Isabel Manns

Victoria House, London UK.15th February 2020. Isabel Manns shows her Autumn Winter 2020 designs at their catwalk show at London Fashion Week. © Chris Yates

Hi Isabel, huge congratulations on your recent Lfw presentation, it was incredible, as you know I’m a huge fan of the brand so talk us through…

The evolution of the brand: How did it all come about?

I had an amazing year in New York working for a high-end eveningwear designer Alexandra Vidal who taught me everything about running a business. Once I moved back to London I started designing custom dresses for private clients, as I knew that I wanted to set up my own label at some point in the near future. A few months after moving back I decided to take the plunge and start my label officially.

What does a typical day in the life of Isabel Manns look like?

Every day is so different because we are such a small team that I do a lot of everything! It varies from being completely immersed in excel spreadsheets looking over the finances or pricing my items, to visiting my London based factories, meeting customers, sourcing fabrics, designing prints or working out how to design styles that will fit perfectly onto the fabric roll without much waste.

Who is your typical customer?

As the clothing is reversible they are great for people who travel a lot for work and need multiple outfits but may only be travelling with hand luggage or if they have to attend multiple formal events. My customers range from their mid 20’s to 60s. They all have one thing in common though which is that they need multiple outfits without wanting to buy lots of different outfits.

Who is your Ultimate style muse?

I love Poppy Delevingne’s style but as cliché as it sounds my customers are also my style muses.

When is your favourite era?

I love the 1960s due to the women’s fashion. They made such an effort correlating their outfits and dressing up.

Do you have a favourite style or print from your collections?

I love all my prints equally so that is a hard question! I do love the Scarlett Pebbles print, which is the red pebble print. I also like the reversible navy shiny velvet palazzo pants and kimono because from afar, they almost look like sequins but actually they are incredibly soft. This is also a new fabric for my brand so I always find that exciting.

You are famous for your reversible prints – is this part of your slow fashion ethos?

Yes, there is so much consumption in clothing. I grew up with my mother telling me to fix clothing rather than buying something new. If you have a well-made piece of clothing in a good quality fabric it should last a very long time. With it then being reversible, it means that you can wear it twice as often as well.

I love how you show a tiny pyramid of the total waste fabric at the end of each collection, no other brand does this but this is a huge part of your philosophy isn’t it?

Yes this is a big part of my brand. I want to be very transparent about my supply chain and how much waste we have. Larger waste fabric pieces that are not on our sculptures have been made into scarfs and pocket scarfs. We are continuing to think of exciting new ideas to use up the leftover fabric, which I am sure you will see in our next collection.

I love that your models are not just a Standard size and that you seem to embrace inclusivity, is this a conscious decision?

Yes, it is also very important for me to show that anyone can wear my clothing. I also had five friends wearing my clothes at the presentation, which was great because they looked so natural in my clothing. Next season I would love to push this more and have all ages wearing the collection.

Thank you so much Isabel

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