I saw a little dog, Chilli was by the door, and I’m a huge dog lover. And then the first person I experienced in the shop was Monika!
She’s so energetic and positive, lovely and helpful. I mean, obviously she was really helpful with letting me try the dress on and everything but it was also my first experience of someone tailoring a dress for me on the spot.
That was a totally new experience for me even though I make a point to buy from Toronto designers. She even took it away a second time because she didn’t like the way the collar was sitting.
So I have to give credit to Chilli, but Monika closed that sale.
I will have that dress forever; I will never get rid of that dress.
My grandmother was a fashion designer and I was extremely close to her. I was everything from her muse to her model.
My mum told me recently actually that in first grade– of course this was like my ‘showing’, my first foray into the world– she told me I didn’t wear the same dress twice until 7 months later.
So my grandmother kept me in clothes into me being a teenager, and I had all the latest fashions before people even knew about them.
For me fashion was always about something different and unique, and it not mattering whether people liked it or not.
My grandmother really instilled that love for fashion in me. The other kids would be like, ‘What the hell are you wearing?’ But I didn’t pay attention to that.
I wear what I love, I wear what makes me feel good, and it doesn’t bother me if people don’t like it.
I think that’s why I keep going back to MONIKOVA, because her designs are unique and tailored to fit any kind of woman. She has classic and conventional right up to eccentric, and I have the whole spectrum. I wear all of her pieces anywhere I want to wear them.
I have her first parisien dress which I love. It’s white, and then it has girls walking dogs on it. I have one of her dress shirts, a black background with really bold flowers. I’ve also got dresses, a couple that are simple and straightforward, and still constantly get compliments on them.
I get a lot of compliments on her conventional pieces because people are looking for something different to wear to work.
One of the things that drew me to Monikova is also that I run a charity, and it’s an animal protection charity. Monika loves animals and we bonded over her dog Chilli, and she does bring in a number of animal prints.
I have an undefined collection of animal print clothing. Not like leopard prints, but prints like the MONIKOVA cranes and a little dress that has dogs and horses on it. I like to combine those two things whenever possible my love of animals and love of fashion, and Monika’s designs have provided me with at least two of those pieces per year.
It’s really important for me to have pieces that speak to my role as an advocate for animals.
It was a really nice coincidence that I just happened to walk home that way to see that dress, and for the last 5 years, I’ve been able to go back to at least once a year.
I just love seeing Monika, I love her really giving personality, obvious love of fashion and willingness to go that extra mile so her customers are satisfied. It’s my birthday gift to myself every year."
Josey Kitson is a lifelong lover of fashion and advocate for animals. She can be found in Toronto wearing whatever she wants, whenever she wants, because it makes her happy! Check out World Animal Protection, the charity she works with, here.