Fewer things, that age well and with greater meaning. These were the founding principles at the inception of the MONTROI brand some 5 years ago.
Two founders, two very different backgrounds. In 2015 Enrique Hormigo, an executive with a global luxury fashion brand, and Samir Aghera, a former Investment banker, set out on a purposeful journey. To address a consumption concern they were too heavily subscribed to. ‘I was in a constant loop of buying everything and anything’ said Samir of his consumer behaviour before co-founding MONTROI. This notion of ‘the more we buy the more fulfilled we will feel’ had become too engrained in daily life. It was a loop they were determined to break. Their goal? To create objects for people who find pleasure in exceptional things.
MONTROI creates objects for the self-anointed global nomad. A person who is in search of authenticity in all things and who appreciates the journey as much as the destination. Enrique describes the global nomad as being “on a path of having fewer things in life and importantly those items are all needing to be carried as one”. “Being a nomad means travelling the world, learning from other cultures and taking the best from each place. This is exactly what we do as a brand. We travel the world looking for different expertise to develop our products. Things that will age well, resistant but at the same time very practical. The objects that we design breathe this DNA.”
Honouring craft and quality are very much at the heart of the brand. At its founding Enrique and Samir visited close to 50 artisans from around the world in search of the right people to create alongside. Today as MONTROI’s range’s grow the brand works directly with more than 20 workshops and craftspeople across the modern silk route. MONTROI manufactures their leather goods between Italy and Spain.
Their perfumes are all made in Grasse, France. Delicate Rose Water is sourced from the highest peak in the middle east, Jabal Akhdar in Oman. Their gold gem accessories and new range of handmade incense sticks are all hand crafted in Jaipur, India. Their products are defined by their resilience and by being as light as possible for the ease of their nomadic customers. There is no pomp and brashness. MONTROI whispers quality over the screams of other brands. Subtle refinement shows not solely in the objects but also in the brand experience, packaging and brand insignia. They have founded a principled brand. A business that believes in supporting talent and rewarding their collaborators contributions. In conversation they say “Our mission is to bring together existing craftsmanship across the Silk Route in a relevant way. We are talking about craftsmen and workshops who have been mastering their work for many generations. We don’t manufacture in big factories but rather in small places with a soul. We will keep creating new products as far as we keep meeting and engaging with communities who manufacture with pride and care”.
Their commitment to craft communities is clear. As somewhat of an ode to the country in which MONTROI is headquartered, the United Arab Emirates, they now produce what is sure to be a future classic. The M1 Safari Chair. The chair frame hand crafted in wood by shipbuilders, one and the same shipbuilders who have for generations built the regions Dhow boats. The seat created from the regions buttery soft, yet wildly durable, Camel suede by-product. An homage to the talent, skill and resources available to the brand locally.
2020 changed so many elements of life that had become so engrained and normal in our day to day. None more so than one’s ability to travel. Knowing their nomadic customers all too well, MONTROI’s optimism in the future, post pandemic, is refreshing. They have curated a brand around a base of customers who not only embrace change but are most at ease in a state of minimalism. Their confidence in future growth is that as restrictions ease global nomads are yearning for greater unique experiences both in travel and with the objects they choose to accompany them. An appetite MONTROI is ready, willing and eager to cater to.
Both founders refer to the aesthetic and experience of MONTROI as being routed in the fundamentals of Wabi-sabi. A Japanese term referring to the acceptance of transience and imperfection. While there may well be handwrought finishing’s in their objects and an ease of movement with their pieces, there is nothing imperfect about the treasures MONTROI creates.
MONTROI has established itself as a global brand with a successful worldwide presence on MrPorter.com, regionally on Ounass.com and its remarkable flagship studio in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. We can now only sit back and wait for all that is undoubtedly to come for this brand and its two founders. Founders with a vision for quality, respect of craft and an approach to life that seems not only desired but all too necessary following this time of greater introspection.