Fashion & Lifestyle Blog


Insider Interview: From NY to London to Ireland. Meet Irish Designer Emma Manley

After honing her craft at VPL in New York and Alexander McQueen in London, Irish Designer Emma Manley was eager to curate a new and thoroughly relevant fashion offering for the womenswear arena. With fashion in her blood, we were excited to catch up with the hot Irish designer ahead of the Arc Fashion Show on March 10th at the RDS, Dublin, where she will showcase her current collection.

1. What inspired you to get into Fashion Design?
My Mum was a fashion designer, I grew up watching her turn beautiful fabrics into a bride's dream wedding dress. That’s pretty magical for a kid you’ve got to admit, all very fairy-taleish! As a special treat I was allowed to sit in on fittings, I would hold the pin box and carefully hand the pins to Mum, I really felt part of the process and thought I was practically making the dress!
When C.A.O time came round, there was nothing else I really felt passionate about doing.

2. How long have you been designing?
Since I got my first sewing machine aged four! Designing for Manley though, three years.

3. What has been your biggest challenge to date in the industry?
Learning the business of fashion! The fashion game is a big one and one that has many players. Finding that little bit of space for your label to take part in the game is tough work.

4. What are you most proud of as an Irish Designer?
Keeping my label 'Manley' alive and kicking through tough times. Lets face it, the past five years haven’t been kind to any of us but I always felt that if Manley could survive the recession, it would then thrive in the years to follow. I am excited to see what Manley is capable of without the noose of the recession around its neck.

5. Do you think Irish women have a particularly good sense of style?
Absolutely and its only getting better. I think we are becoming more confident in our own skin and learning how to dress according to what compliments our shape and colouring as opposed to just trying to stick rigidly to trends.

6. What advice would you give to any young fashion designers starting out with their craft and studies who may be finding it challenging?
Determination, patience and persistence are three things that are a must if you’re looking for a career in fashion design. It’s a labour of love, you need to be head over heels about it.

7. What can we expect to see in your collection at the RDS on March 10th next?
SS14 see’s patent, perforated and metallic leathers take centre stage. Delicate studding and hand cut leather embellishment adds a very feminine twist to the Manley girl this season.  

Silk and chiffon feature heavily throughout SS14 which contrasts against heavier fabrics such as woven knits and leathers.

Beautifully draped jerseys are used to add an element of ease to this refined collection.
As always, layering is key and playing with asymmetrical lengths is a must. Woven wools and raw silks are layered over soft flowing chiffons, which tames any over the top femininity that peeks through. Once again, reinforcing Manley's contradictory theme.

                                                   EMMA MANLEY

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