1. For introduction, could you first tell us a few words about Manuela - the person?
Hm. I don't know if there is anything interesting to tell about me. I was born in a small city in Hungary, I am from a basic family with lots of talent. My father worked in a theater as a scenic designer for years, so I grew up in the theater walking around the departments and of course my favorite was the costume department.
I have studied at Mome and after graduation I lived in Helsinki for 6 years. I came back to Hungary because I was missing the colorful life and the vibe of Budapest, and mostly my family.
2. And now Manuela - the brand?
But in 2011. I started to design kids clothes. I do not follow the conservative way of the actual season’s cuts, colors and fabrics, but freely flowing from one season to another. I might use the same fabrics, but just die them to another color. Or same cuts but different details. So I change things one by one and at the end you do not recognize the original one anymore.
3. How did it all start? Why kids clothes?
Then I have designed more and more for women in Helsinki where I was living back in that time. And then I got 2 lovely daughters so my interest has shifted to kids designs.
We moved back to Hungary at 2010. and I started to mix the Scandinavian simplicity with the Hungarian decorative style on kids clothes.
4. So you have a daughters, to which extent do they influence your work?
First of all I pay attention to what do they need in everyday life and on special occasions.
I find leggings on kids very practical and we use a lot of them. So I designed some special printed leggings which can be worn for festivities as well.
Every piece I design I ask my daughters to try on, and they love it :) They also tell their opinion and I listen their to feedback. But of course, they always love everything mom makes :)
As my daughters are growing the sizes will grow too, so I think we will end up with the women's line again.
5. What part of the creative process do you like best? Do you work alone?I love choosing fabrics and making the first prototypes. When I cut out the clothes from the fabric I start to be excited so much to sew it together and meanwhile I get lot of ideas how else I could use the same pattern or the same fabric. I also like selling on markets to meet the customers and to listen to their feedback.
I love meeting little girls who get excited about the clothes and always feel sorry about them not getting everything what they would want to have :)
I mostly work alone, but of course there are sewers for production and also there are some nice friends who help me with other things besides production.
6. Do you have a 5-10-year plan, or do you just do it instinctively?
I do have an unwritten plan for the following years. I would like to sell to shops abroad and start working solely on my own brand. At the moment I still have a part time job.
And maybe later on when my daughters have grown they could take over the company. But if not I would understand.
7. Favourite Hungarian designers!
Of course Nanushka, she is great and doing so well!
8. Favourite foreign designers!
There are many good designers who I like some items from, but I do not have an ideal to follow. I do what I get in my own head :)
Thank you Manuela!
You can get Manuela in her webshop or here. It is also worth following her on facebook to get up to date info on which fair she will be at.