Where did the name of the brand derive from? Is there a significant meaning behind the name?
Finding a name for our brand was a quite tricky task in the beginning, since we needed it to be something that screams fashion but feels a bit personal to us as well. Luckily, there came a moment when we realized that the answer was right before us the whole time. The mannequin is one of the most useful and important tools of a dressmaker, it can be found in every space that has anything to do with fashion and it also happens to start with our initials (Melina + Anastasia), so we didn’t need any more signs to name our brand “The MAnnequin Collection”.
"Becoming a fashion designer has alway been a childhood dream for both of us."
What relationship and roles do you have together and with the brand? Do you both design? How did it start?
Two sisters. i.e. two souls, are the main components of The Mannequin Collection, Melina and Anastasia. Normally, Anastasia, being a technical yet creative mind, is responsible for designing pattern making and construction of all “MAnnequin” garments. Melina, on the other hand, undertakes everything related to the business part, i.e. marketing, financing, sales, strategy etc. The brand “The MAnnequin Collection” was officially launched in 2014. However, it all began 2 years before, when we started designing and making clothes that we couldn’t find in stores for ourselves. The positive feedback we received pretty soon by our friends and acquaintances, was a stepping stone to launching our business and sharing our designs with the rest of the world. Who knew that what had started as a hobby in a spare room of our house, would turn into an occupation for us.
What made you both want to be designers? Did you have a passion before you got into fashion?
Becoming a fashion designer, has always been a childhood dream for both of us. However, we both decided to follow different career paths, before we got into fashion. Anastasia studied Architecture, which proved to be a great foundation for her career in fashion design afterwards, whereas Melina, studied Finance in Milan. Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world was definitely an eye-opening experience for her.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Does the source change each season?
Our main source of inspiration, since the very beginning has been architecture, which has always been present in all our collections through the use of geometry, layering and the unexpected combinations of colors and textures. The general idea that remains constant season after season is that each garment should be a 3-d model representing the aesthetics of the brand.
“Our love and passion for fashion has been the key to overcome all difficulties and obstacles.”
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before creating The Mannequin Collection, what would it be?
Looking back we can find many things that we could have done in a different way, but then we realize that every setback, mistake or misfortune has helped us take a step further. In the long run, all the “negative” experiences were those that provided us with the greatest lessons. The best piece of advice we could have given ourselves back then, would be to do the exact same thing we have done already, i.e. to follow our instinct and be patient. Success never comes overnight.
What has been the most difficult challenge to face as designers? How did you overcome those challenges?
The hardest challenge actually, was starting the company. Having no previous experience in the field and with different backgrounds, launching the brand proved to be a really hard task in the beginning. From everyday misfortunes, like sewing machines breaking down in critical moments, to other issues, like building a professional image or even trusting the wrong people, this journey has never been a bed of the roses. Our love and passion for fashion has been the key to overcome all difficulties and obstacles.
Designing and producing in Greece, do you find it difficult to design for women on a global scale or is your intention to appeal to a niche group of women?
We both agree that our work cannot be loved and accepted by everyone! In fact, the world would be a really boring place if we all liked the same things, so we try not to block our creativity with that thought! We just hope that every collection liked even a little bit more than the previous one, is a success. Nevertheless, it is always a pleasant surprise whenever we receive positive feedback from the other side of the world and it really means a lot to us.
How do you want women to feel when they wear your clothes?
We address and design for the urban chic woman that wants to look and feel sophisticated, stylish, elegant, but most of all unique. She is the woman that is able to appreciate all the hard work and perfection that we put into our designs.
"We dream of a worldwide presence in the fashion world, without losing our identity in the process."
What is the greatest compliment you have received as designers regarding your brand or designs?
The highlight since launching was our very first collaboration with a concept store. It occurred, when the brand was transitioning from a hobby into a business. This amazing concept store in one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan was the very first to host our collections. Of course, being mentioned in the British Vogue, in the designers’ profile section, was another compliment, we are really proud about.
What are your favorite fashion trends in the industry right now? Will you incorporate those trends into your upcoming collections?
Although we like many elements of the current fashion scene, we are not very big fans of trends in general. We do try to follow the fashion world, but sometimes it can be pretty chaotic and confusing for us, so we follow our instinct instead. The two sections in which we always try to be relevant with the trends for every season are the color palettes and textures.
What do you see the future of your brand? What is the next step for The Mannequin Collection?
Our goal is to grow bigger and bigger, taking small steps as we have done since day one. Add new people to our team and maintain the quality of our design and construction, which mean a lot to us. We dream of a worldwide presence in the fashion world, without losing our identity in the process. Finally, we hope to continue to be pleasantly surprised by our course as a fashion brand in the years to come.