PI People: Freddie Elbourne Founder & Designer of MONC London
Freddie Elbourne


Freddie Elborne
Founder & Designer, MONC London


Tell us about MONC.
MONC is my eyewear brand which I started in 2016. It’s about celebrating a considered production process and the exciting people that come with it. 


What was your motivation to start MONC?The motivation came from a love for the design process. That and being obsessed with sunglasses which all started when I stole my Dads original Persol sunglasses as a teenager. I started designing sunglasses in my previous job and from that moment I was hooked. I became so obsessed I ended up leaving that design agency job to start my journey with MONC. I thought it was about time that there was an honest brand that was transparent about making good quality eyewear for a reasonable price, so that’s what I did. 


Where did the name come from?
The name MONC comes from one of my middle names and it’s now a nickname between me and my siblings. I wanted MONC as a brand to be a community of like minded people who appreciate the beauty in true craftsmanship and trying to create a more ethical and sustainable product journey. 


Have you made efforts to be more sustainable?
Last year we launched our Conscious Collection - a range of sunglasses and spectacles made from bio based and recycled materials. The reason we decided to launch this collection was because I discovered in 2017 that in the eyewear production process up to 80% of petroleum based plastic goes to incineration or landfill. I couldn’t stand by and continue to produce in this way so I decided to change the way that our eyewear is produced... for good. We’re now working to be more sustainable not just during production but also in everything we do. This includes our goal for zero waste and using the waste produced in the eyewear industry to produce something that will be used for many years. 


What does sustainability mean to you?
It means working to help save the future of our climate for us and for our children. We have to all accept that we’re in an emergency situation and we need to work towards a common goal with real belief - no smokescreens. For me as an individual I have to do the things I can to help. My business is the medium that can express my sustainable ambitions and actions. There is a sustainability crisis in the eyewear industry and I hope that my values and goals make an impact to the industry through MONC. 


Are you a fan of vintage and antique pieces?
I collect vintage eyewear frames that I come across on my journeys. I travel to countries where there is a heritage of eyewear craftsmanship and artisans and I try my best to pick up a souvenir each time. I am a secret admirer of antique furniture and of course vintage jewellery. 


Which of our PI London pieces is your favourite and why?
It has to be the Roman ring. It’s very unique and holds such a story. I love the stone and the fact that you can see the makers tool marks. 


What do you antiques mean to you?
They tell a story. That’s what makes any product for me - it’s journey, materials and how it’s made. 


Favourite part of having your own company?
Being able to make decisions and implement actions almost immediately. That and meeting almost every customer and seeing their reaction to the products. 


Advice to someone wanting to start their own company?
Take as much time as you can testing with your friends and doing your research. Then you just have to take the leap!