Monastery is the etherial conceptual fashion and jewellery label of Ashleigh McCulloch. With an emphasis on slow production and focus on quality, Ashleigh says that Monastery rejects conventional ‘on trend’ fashion principles favouring instead custom conceptual garments that are made to be worn by people who choose to buy ethically and make a statement about how they adorn themselves.
Inspired by both the sacred and profane, of people lost in an unrelenting wilderness with only ‘body objects’ as a carapace, the Monastery aesthetic hints at ancient rites and rituals, high priestesses and deep symbolism. Long, formless robes and monastic hoods, where the label takes its name, recur across the monochromatic Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections. In both, loose cuts and layering evoke unconventional feminine silhouettes. The all white SS collection players with negative and positive space echoed in sheer fabrics, cut-out sleeves and clear plastic details. For the AW collection the colour palette shifts into darker tones with slate, black and cream fabric drapes creating luxe but understated volume. The attention to unusual detail in both collections – clear plastic and copper clutch bags in the SS collection and the statement jewellery pieces for AW – communicates the subtle but distinct tone of this new label.
Launched in November last year, Monastery currently has a pop-up shop open in Work Shop New Town with a store at Neighbourgoods in Braamfontein opening soon. Those with a flair for conceptual style will gravitate towards Monastery.