Q and A...

Various bloggers have been emailing me over the past few weeks with questions so I have done my best to try and answer some of them…

How did Manuela Dack come about?

I started the label just after graduating. During my degree I took a year off so that I could go to New York and work for Alexander Wang, I already had experience working in Paris and London for Hussein Chalayan and Qasimi while studying. You learn so much more in a short time working in the industry than you ever could at university, and working at Alexander Wang was just the inspiration I needed.

What is the Manuela Dack vibe?
Manuela Dack is about modern luxury. What makes something luxurious and special in today’s world is design and craftsmanship.

For me the difference between good design and bad design is design that is intelligent and informed, not necessarily overly ‘conceptual’ but considered aesthetically rather than just something that looks good.

I try to design something innovative whether I’m looking at smart materials, combining contradictory fabrics or researching something unusual that challenges me.

I remember Hussein Chalayan saying ‘if you don’t aim to design something new then what is the point’ and I think he is right, it is important to always move forward and aim to make things better and new again.

What is your main inspiration?

The inspiration for my graduate collection was tribal scarring and marking. I found this incredible photograph of a Polynesian girl standing on a canoe naked with her body covered in elaborate markings and that’s where my research started. I’m fascinated by what makes something ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ and different cultures perceptions of that. To the western culture the idea of ritual scarring is shocking and unattractive, but in many cultures it expresses beauty, power and worth.

So I wanted to create a collection that borrowed this idea and adapted it for our western culture. I looked at marking and embellishment and layering fabrics with detail in-between.

I always like my design inspiration to come from somewhere outside of the fashion world, whether it’s photography, architecture, nature, film or art. I don’t think it’s wise to base your ideas purely on fashion because those ideas have already been edited for the fashion industry and so your automatically limiting yourself.

At the moment the next collection is still in development stage but it is based around memory and nostalgia, with a very modern twist.

I am obsessed with contrast and balance, such as using hard materials with soft famine fabrics, or a traditional reserved shape in an unconventional fabric.

Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

Id love to be able to be able to have a house somewhere remote on a beach and spend the morning surfing and the afternoon working in the studio.

I love the thought of spending part of the year in London, New York or Paris and part of the year on a beach somewhere hot.

My Dad was a professional yachtsman when he was young and my mum spent years working out in Iran before they were married. Now they live in the Cayman Islands, where I grew up, so travelling and being near the sea is in my blood.

Although I love life in London and when ever I’m away I miss the energy and my friends, I often feel most inspired in Cayman and it’s where I develop a lot of my research. It’s a great place to clear my mind and get away from the fashion media noise.

Which are your all time personal favourite Manuela Dack pieces?

Definitely the leather jackets from this season. I have a black suede one with red and black dip dyed chiffon, I live in it. The original design was part of my gradate collection and it was so popular me decided to extend the collection for S/S ’10.

Who are your style icons?
My friend Christina Smith, the photographer, she has immaculate taste.

Also the accessories designer who worked at Alexander Wang had a sense of style that really resonated with me. It takes military precision to dress that well and have it look effortless, I wish I had the patience to do that every day.

In your career so far which moment has meant the most to you?

Probably being featured on Italian Vogue.com

If you could live in another city for one year of your life where would you go?

Well I’ve already spent time living in Milan and New York over the years and have traveled a lot so it’s really hard to say. I loved South America so maybe there, or Japan would be an amazing experience.

Which are your favorite books?

There are so many to choose from but the Virgin Suicides, The Old Man and the Sea, On the road, Perfume and For Esme~ with Love and Squalor are a few that spring to mind.

What do you like to do outside of fashion?

I love to travel but I’m most happy just hanging out at home in Cayman or London with my friends and family, cooking and eating together.

Which are some of your favorite films?

Again, Really difficult to choose just a few but The Graduate, The Great Gasby, Belle De Jour, anything by Wes Anderson, Sophia Coppola, Michel Gondry or Gus Van Sant.

Also I recently saw I Am Love which was amazing.

Who inspires you creatively?

Artist, designers (from all fields not just fashion), and photographers or whatever random thing I’m into at the time. I’m really curious about everything and the smallest detail can give me the idea that starts a whole collection.

Where is your favourite place in London?

Probably Angel I lived there when I fist moved to London because it feels like a little village in a huge city. There are some great vintage stores and restaurants I go to alot.

Which are your favourite stores?

Machine-A, Dover Street Market, Bang Bang, The Shop at Blue Bird, Browns, and Evolution and Opening Ceremony in NY.

Which artists do you like?

I like so many and for so many different reasons. I was really into Paula Rego, Nicola Hicks and Francis Bacon when I was a school. I also really like Mat Collishaw and Polly Morgan, Brion Nuda Rosch, Eric White, Robert Longo, Elizabeth Peyton and Gavin Potenza.

I have a lot of friends who are artists. It’s great to be surrounded by so many people doing really exciting work, it pushes you to produce something interesting and relevant.

What do I think about bloggers?

Well my boyfriend is one, he started Environmental Graffiti, so I suppose that’s a good indication!

I think it’s great that anyone can be on an equal level and have their voice and I love that people get so passionate about their own quirky interests. I started Silver Cleaver a few years ago as an easy way of filing links and images I liked. I still find it slightly bizarre that people like to read it but it’s nice to be able to share images I like with the world.

I would say that I read blogs more than mainstream fashion journalism. I like that it’s unbiased, on the whole, and the best ones like Hologram City, don’t really care what people think they just put out what they like, it’s more raw.

Who are your favourite photographers?

Bill Henson, Neil Krug, Christina Smith, Paolo Roversi, Rob Kulisek, Yamamoto Masao, Hiroshi Sugimoto to name just a few.

Which blogs do you like to read?

Style Bubble, Gnarlitude, Jak and Jil, Fashionologie, The Sebly, Hologram City, Lovers in Highschool, ffffound, Rad Dudes... (the list is never ending)

What are you into right now?

Mirage magazine, tan lines, Ricard Neutra architecture, photographs of the sea and dachshunds.