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6 Dec 2017 / Artists, Events, Fashion, Featured post, Female model, Graphic Design, Magazine, Mon Ami, New York City, Photography, Video
Mon Ami Clothing

Greenwich native launches online fashion brand

 

Photo: Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

 

Clothing racks bursting with sweaters, tunics, pants and fur coats fill the spare bedroom in Jillian Schwabe’s Stamford apartment. Her living room sometimes doubles as a catwalk, where clients model fashions from the Greenwich native’s newly launched brand Mon Ami.

The moniker translates to “my friend,” which Schwabe, who worked in Paris’ fashion industry for several years, believes sums up her new business’ mission.

“I can count on my friend to dress me well and help me express myself through clothing,” Schwabe said during a recent interview at her home office. “Mon Ami is someone you can count on.”

A few weeks ago, Schwabe and her business partner, Marsin Mogielski, debuted their online-based retail brand with a fashion show at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich featuring a range of local women.

“She’s the kind of girl who’s all or nothing,” said Greenwich native Alexandra Umana, who modeled in the show. “It’s been awesome watching her make her dream come true. I was honored she asked me to be a part of it.”

Photo: Marsin / MarsinDigital.com

Effortless chic

While growing up in Greenwich, Schwabe long aspired to make it big in fashion. She acquired an interest in both the business and fashion aspects of the cut-throat industry. “I balance business and creativity,” she said.

Schwabe plastered her childhood bedroom walls with fashion editorials and inspirations, such as Cher, and found comfort in styling herself in a range of apparel. “Fashion makes me feel like a chameleon,” she said. “It’s my creative escape and a confidence booster.”

For years, Schwabe has refined her style, which prominently features bodycon clothes, duster jackets, and high-waisted skirts. “Everything has to have a touch of character,” she said. “I like to be comfortable but chic in a way that looks effortless.”

In 2014, Schwabe followed her fashion ambitions to Paris, where she ran showrooms for New York-based companies. She recounts her work there fondly and jokes about friends calling her the “dream killer,” a nickname she earned for pointing out flaws in their business plans to launch fashion brands.

According to Schwabe, the series of terrorist attacks during her tenure in France, including the November 2015 shootings and bomb blasts that killed and injured hundreds, hurt the capital city’s fashion industry.

“Paris is the epitome of fashion — it’s the mecca,” Schwabe said. “But the terrorism hurt fashion week. People didn’t want to come there, and my family was begging for me to come home.”

 

Photo: Marsin / MarsinDigital.com

Fashion for all forms

With regret, Schwabe returned to the United States earlier this year and found a job working in retail on Greenwich Avenue. She used the opportunity to expand her understanding of the market for a variety of fashions and, by the end of the summer, she received her first investment to begin Mon Ami.

Around the same time, Mogielski, a fashion photographer, videographer and creative director at Social Life Magazine joined her as Mon Ami’s creative director. His work is seen on Mon Ami’s website with all the brand’s product shots.

One of the featured models, Carol Borges, also walked in Mon Ami’s Greenwich launch event and lauded Schwabe and Mogielski for their variety of clothing options. “I’m always in SoHo hanging around the jazz clubs and looking in store windows, and everything looks the same,” Borges said, who’s a musician and student in New York City. “Other brands pick what’s most in trend and go with that, but I think this is on trend but unique. It was neat seeing at the show how the brand fits so many different styles and type of women.”

Greenwich native Jessica Rosa, who met Schwabe through family connections, feared participating in Mon Ami’s fashion show because of her curvy body shape, but said Schwabe knew just how to style her.

“When I saw the other girls, I got panicked and told Jill ‘I can’t do this,’ but she told me I would do fantastic, made sure I had clothes in my size and when I went on stage I felt like a million bucks. I’ve never felt so confident in myself.”

Representing many styles and forms is an emphasis of Mon Ami, Schwabe said, and she plans on continuing to feature models of all sizes. “I wanted to break barriers by bringing in a variety of models,” she said.

Eventually, their brand may include clothes for children and men, Mogielski added.

For now, the pair plans to keep the bulk of their business online since “that’s how our generation shops,” Scwhabe said, but she will continue to style clients in person by appointment and hopes to schedule some pop-ups.

 


Contact the writer at mbennett@greenwichtime.com; Twitter @Macaela_

 

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