Manley A/W2011 – Designer Q&A with Emma Manley

Hey All,

I’m really buzzed, and honoured to be posting this. It’s the new Autumn/Winter 2o11 look book from Irish fashion house, Manley.

Of the designs, Manley says; ‘Feminine frivolity and urban street-wear, juxtapose to make garments both hard and soft, powerful and preciously delicate at once’. The latest Manley collection has continued to incorporate elements used in Spring /Summer ’11 – like sheer fabrics contrasted against leather, studding detail, leather flowers, soft tailoring and a simple, monochromatic palette with neutral-shade highlights.

(Click images twice for a closer look!)

Of A/W 2011 they say; ‘Manley A/W 11 continues the inclusion of an unusual combination of luxurious fabrics. Her inspired collection includes both naturalistic and rugged fabrics including merino wools, mohair and pigskin, uniquely teamed with delicate chiffon and cotton shell.

I was also lucky enough to grab a few words with its inspirational owner/designer and Dubliner Emma Manley, to find out a little more about her and the latest Manley collection.

WHISTY:  So has it sunk in yet? You’ve just launched of your second collection; this is your job!? You own and design your own fashion label, how does it feel?

EMMA MANLEY: I try not to dwell on it. Right now, there’s an insane amount of work involved. As a one-lady brand, I’m forever learning things that maybe aren’t so natural to me – e.g. cost sheets, html. But what comes with that is the freedom of designing my collections season after season. I truly love what I do and I just hope I’m lucky enough to make a living out of it so that I can continue doing it forever.

W: After the incredible response you received for your S/S11 collection, how did you find designing a follow-up? Did you approach it in the same way or did you use knowledge gained from S/S11?

E.M.: Designing and producing S/S11 was a huge learning curve for me. It was my first real collection so there were plenty of hurdles to overcome. I got through it and at the end had a collection that I was proud of. Though I knew next time, I could go further. The only way of getting better is to learn from your mistakes. People’s reactions to A/W11 will tell all. I’m fast learning that the proof is in the bottom line.

W: Did you / do you get nervous before a launch?

E.M.: Absolutely! Good nerves though. Any collection that I launch is one that has been in the making for well over a year. That means me, and the four walls of my studio have lived and breathed that collection for a long time …. alone! To go from that to having the collection plastered over the pages of a lookbook for all to see and possibly criticise is kind of daunting.

W: Do you show the collection to friends and family for their feedback before you launch publicly?

E.M.: Always. Everyone that sees it, sees it for a reason. For example, my Mum was a designer so she looks at the collection from a technical point of view. She’ll cast a critical eye to pick out something that’s not sitting right or cut correctly. My sister is a bit of a fashion fiend so when she sees the collection it’s all about getting her feedback on what she’s loving and what she’s not so keen on. Like I said, everyone has their angle for constructive criticism and it’s all accepted greatly. I can’t be the only one to like the collection!

W: With so few well-known Irish designers around, do you think there is more or less pressure on you to create something fabulous?

E.M.: Pressure will always be there to design something different and wonderful; that’s the aim of the game. For me, most of the pressure comes from myself, wanting to better the last collection and go the extra mile each and every time. Whether or not there are 1,000 great designers in Ireland to keep up with or 10, makes no difference. If you’re all doing something unique enough, and well enough, you’re not competing with each other, you’re just tending to different parts of the market.

W: I see that you have successfully incorporated elements of the S/S11 collection into autumn / winter; sheer fabrics, leather details and a similar palette. Is this going to be a Manley trademark or just a Manley 2011 thing?

E.M.: A huge part of the Manley aesthetic is the contradictory theme. Mixing hard and soft, powerful and delicate, strict tailoring with frivolous layering. Leather and chiffon have contributed to this theme for the last two collections. They are fabrics I adore working with and right now, they suit the collections I’m working on. As for the colour palette, my base colours will possibly always be my base colours, it’s the highlighted colours that will change. In saying that, who knows, maybe I’ll have a change of heart one day and think that grey is the devil. In that case, not only would I have to change my colour palette, I’d have to throw out 50% of my wardrobe too!

W: You also describe your aesthetic as feminine without being overly girly (brilliantly executed in my humble opinion) is that because you think that’s how most women see themselves / their style?

E.M.: Women are feeling that bit more powerful than before. They dress to be taken seriously, but there will always be that little bit of us, that wants girlish fuss. I like the idea of wearing something that has an element of power and strength, such as a suit jacket and then underneath having a dress that is made up of layers upon layers of chiffon. Or a demure dress that drapes over your body without boasting your curves, but when you look twice, you see mega slits inconspicuously showing your pins off.

W: Can you sum up the AW11 Manley collection in five words?
E.M.: Hard. Soft. Power. Seductive. Unique.

For further information please view or contact Emma Manley at:

E: info@emmamanley.com

P: +353 {0} 864077777

W: www.emmamanley.com


T: @emmamanley


Have a great weekend peeps!


Whisty Xx


3 Responses to “Manley A/W2011 – Designer Q&A with Emma Manley”

  1. July 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Great interview, really enjoyed reading the post. Love Emma’s latest collections, she’s really evolving as a designer.

  2. July 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Great interview, really gives a good insight into Emma Manley’s processes – plus I bloody love her stuff. Those dresses and shirts are really well tailored. Especially love the grey dress in the second to last picture.

  3. July 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    really enjoyed this!

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