Where did the idea for Maifattura Donna come from?
The idea for Manifattura came from my conversations with friends - professional, working women. I felt I could improve their lives by designing clothes that will make them feel more confident at work, and hence, improve their career. Manifattura Donna designs are flexible enough to adapt to their busy lifestyle - thanks to detachable accessories. They also make them feel professional, but at the same time confident with their body.
I also observed that there is a need to make women understand how important it is to invest in a high quality outfit. It looks like men are still much more concerned about work wear. I would even risk an opinion that this may be one of the reasons why men often earn more than women. I believe that especially in work you have to show you value yourself if you want others to value you.
How would you describe the latest collection and what was the inspiration?
I don’t believe in ‘trends’ – I think that trying to convince people they have to buy a new outfit every season is a way of pushing them to spend more. It is also dangerous as producing clothes damages the environment – the more you produce, the more toxins are emitted, and the worse it is for the planet.
I try to identify universal trends, observe powerful influential women and get inspiration from nature or travelling. I make sure I incorporate our core values (Style Success, Sustainability) in everything we do. In terms of Style I often source my inspiration from mysterious, classy, sensual female characters featured in black and white movies. In terms of Success - I observe the style of influential females – working in politics, business - and try to ‘translate’ the power they communicate through their clothes into Manifattura Donna designs. In terms of Sustainability - I get inspiration (especially in terms of colours, forms) from the beauty of nature. My most important source of inspiration are clients and friends who wear Manifattura Donna clothes - I make sure all the designs are useful and relevant to their lives!
Why do you think women need empowerment?
Those days women live under increasing pressure – there are so many different roles we have to play. We want to be Successful at work, look Stylish and beautiful but, at the same time, live a Sustainable life. I believe it is important to show that it is possible to have it all but also remind women not to focus on only one aspect of their lives (such as career or Style) as this may result in making their existence superficial.
How would you define success?
Success is not a one-off achievement – it’s a lifestyle. It’s like a beautiful Shirt or Dress that makes you feel great - you wear it for the whole day. Successful lifestyle is about achieving objectives (that may vary for different people). It’s Sustainable – consists of living, reaching for dreams but without harming others or ourselves. It’s Stylish – we allow ourselves to make it as beautiful as possible!
Why do you think clothes and style are so key to success for women?
As mentioned before – in particular in the work environment – it’s important to demonstrate you value and respect yourself to be respected by others. Psychological studies demonstrate that what we are wearing has an unbelievable influence on our self-esteem and confidence.
We all know that we judge others by appearances. I would say what we wear consists of 90% of our appearance. We all know that first impressions influence the course of the conversation and often what results we are able to achieve.
A friend of mine – a style psychologist – has helped many people to increase their number of clients, and their revenue, by making sure they choose the right, high quality, elegant work wear. We both agree that the right style doesn’t have anything to do with the so called ‘trends’ of the moment.
I set up my company, because I am certain Manifattura Donna designs can empower women, raise their self-esteem and confidence, and hence significantly improve their careers and lives. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it – offering a different kind of dress wouldn’t interest me.
How do you ensure that your brand provides customers with real luxury?
My definition of luxury is underpinned by the values we promote. At Manifattura Donna we call it: Luxury – the right way. We believe luxury can only be Sustainable – true quality has to be produced by people who love their jobs - and their lives. We only produce in Italy and London, and use the finest fabrics. We give our clients something that is important to them, makes them feel special - we understand their need for Success and offer a made to measure ‘lifestyle design’ service. We also show them respect by promoting Style that is multi-seasonal, we don’t want to adapt to the changing trends and push them to spend on clothes they will not be using next season.
How do you see the relationship between sustainability and quality?
As mentioned before – I believe that true quality can only be produced with love, in fair working conditions, by people who love their work and their life. That is what we mean by: Luxury, the right way.
I don’t think it’s possible to achieve anything valuable without taking other people into account – our lives are strongly connected to the world around us. That’s why we aspire to build lives, careers, plans on Sustainability. We apply the same approach to our designs, our lives and Manifattura Donna’s development.
Please, tell me more about how Manifattura Donna is working to help empower women?
Our primary focus is to make sure we offer designs that will truly make our clients feel more confident - we make sure they incorporate our core values – Sustainability, Style and Success. We also consult style psychologists and coaches to make sure our designs will make our clients feel as we want them to feel and other people will react to their outfits in the way we want them to react.
We offer a made to measure ‘lifestyle design’ package that allows busy, professional women the opportunity to discuss subjects that are really relevant to their Career and Life. We come to their homes or offices to make the consultation more practicable.
We are in the process of appointing our Ambassadors – women who will inspire friends to discuss Sustainability, Success and Style in their workplaces and homes in order to improve their lives.
We work with professional coaches, stylists and psychologists to deliver events that truly improve our clients’ careers.
We make sure we invest time and energy to use social media – Twitter, Facebook, blogs to share important, inspiring information with our clients.
We would like to inspire women to give meaning to their lives, to focus on what they really want. Our mission is to help them achieve that through raising their confidence, encouraging them to believe that they can have it all!
Who would you most love to see wearing your clothes?
Manifattura Donna designs are meant to improve the lives of all women. We design for 20-year-olds as well as 80-year-old clients. Our designs are extremely universal. They make young or slim girls look extremely classy, elegant and feminine but, at the same time, are highly flattering to older ladies, and the designs are slimming for larger women as well.
I’m 29, size 6 and love looking at myself in the mirror, hearing compliments, feeling confident in my Manifattura Donna dress and shirt. I love listening to my successful female friends, who tell me about how Manifattura Donna designs make them feel confident, beautiful and special at work. But, to be honest, it gives me as much satisfaction to see a 60-year-old-women, size 16, who spent most of her life at home raising children, putting on one of our dresses and looking at herself in the mirror – with admiration and sometimes with a slight surprise in her eyes. Our clothes make her look professional, feminine and I know they make her feel she still has plenty of time to reach for her dreams. It makes me want to cry from happiness – that’s when I really feel we are doing something very important.