If it’s good enough for Beyonce its good enough for us at House of Coco. MANFREDONIA is a very exciting brand, it doesn’t need an intro.
Over to Anthony to tell us more about his label…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Technically, I launched the MANFREDONIA brand 2 years ago. This Fall 2015 will be the 4thseason for the brand. I was previously ANTHONY MANFREDONIA but that name was considered a bit too long for the namesake brand. However, I am reintroducing the ANTHONY MANFREDONIA label as a diffusion line for this upcoming season, and I’m really excited about the direction of the diffusion line. It will give a really cool downtown edgy vibe to the company that is more within reach of the average consumer.
Whats your background?
I was always interested in the arts. I just never knew where to focus my career path. While I was involved in the Parsons School of Design Summer Program for high school students, I decided on a whim to try the Fashion Design course. It was unbelievable how all the pieces just fell into place, and I knew I had found my calling. In fact, at the end of the course, the Chairman of Parsons Fashion Department asked me to apply to the schools BFA program. Fashion has been a love of mine ever since.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
There are 4 people including myself right now. In a small company like mine, we all have to be very versatile in our abilities, but we all have our strengths that we lean towards to get all the aspects needed finished.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
I would have found my “voice” in the fashion industry faster. It took a little while to figure out what my aesthetic is and develop my corsetry work into the core identity of my brand.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Financials. They are always the hardest challenge for any startup company. However, as difficult as it is to deal with, this hurdle has really taught me how to make amazing collections and designs from a very tight budget! You learn to turn the struggles and setbacks into positives. You let those lessons teach you what you need to survive, and when you finally figure it out, you know how to survive through any hard time you will face in the future.
Not many people know that I grew up in a construction-oriented family. My father is a Professional Estimator and Project Manager in the Construction industry, and my older brother studied Architecture and is employed as a Project Manager as well. Growing up my parents taught me a wide range of home improvement skills using the same techniques that a Handyman/General Contractor would use. I actually use that to my advantage in my own business. I use those techniques to build infrastructures for my corsets and garments. You wouldn’t think that the fields of Construction and Fashion could cross over, but some of the same principles do apply to constructing both a building, a corset or a dress. It’s just done with different materials. I guess you can consider me a Fashion Engineer of sorts!
2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
Well, that is the million dollar question for my brand right now! I’m actually achieving my dream of going International faster than I could ever have hoped for! I’m now in Red Vatican across the pond in London, and I’m going to show in London Fashion Week as part of a group show on the 19th of February. Right now, I’m in the process of figuring out the details for several other opportunities which are developing in the next few months.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
One word……….BEYONCE! Last December I found out I was the key look of her “No Angel”video of her self-titled, history making album. She wore my elastic corset over my neoprene swimsuit from my Spring 2014 Collection. It was a total surprise that it happened in the first place, and that she wore my designs. It was like hitting the fashion jackpot!
What is the one product you would recommend from your range for Valentines day?
Definitely, one of my corsets! Nothing say sensuality and romance like a corset from my collections. The designs really do speak for themselves.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
I want to expand my international presence and break into the wholesale market much more. The introduction of the diffusion line will also be a fantastic journey.
Where can people find out more?
Photographs by Tereza Janacova