Interview with Designer Emma Manley

I am a huge fan of designer Emma Manley's new label Manley. Her use of contrasting fabrics and feminine silhouettes are incredibly flattering and luxurious. I already snatched up one of her dresses as soon as I had the chance and I highly recommend you doing the same!! I see big things for this lady.

When did you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Honestly I can’t pin point a certain day or time. Its not like a fairy tale where I woke up and knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Fashion was an industry I was brought up in. My Mum was a a fashion designer and I grew up watching her cut patterns and turn them into beautiful gowns. Id sit alongside her as she hand beaded the bodice of a wedding dress and hand her bead after bead thinking I was helping! When it came to deciding on a career, for me there was no decision to be made. I didn't even have to think about what I wanted to do.

What advice would you give to graduates trying to get into the fashion industry?
Ask yourself one very simple question: How badly do you want this? If its anything less then 110%, your barking up the wrong tree!

What was it like when you first moved to New York in 2007?
Getting off the subway at Grand Central and walking up 5th Avenue to my first day in VPL ... come on. At that point I thought I had made it! I think New York was one of the most flippant and best decisions I made. There's throwing yourself in at the deep end and that's precisely what did. I moved to a huge city alone and 2 days later started my first internship. I learned more then I ever imagined I would and experienced allot for a kid of my age. I would advise it to any graduate, go, be brave, learn lots and have memories forever! 

You worked for Alexander McQueen, one of the biggest names in fashion! what was this experience like?
wanted to intern for two different companies that were on complete opposite ends of the scale. VPL was a luxury sportswear label that was still in its youth, McQueen on the other hand is a high end design house that is well established. 
The experience of working for McQueen was mind blowing. To actually be part of the process that created such extraordinary garments was an honor. For sure it was tough. Working for design houses like that includes 16 hour days filled with blood, sweat and tears. There are people shouting left, right and center, beautiful fit models half naked having pins poked into them every five seconds, celebrities coming in for their specially made gowns. Its on such a huge scale in there, the building is full tot he brim with people all on their own little mission.
I worked on the embroidery and embellishment team. No, to be honest, embroidery was something I was no more interested. Then I was shown the archive of embroidery and embellishments used by McQueen in the past and my interest quickly grew! It's incredible what they can do. 

Having worked in New York & London, do you think it is necessary to move abroad to gain experience?
Yeah, for sure. I think its the same for any discipline. You can always learn more from another city or country. London, New York, Dublin, Milan, they all have strengths and weaknesses and we can all learn from these, so why not? 

Who are some of your favorite designers?
Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Alexander Wang, VPL, Proenza Schouler. Highstreet wise ... Whistles. What those guys are doing right now, is incredible.

Where do you find your inspiration? 
Who knows! Usually my day dreams throw something at me! I'm always collecting pictures and I keep them under my bed so whenever I need a little inspiration I reach under my bed and my trusty thought supply gives me what I need! I love moments captured. Its not necessarily the most interesting composition that gets me but the feeling surrounding pictures.  

What kind of woman do you design for?
She’s a Lady! She’s someone who is not afraid to take chances with her wardrobe. She enjoys casual and slouchy mostly but knows when to throw on a beautiful evening dress and wear it like its her second skin. She cherishes every piece of clothing in her wardrobe and only buys garments that she is in love with. Getting dresses is a pleasure and a process to be enjoyed time after time. She fun and quietly confident!

Where can we buy your designs?
Directly from me:
Spitalfields market from March

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Karen Lee said…
ooh love the jacket in the fifth picture!! Gorgeous...
Michelle said…
Love your blog x

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