Who We Are
Monica Wesley, Designer & Founder
Monica Wesley grew up in an artistic home in Chicago, where fusing interesting materials together was a natural means of self-expression. She began sewing by hand at age 9, then moved to machine sewing (her dolls had very full wardrobes.) Eventually, she decided to pursue fashion design, honing her skills at The School of the Art Institute and later receiving her BFA from the renowned Parsons School of Design. Monica became inspired by the idea that women could enjoy design that was as beautiful as it was comfortable and practical from the inside out. In 2011, she developed and launched her own delicate lingerie and clothing line, Uye Surana, featuring designs that put the wearer first. In her free time, she enjoys viewing the latest art exhibits, trying new types of cuisine at the multitude of restaurants the city has to offer, and traveling near — for a weekend to recharge — and far, to soak in aspects from other cultures.
Lohla Jani, Creative Coordinator
Lohla Jani launched her career in fashion as a freelance model while studying Media, Culture, and Communications at NYU. What started as a creative outlet became appearances in international publications and the opportunity to develop her distinct sensibility for verbal and visual imagery. Along the way, she met Monica, was the face of Uye Surana's S/S 13 lookbook, and maintained a working relationship with the brand as a model over several years and different projects. Now, Lohla is a jack of several trades within the brand -- copywriter, content production, in-house model, web design support, social media & blogger outreach manager, and professional selfie artist. In her free time, she gives everyone advice on beauty products and does eerily accurate astrology chart analysis.
Jane Kim, Production Assistant
Jane's earliest memory of design was in childhood. When she was a child, her mother used to make clothes for her Barbie dolls. Jane learned to hand-sew by imitating her mother. By the time she got to junior high, Jane joined a clothing design club. Although she had no background knowledge in pattern-making, she learned how to make clothes by draping. This lead to her studying fashion design at Virginia Commonwealth University, and now, she's here at Uye Surana. In her free time, she enjoys reading books and "studying other designer's work" AKA shopping.
Kristina Rivero, Production Assistant
Kristina has been sewing for as long as she can remember. When she was small, she wanted to make clothing to dress her dolls in, but her parents didn't think it would be appropriate for her to sew at her age. They changed her minds and let her try it after she insisted trying to make the clothes anyway by stapling fabric together to create miniature designs. It's been a lifelong practice of hers ever since. Outside of her sewing endeavors, Kristina works with youth and children's programs at her local library. She also enjoys camping and has an extremely photogenic cat.
Olive, Kristina's photogenic cat.