International Women's Day: Isabel Manns

Q&A with womenswear designer and founder, Isabel Manns.

Tell us about your role and your business…

I am the Founder and Creative Director of British contemporary womenswear brand, Isabel Manns. We design high end reversible clothing that is all sustainably made in London. Our clothes offer customers two outfits in one: featuring a print side, designed by me and a plain side so that they have multiple ways of wearing each item. We try to buy British wherever possible and have very little fabric waste as we use the surplus fabric to make scarfs and headbands as well as art pieces for our Marylebone store. 

What inspired you to choose a career in fashion design?

I see fashion as a form of art. I always loved painting and generally being creative when I was growing up and my mother taught me to sew from a young age. I loved the idea of creating my own fabrics and then turning it into something that you can wear. 

Based on your own experience, what advice would you have for women wanting to get into your industry, or start a business of their own?

Get as much industry experience and meet as many people as possible who you can ask for their advice and opinion. There will be times when you doubt yourself and that's the time you need the support of others, even if it is just your family and friends.

What does International Women’s Day and this year's theme ‘Break the Bias’ mean to you?

I have been very lucky to work with female-led/owned businesses in the UK, especially in my supply chain. I am glad that women in business are being talked about more as we should have equal rights in every way when it comes to us working in any industry. I pick my business partnerships by merit, having said that, I am constantly trying to support other women in business whether it's us working with women-led businesses or mentoring other women.