From his living room to the studios of MTV, this underground fashionista is taking the fashion industry by the horns. Monte Teu a.k.a Monte Christo is a fashion designer who is a part of the Urban Island movement. WhatitDo had the opportunity to catch up with this young brotha and talk about his aspirations in the world of design.
Born and raised on the south side of Sacramento, CA this vibrant young Tongan gained a natural attraction to fashion through his love of dance. As a kid, he was a huge fan of the “Fly Girls” of the American sketch comedy television series “In Living Color,” and often watched to see the latest dance moves but noticed that what they were wearing was important to follow as well. He owes a lot of his inspiration for fashion to his family. Monte says that his choice to take this direction in his career towards fashion is due largely because he was raised among very innovative, hip, and fashion forward women. “I was around the ‘fly-est’ first generation Tongans that rocked the 80’s.”
Monte’s ultimate goal is to open a boutique with pieces that he created himself and hopes that his designs will one day be sold and recognized all over the world. He wants to own a small business but is quite realistic about his aspirations. For Monte, it would be great to get his clothes mass produced and sold in every store, however, owning a small and respectful business that he controls will satisfy him. Tight. His style of clothing and signature look is real urban underground with a hint of elegance. He never worries about what the mainstream is doing because he says the mainstream is watching the underground movement! They look to the streets because that’s where fashion is. Fashion is what people wear every day on the street just living their lives. Truth.
Monte was blessed with the opportunity to bring his Tongan ethnicity to the forefront when he was featured on the MTV show “Sweet Sixteen.” He designed an entire fashion show for a close friend whom the show was featuring. While in the midst of this experience, he did not anticipate the impact he would have on the Tongan/Polynesian community. He was extremely proud to be able to represent his culture and blessed to have had the opportunity to do so on national television. It wasn’t so much about being on TV as it was about being accepted by his people for doing what he loves. In the near future Monte plans to mesh vintage Tongan fashion with what’s current. He would like to modernize traditional couture without taking from the history and culture that it symbolizes. Hot. John Galliano, one of Monte’s idols, has structured some of his collections to tell a story on the runway. Monte would like to mirror that concept using Tongan materials and influences to tell a story about his people.
Without a doubt, this young man is on fire! He’s intelligent, hungry, and willing to do WhatitDo to keep it pushin. Real talk. He’s got the potential to really create waves in the industry and rep his people!