Emily Maree discusses Paris Fashion Week, Kate Mara and Irish designers with internationally-renowned designer Emma Manley
Emma Manley’s new collection is inspired by letting go of the past and going into the future. This A/W season, we’re shown the brave, gutsy side of the Manley woman. The colour palette mixes tones of teal and warm orange that have a ‘delicate retro vibe’ with head-turning burnished gold and silver leather, patent red, space age white and seductive black patent leather that shows a brand new side of Manley. The embellishment reinforces the theme of letting go – hand-cut leather circles are studded onto perforated leather and held on with antique brass studs. This with the mixture of contrasting fabrics and light silks, wool and leather create a new Manley collection with a autumnal twist.
When were your first thoughts about starting your own brand?
I suppose it was always on the back burner. I had my first label when I was 19, in college and in need of cash so I made coats, jackets and dresses and sold them on the stall at the weekend. I gave that up to take up a full-time styling job. Manley was born again four years later!
Who are your main style influences?
I don’t look to designers for style influence. They release their collections the same time as I do so I wouldn’t gain anything from that. I look to love and life to inspire my collections and believe me, there’s enough there to keep me going for a lifetime.
Who would you love to see your work styled on?
My current girl crush, Kate Mara.
Where will you be showing this fashion season?
Although you have gained a lot of international popularity of late, you’re always involved in Irish events like Glamour at the G, etc. Do you find that there is a lot of Irish pride going into your work?
Hell yeah. My main customer base is in Ireland so I do events all around Ireland. Why just do events abroad when your customers are here?
What are your thoughts on the rise of Irish designers?
Its our time and we’ll strike while the iron’s hot. We have been put on the backburner for long enough. I think the fashion world is really starting to recognise that there is a lot of talent coming out of Ireland right now, mainly thanks to the big names like Simone Rocha, J.W. Anderson and Danielle Romeril drawing attention to us. Let’s hope they keep their eyes on us and watch our growth. We’re capable of a lot, with the right supports.
Who is the Emma Manley woman?
She’s deadly! She’s the kind of girl who doesn’t see dressing up as a chore. She dresses up for work and always puts her best foot forward. Her wardrobe is not a hassle for her but a pleasure. She loves adding to it and investing in beautiful designer pieces and vintage and pulls them out season after season. She observes trends but is never led by them. She’s herself, her very best self!
What advice do you have for young designers starting out?
Be patient. Be persistent. Have plenty of passion for what you do. If you’re not fond of a hard slog, then go work for someone else.
What does the future hold for Emma Manley? Where would you like to see the brand in five years?
I am so proud of what Manley has achieved thus far but I know how much more we’re capable of. In five years I’m confident that Manley will be a sought-after luxury womenswear fashion and accessories label sold worldwide. I look forward to the journey in getting there, thats where all the fun is at!