It’s not every day we get obsessed, so pay attention. This impossibly pretty and trendy Irish designer blossoms as she continues to turn heads with her brand Manley, a playful collection of feminine and delicate yet modern designs. Emma Manley’s a precocious lady with a Narnia-esque imagination- a dazzling sandy blonde, a modern muse with a beaming smile and infectious personality. Her hard graft is admirable; like all upcoming designers, she’s living, working, and breathing fashion. “My mum was a designer herself, so she was against me going into it, and pretty much encouraged me to go into anything other than fashion. I started doing a foundation course, and just fell for it.” Since then, Emma’s career has gone global; from interning in New York to London, where she interned with the über-talented British designer Alexander McQueen.
Emma returned to Ireland to make her mark and her eponymous label has been growing ever since. We adore the Manley aesthetic. “I had all the energy and positivity. I worked seven days a week. I craved success.” Dressing celebrities such as Kathryn Thomas, Aoibhín Garrihy and Amy Huberman, Emma was destined to be on our radar before long. So who really inspires her? “I love Proenza Schouler’s work and Simone Rocha’s is incredibly beautiful- she has achieved so much in such a short space of time.”
The Manley Spring/Summer 2014 collection is a cluster of studs, leathers and bold colours, contrasting with soft silks and chiffons, adding a playful twist to make this collection her very own. The label’s Instagram account is the go-to place to get a glimpse of the girl behind the brand, and gives a colourful insight into her life and work behind the scenes. So what’s next?
“Hopefully, big things – 2014 is where it has to happen. We’re currently working on accessory designs for next year, but our first stop is London Fashion Week in February, which I’m really excited about.” Her head is down, she’s focused, but what does she do in her spare time? “I love a good dinner party – food, wine and great friends. I’m also a gig goer – that’s my idea of a fun night out.” Emma is a ball of fire, a young designer making it all happen. She has a bundle of energy and an appetite like no other, and we continue to swoon over the girl who’s taking centre stage.