Our Story ✿
Santos by Mónica was founded by Mónica Santos Gil, a Puerto Rican designer who fuses different disciplines and philosophies such as fashion, design and sustainability. Mónica has always had a passion for art and transforming everyday objects to give them a second life and at the age of 17 moved to New York to obtain a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Pratt Institute. While in school, she had the privilege of interning for countless luxury brands in New York City, and after graduating developed handbag, footwear, apparel and jewelry collections for Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia, Janie & Jack and Dolls Kill in San Francisco, and Coach in New York. It was while navigating her corporate career at these companies that Mónica gained visibility into supply chains and realized the effect the fashion industry has on the planet and garment workers. She wanted to do something entirely different and use fashion as a tool to educate people about consumption and raise awareness.
Knowing that her only solution was to start her own business, Santos by Mónica was born as a passion project, a slow fashion brand that focuses on timelessness, quality and sustainability. Mónica currently works from her two studios between Puerto Rico and New York City, where she hand crafts made-to-order pieces made from vegan leather crafted from cactus fibers, lined with a blend of PET recycled fabric and 100% organic cotton, and occasionally deadstock vintage hardware. Santos by Monica’s cactus vegan leather has the same properties of traditional leather, but it is much more eco-friendly and grows solely on rainwater, meaning that no irrigation is applied. It is grown in a farm in Mexico where only the mature leaves of the plant are cut, without damaging the cactus or cutting the tree itself.
The brand’s vision is to produce at a slower pace and process and to challenge the current state of the fashion industry and its traditions, while at the same time returning to nature all those resources that were used to make the products. For each handbag that is created, Santos by Mónica plants a tree with One Tree Planted.