We had the good fortune of connecting with Yvette Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yvette, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk has played a pivotol role in my life. I used to be terrified of it. Well, I still am. But I’m more willing to undergo risks now than ever before. In my early twenties I steered away from it, thinking if I played it safe, life would go on seamlessly. As I grew up, I learned that regardless of how safe you play it, life never goes on seamlessly.
Following the demise of an 8-year relationship, a dear friend suggested I accompany her on a one-way ticket to Asia. It was the catalyst to all the risk-taking endeavours I would embark on. After all, I figured if I could survive a 6 month long unplanned adventure through hostels, jungles, and foreign lands, why couldn’t I apply that same energy into other facets of life.
Its the risky opportunities that have made me feel most alive – success, pushback, failure, fear, accomplishment. It’s nurtured startling emotions and has also made for my best stories. Move to Australia? Sure. Try working on Yachts in Spain. Why not? Start a business? Let’s do it. It’s allowed me to trial and error through life and discover the trust in myself that a ‘safe’ life kept dormant.
It’s taken me several years and lots of experiences but I’ve learned to embrace risk and, oftentimes, even provoke it. I look forward to all the opportunities that evolve from it. My more recent endeavour M O N A (short for mostly naked), a contemporary womenswear label, has been a struggle to get off the ground especially because it was meant to go into production just before COVID, but it certainly has made for the most rewarding risk… and it’s just the beginning.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It was no easy feat to get to where I am today. I look back at my work history and think of all the numerous, and sometimes, random jobs that I’ve held. I think about the tenacity it took to prove myself in certain new industries, the ‘imposter syndrome’ I often felt in some of my positions, and the overcompensating I felt obliged to show for not having gone to University. But each of my professional experiences, be the month long ones or thr 5 year ones, taught me innumerable lessons in business management and certainly refined my interpsonal skills that I attribute a lot of my professional success to.
Starting a fashion line has forever been a lingering dream. I’ve always loved the way a garment could be so transformational. For reasons I still don’t entirely know, I never thought I could actually do it. It took the confidence and words of a former boss to make me see my potential. That’s when the dream really crystalized. I put together all of my resources and started concepting a vision. Lots of trial and error, I was often left lost and discouraged. Then the pandemic hit and put all of my efforts on hold.I took a long break in Portugal and was reminded of needing a comfortable day to night wardrobe that could be effortlessly styled to show versatility in simplicity. More importantly, I needed clothes that didn’t require dry cleaning. That’s when M O N A was birthed. I arrived back to LA from Portugal and hit the ground running to bring my vision to life. M O N A, short for mostly naked, takes her name inspired by the philosophy of ‘less is more.’ You feel naked, but you’ve got something chic covering you up. Its why both the collection runs small and the styles are simple to avoid over-production and over-consumption. There’s a lot of thought and attention to the quality of the materials and details of its construction that I’m hoping people can really connect to. Not to mention, everything is produced locally in L.A. Seeing the website up and the inventory stacked is always a reminder or how far I’ve come and how confidence in yourself and tenacity can get you anywhere.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have a best friend, from L.A, who currently lives in Moçambique. She’s visiting in a few weeks for the Holidays and I have a whole itinerary of activities for us to try to remind her of why she needs to move back. Its been years since she’s been back to the states.The itinerary of course involves perusing through musuems like the Broad and Hauser and Wirth. A performance at the Hollywood Bowl with tapas and wine. Paddleboarding around the Marina, hiking around Malibu – followed by LOTS and LOTS of culinary adventures around the city including: Gjusta, Pace, Nobu (for food but mostly people watching), Esther’s and Cassia, some of my favorites.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would have to make a shoutout to my extremely supportive group of friends that have stood by me since the beginning. They’ve stood by with words of encouuragement, trustworthy second opinions on certain design elements, extra hands on set when I needed them and constantly networking on behalf of M O N A. Another huge shoutout goes to my fellow artists and entrepreneurs who have collaborated with me to assist in the development of M O N A: my photographer, production assistance and everyone else in between (you know who you are) for helping with M O N A. It has truly highlighted the importance of a community to help me achieve my success.
Photography: Dirk Mai