The story of the futuristic fashion label “Huni” started, when graphic designer Mona Thomas designed a shoe in her third semester at HfG Offenbach and obviously needed a suiting name for it. Based on her nickname “Huna”, she decided on the one that felt most familiar to her – and hasn’t changed name and logo ever since. Four years later, year 2020, and “Huni” has made its way to Los Angeles, where Mona recently collaborated with Creative Director Joe Perez and his clothing label Club Fantasy. Together, they created several products, like sunglasses, a penny board and keychains. “Joe had been following me on Instagram for a while before he reached out via DM. I had been a fan of his work since high school. I had been listening to all the albums he and the Donda team designed the cover art for. I remember thinking ‘how do I get my work seen by these people?’“, Mona tells us, looking back on her early beginnings. “It just feels good that I now get to meet and work with people I look up to and to know they are watching. It’s still new to me. There was a time when I had worked on something for 6 months and the only people I got to expose it to were my parents, some of my friends and fellow students.”
While the beginning of her passion can be traced back to her early childhood, Mona claims that she was not just ”interested in fashion” back then. “I was into super hero suits, football jerseys, NASA space suits and Lucky Luke’s style. It’s the things I loved as a kid that shaped my aesthetic”, she tells us, “I was crazy for toys and their packaging and logos. I was obsessed. I remember walking through Toys R Us feeling ecstatic.” During an internship in New York City, Mona soon realized that she wanted to turn her interest in fashion in a future job. “I just didn’t know how. I had zero connections”, she remembers, “My mom works at the airport so we always got to travel for a lot less. So after my internship in the city my sister and me went back for fashion week as often as possible. We would just hang out in Soho, try to get into as many fashion shows in a day as possible and sneak into parties we weren’t invited to.” After coming back to Germany, she first was rejected by all the art school she applied at – but not letting those incidents kill her drive, she finally got accepted at HfG Offenbach and started studying graphic design.
By merging her graphic design skills and her interest in fashion, “Huni” came into being. From the early beginning, Mona set great value on the corporate design of the label and therefore created a visuality just as futuristic and expressive as her products. “The packaging and the logo must look just as hot as the product”, she explains to us, “I don’t understand people who make fashion and don’t care about what type of fonts they are using. I want to make products that excite me on the same level as toys used to excite me as a kid. It helps a lot that I am a graphic designer at the same time.” Starting with the shoes in her third semester, Mona designed several pieces of clothing and accessorizes in the last years, with her futuristic shades leading the way. While she clearly states that there is no real message behind her work, it is her own excitement for those products that drives her. “The best ideas are the ones that just come into my mind out of nowhere. Otherwise the design looks like I was just trying super hard. What I do apparently speaks to a lot of people. I think that’s because I design for my own excitement. You probably won’t see me drop a collection of print t-shirts any time soon. Because I find there is nothing exciting about it”, she tells us, “I feel the need to do things that have never been able to be done before by a girl from my town. Things that make the big brands wonder ‘how’. That’s my drive.”
During the collaboration with Club Fantasy, Mona worked closely together with the Art Director, Joe Perez. “I quickly understood what he was looking for and so we spent a few weeks sending ideas back and forth”, Mona explains. The design of the new collection were mainly based on some products, that she had already created before, but they worked out a customized version. “For example: We decided to add color to the skateboard whilst at HUNI the board was originally colorless. I tend to design as reduced as possible whilst Club Fantasy is a techno and club wear inspired brand. It just made sense to add color.” The duo had to work hard, in order to finish the samples in time for the Paris Fashion Week, as every product is handmade at the studio and even the production of a few samples can be very time consuming. “The reactions were great”, Mona tells us, “We joined the team at Paris Fashion Week and dropped the pieces off at the showroom so I was able to watch them unpack the pieces. In general I was super proud since it was my first collab with Joe. It will soon be available for purchase.”
While Mona usually loves working by herself, she clearly sees the benefits of collaborating with other people. “I would be stupid not to make use of today’s possibilities. Nowadays it’s so easy to communicate even if you’re an introvert. It keeps getting easier to find likeminded people. To work on something together despite distance”, she tells us, “I love working alone more than anything. But it’s different when I am asked to work on a project with people that I find extremely skilled and interesting. That excites me. There are some amazing creatives who have reached out and shown interest and that is the most rewarding thing for me. But I take things as they come. If I have a flash of inspiration and I have something specific in mind that I want to work on then I will connect with the right people to work on it with.”