● Summer Collection Spotlight ●

  • by harry nicholls

“We Are Ballet Dancers”

Joonhyuk & Francisco are ballet dancers at The Royal Ballet and are close friends. “When i’m on stage, expressing choreography with my body, i feel connected to the audience, as if we are one” - Joonhyuk 

@joonhyuk_jun @panchirulo 

“Ballet is an artistic dance, a creative work, a performance; precise and graceful. It is the love language of dance, an expressive dramatic bearing of your soul” 

“Ballet is not just one singular thing; it is the dance, the moves, the music, the stage. Ballet is poetry performed to convey a dramatic story, the experience of viewership is just as vital as the performers.” 

“Gravity doesn't have any effect on you the way it does me. Beautiful, graceful, elegant. It definitely plays into elements of the dramatic; the costumes, the jumps and leaps, the way the music crescendos. I love this form of dance and everything that encompasses it.” 

“Ballet is an elegant and beautiful art-form, the figures and shapes the body effortlessly transitions in and out of are a spectacle to behold, we looked at what type of breathable, eco-friendly fabric and designs they would like as well as utility; how would our clothes handle use by dancers? they spend long hours training and rehearsing, we wanted them to feel as comfortable and amazing as they do look when performing on stage.” - MONO+n.a.v.y. Team. 

 Our creative director has designed these amazing T-shirts; comfortable and breathable, simple and stylish with a lovely graphic print on the back, to encompass our love of nature with a design that would be classic and eye-catching.


Questions for the Dancers

1. “The audience is important for any art-form. With performances having been moved online and over lockdown the public seeing dances and plays recorded and shared virtually, how has your experience with Ballet and your audiences been changed over the pandemic?”

I have to say it has been a huge change after the pandemic. We prepare for shows, doing lots of rehearsals, but of course with reduced numbers of dancers in the studio to try to limit as much contact as possible.It was hard to get ready to return to performing. I doubt we are able to perform as we once used to. Are audiences willing to return after this pandemic? But my doubt has been blown away by amazing audiences, who love the performing arts and are eager to get back to the theatre and have waited so long for us to get back on to the stage.It was obvious they wanted to see performances more than ever, at the same time, we got a huge surge in the number of watchers for our ‘lives’; our recorded streams, which meant that our friends and family get to watch and enjoy even while everything has been closed. So, I think that might be a new way for audience viewership, could be a better way to get more new people to make them interested enough to come to see us on stage and in person if they watch online and are interested enough to seek out some shows and performances now that everything is slowly reopening.

2. Ballet is often a group performance or a pas de deux (step of two) how has the pandemic affected not only your ability to perform with others but to train together and build that familiarity and physical trust in your dances?

We did at least two or more covid tests, (including PCR) and we danced only with dancers in the same bubble as us, of course wearing our face masks. When we were allowed to bubble up that was really fortunate as the people I train with, rehearse with and perform with are all close friends, I mean especially over a shared experience like covid. So, we felt we could comfortably trust each other.

3. What are you really anticipating and excited about getting back on the stage now that the restrictions are lifted and performances are able to be held with an audience in attendance for the first time in over 18 months?

To be honest, I didn’t feel like having live performances with audiences again. Maybe because I left stage performing for so long but still have been doing classes on stages and rehearsals on stage, so it felt like doing another regular stage rehearsal at the beginning. By doing performances more and more, repeatedly it starts to become more like a ‘usual performance’ as it should be.

4. What is your favourite or most memorable interaction you’ve had with your audience? As a crowd, a group or individual audience members if any?

I performed ‘Blue Bird’ in a pas de deux from ‘sleeping beauty act 3’ (with Isabella Gasparini) which is usually a soloist role. I never could imagine how it would feel to get such an applause from audiences, on the centre of the stage and hearing bravo! While I take a bow. I’ll never know what they thought or felt while watching my show but one thing I can be sure of is I delivered some joy to them. At that point I realized this is my duty to do, because not many people could do this job and to make people feel an intense joy is one of the most important things we can do as performers.

5. What is your favourite part about getting together with your fellow ballerinos and ballerinas?

Well! Seeing my colleagues in the studios and then on stage is such an inspiration. It is a real pleasure to see and work with people who want to develop their craft, but also pushing themselves every day. Working with and around these people is such a privilege.

6. What is important to you when picking out your clothes? Not only in your casual daywear but for when you train and rehearse as well as your favourite theatrical outfits to wear onstage?

Good Clothes make me feel more confident and help me to be as expressive and true to myself as possible. Casual clothes need to be comfortable but also stylish and sustainable, I usually keep them in my closet for at least 3 years, I don’t like the idea of constantly updating and throwing out my wardrobe.I prefer to make a purchase for brands paying attention to not only if they make pretty clothes, but the process is very important as well. Such as treating their workers well and sustainable cotton cultivation and carbon neutrality. As for the stage, well there are a lot of theatrical extravagant outfits, but when you are wearing them and performing in them they really make you feel as special as the performance. 

At MONO+n.a.v.y. One of our core values is to open up diversity in our fashion, the collection offers gender neutral colours of pink and mint as well as classic black or white.

We wanted to showcase everyday peoples wearing our collection to show who it is for; the general public. Over on our instagram page you can find where we spotlight everyday peoples in and around our community, our fashion curator Jackie Lee has spotlighted a number of close and personal friends as well extraordinary people found in the area of Hackney Wick.


Most of those shown in our summer collection are unique individuals showing off the variety of life; career-driven performers, creative professionals and couples starting their own families.

Fashion is often designed to go on blank canvases, the team want to showcase all the colour and vibrancy of our community, the same that exists in the wider world and has been a constant source of inspiration for the label; the beauty of everyday people, and the fact Hackney Wick is an amalgamation of diverse identities congregated together. MONO+n.a.v.y. will often go with photographing everyday people, because its easier to identify yourself within them rather than a glamorous model shot we would rather highlight the beauty of a strangers smile or a neighbours love for their family as being what is so special about them.



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