From designing dresses for her friends to launching her brand, the story of the rise of one of the hottest names in UK fashion right now is one you'll want to know. We sat down with fashion brand founder Isabel Mann's to talk all things from launching her own brand with the same namesake to upcoming collection.
What was the inspiration for starting your brand?
I saw a gap in the market for high-end reversible clothing that is sustainably made in the UK.
How difficult is it for someone to start their own brand?
It depends how much experience someone has prior to starting their own brand but it is very hard.
Where does one start when Launching a brand?
I started quite organically because I used to make custom dresses for friends and then that expanded to friends of friends. After a larger bespoke order I decided to find some small ateliers in London as I needed some help. I then thought why not also make a small collection of reversible clothing, with my savings, and see how it does as I had this idea for quite a long time!
Would you say your background of being a graduate from the world renowned New york based fashion school, Parson school of design and working for some of the worlds biggest brands including Burberry, Emilia Wickstead and even Elle Magazine, has helped you gain extensive knowledge in the industry and put you on a platform to launch from?
Yes, Parsons definitely got me ready for the industry. They were always pushing us to the best of our ability and were extremely keen on sustainability. My experience at every internship taught me crucial things that have helped me to this day.
Would you say this has given you an advantage over competitors?
Perhaps, but I think anyone with good experience could do the same.
Let's talk about the name of your brand, you've named it after yourself, was there a particular reason for this?
When I decided to launch my own brand I didn’t even think of another option other than my name! It is my brand that I completely design and run myself so it made sense for it to be named after me.
When it comes to designing a new collection,where do you start?
I always start with designing the prints.
Are there any creative processes you go through each time? Or do you find yourself approaching the designing process differently each time?
Yes, I always start with a mood board then I paint the prints and create them into a repeat print ready to be printed. Then I design the styles of clothing and choose the fabrics. Once I have received the printed fabric swatches I start to narrow down my options.
Have you ever designed something for an upcoming collection and not liked the outcome? Where do you go at that point?
Sometimes yes! However, I either then cut it out of the collection or adapt and change it.
Some designers overlap their collections, with links between each collection instead of designing something completely new. Is this a process you have adopted?
This is something I am thinking about doing even more so now as I believe it is important to design clothing that can be mixed and matched with other seasons.
Let's speak a little about your latest collection, the A/W 20 Collection, what was the inspiration behind the pieces?
I was inspired by the rocky region in Costa Brava as I went there on holiday last summer with my family. The huge rocks were overwhelmingly beautiful and I suddenly felt a wave of inspiration so during that week I started sketching print ideas.
Is there anything you can tell us about the SS 21 collection?
I will not actually be making a Spring/Summer 2021 collection this year as I feel that due to this current situation it will be more valuable to design a collection that can be worn throughout all seasons rather than just in the summer and so I will be doing a “Capsule Collection”. I am in the process of designing it now and rather than launching it in September I will wait a little longer to see when the best time is to launch it.
I think it is important now to design things that people actually want and need rather than sticking to the usual fashion schedule as so much has changed.
Using just 3 words how would you describe your brand?
Reversible, timeless and British.
Isabel, thank you for your time.
You can shop the full Isabel Manns collection over at www.isabelmanns.com