Trying to become a more conscious consumer? Look no further; Grazia has got you covered. Introducing Stone Grey: the minimalist staple-based clothing brand, designed by Jino Mary Joy. Born and raised in Dubai, she is heavily influenced by the art, fashion and cultural scenes in the emirate and is a passionate believer in the power of modest fashion.
Not only is she creative, but she's aware and alert to some of the most pressing social issues of the day. That is why Stone Grey has recently announced the launch of their latest Lebanon Fabric Face Mask (embroidered with the map of Lebanon after the success of their UAE one), with 100 per cent proceeds going to aid those in Lebanon. Grazia caught up with Joy to discuss her company, her drives and her hopes for the future.
How would you describe your brand and its aesthetic?
The aesthetic of the brand stems from the idea of romanticising the notion of 'ordinary'. The Brand revolves around creating the staples in your wardrobe. They are not out of the box or trend based pieces, to us this was very important as it’s a huge part of what we perceive to be sustainable, to be able to wear our designs for years and not for a particular season alone.
What is the ethos of your brand?
We are a minimalist brand that focuses all it’s time on quality and finish. We add tiny details in each garment to add the perfect amount of personality. We are also a strong believer of slow fashion, each piece at our store is carefully created and planned for, to avoid any instance of dead stock or waste.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
Where did the inspiration come from? As a designer I’ve always been interested in patterns and colours. It was always a dream to pursue fashion in any way I could. However, in time, the dream grew into doing more than just creating clothes. I was passionate to make a difference in any way I could. To turn Stone Grey into an example of what a fashion brand could be.
How does the sustainable aspect of your brand work? And, why is this important to you?
We have incorporated several strategies to being more conscious as a fashion brand. For instance, in production our patterns are made of recycled paper. All fabric leftovers from production is saved up to create our accessory line. We package our orders in reusable cloth bags. We only generate e-receipts, saving a bunch of unwanted paper.
We believe that being sustainable starts from within the four walls of a brand and so we knew it was something we wanted to pursue in production from day one. We are still working on incorporating more ways to reaching the goal of being 100% sustainable. We do not believe we are there yet and we strive every day to get there.
What is your design method?
Designing at Stone Grey is a team effort. The designer only brings in an inspiration and creates the skeleton, it is then shaped and brought to perfection by everyone on the team. At the end of the day a design becomes everybody’s baby and that creates a sense of responsibility and joy for everyone involved.
When and why did you move to making masks?
The product line of face masks was first created for the company and all its employees, days before the lockdown. With the shortage of surgical masks, we predicted the need to be prepared. It then grew for a circle of friends and family, as we received a lot of feedback on how the surgical masks created skin allergies for most. The product line was then born as soon as the movement restrictions were lifted in Dubai. The embroidery was added in, for functionality, to identify your masks from within the family. It then grew to creating fun symbols and signs. We quickly understood that as long as puts a smile under the mask and helps motivate everyone to wear a mask and stay safe, we knew we needed to open our lines to customization in any way.
Can you tell us about the Dubai mask?
We as a brand, are immensely grateful to the nation for the way they’ve handle the current situation and how they have helped support all its residents equally. We were in owe of the support and help extended to us, as a small business. Creating the masks with a map of the UAE was our tiny tribute and our expression of gratitude to the country we call home.
And, finally, where do you see Stone Grey going in the future?
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that, going with the flow is everything and keeping an open mind to changes and designing for the need of the hour is worth so much more.
Having said that, I do have a dream for the brand, a dream we strive every day to achieve. The dream is to be 100% sustainable and to be the brand that sets an example for other businesses on ways to incorporate conscious production methods. To spread awareness on fair trade, to romanticise “less is enough and more”.
Besides the various product lines Stone Grey has, we also provide several production, tailoring and design services. I do see expanding our lines of production and other services in the future and helping other start up designers grow their production.
What message do you have for Grazia readers?
Everybody speaks about staying safe and healthy, and as much as we would also like to convey the same message, we would also like to stress on staying positive in these uncertain times. It is so important to be kind to strangers. Be the reason for someone else’s smile. We need to be there for each other, now more than ever and together we will get through this.
Photos: Supplied and Instagram