With endless passion and talent Manny Sanchez has set to change the way we think about scarves. Inspired by the sights of New York City his patterns are bold, brave, and most of all beautiful. ManuelleScarves are so versatile and unique. They’ll transform an ordinary look into something extraordinary. A bold imaginative scarf will give your look an unforgettable finish while an oversized scarf can serve as an elegant cover-up. No matter what your need Manuelle Scarves are the perfect wardrobe accessory.
BM: Behind every great name is a story. What is the story behind Manuelle Scarves?
MS: I named the scarf line after my grandmother Manuella. She lived most of her life in West New York and loved her square silk scarves. My father’s name is Manuel and my name is Manuel so I simply changed the last letter of my Grandmother’s name from A to E and added an L to give the name a more uniform and unisex appeal.
BM: How did you get into the business of designing scarves?
MS: I’ve been in the fabric business for many years working as a Textile Sales Agent for mills in Asia. I was introduced to digital printing a few years ago while on a business trip in Japan. I was instantly drawn to the amazing detail and vibrant colors these printers were able to achieve. At the time I was taking a digital design course at FIT NY, and my final assignment was to submit a marketable digital product. Luckily, with my connections in Asia I was able to ask one of my printers to print one of my photos on silk and make it into a square scarf. My teacher was extremely impressed with the presentation and encouraged me to look into exploring the product. I took her advice and started developing samples.
BM: How do you get your inspirations?
MS: My main inspiration comes from nature and urban landscapes. The diverse fashion I see in NYC inspires me greatly too.
BM: Can you describe your design process from conception to the final product?
MS: Before I start a new collection I like to create a storyboard. Once I decide on which direction I want to go in regards to color, mood, and theme I scout out locations and capture the images I need. It takes me about 2-3 days to edit the images and complete all the post-production necessary for printing. Once completed I send images off to my factory in Asia for printing.
BM: How long does it take to make one of your scarves?
MS: The printing process takes about 1-week to complete and the hemming of the scarves takes about 8 days. So, from start to finish for samples is about 3-weeks.
BM: What makes your scarves so unique?
MS: My scarves are digitally printed one-of-a-kind Photographs that I’ve taken.
BM: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
MS: Meeting production minimums with the printers in Asia and staying on budget are my biggest challenges.
BM: How would you advise someone, looking to follow in your career path, of best practices and pitfalls?
MS: Start small, make a few samples, and participate in weekend artisan markets. It’s a great way to get feedback from a vast demographic of people and get a feel for who your customers are. I’ve been able to tweak my collection with the feedback I received. After several markets you will have a pretty good idea of what is marketable and what isn’t. This will save you time and money in the long run.
BM: Your scarves are so versatile and can be worn so many ways. What is your favorite way to wear them?
MS: I like wearing my scarves bundled around my neck - keeps me cozy and warm during the cold winter months in NYC.
BM: Who is the girl that wear wears Manuelle Scarves? What is she like?
MS: My customers tend to be women who collect scarves and appreciate the art form of tying a scarf. The Manuelle girl knows how to wear a scarf for every season.
BM: Where can one buy your beautiful scarves?
MS: Manuelle Scarves are currently available on my website www.manuellescarves.com . I’ve also partnered with www.shopvault.com and www.shoplately.com. Great online stores with a wide range of beautiful collections. My collection is also available at the American Natural History Museum in NYC.
BM: What is next for you and your brand? Are there any special projects you’re working on that you can talk about?
MS: My goal in the next year is to expand the brand. I’m traveling to Cuba in May and plan on developing a series of scarves and swimsuit summer cover-ups with the images of Cuba. I’m also very excited to announce that I’ll be participating in the NYNow accessories trade show this August.
Interview by Nikki Neil Photos courtesy of Manuelle Scarves.