Irish Independent Style Diary: Designer Emma Manley

How would you describe your personal style? Manley in a nutshell. I live for comfort, quality and something that has that 'wow' factor and that’s exactly what Manley is. I’m not a hugely dressy person, nor am I casual, I like to keep it cool and dress up an outfit with a pair of deadly heels, or tone it down with brogues.

I’m mad for colour - the bolder the better. I will point out that this is a more recent thing as grey and navy were pretty much the only colour I wore before Manley.  I also love textures and mixing them together.

How long does it take you to get ready every day? Thirty minutes for a regular working day.  I’m usually in a rush post-run or gym session so I never take the time I want but hey, I get more crammed into my day for it! If I’m getting ready for date night, a family celebration, work event etc, I give myself an hour. I may even pour a little G&T to help the process!

What are your essential wardrobe items? Good underwear. All good outfits start with your knicks! Metallic brogues are a must. They’re the perfect way to dress up a casual outfit or dumb down a dressy outfit. I’m addicted to Buffalo at ShoeLab and treat myself to a new pair every season. I've a lot of running around so having a comfy and cool trainer is essential. Stella for Adidas are my current craving. Lastly is a bloody warm but cool coat. Let’s be fair, we live in Ireland and wear one 10 months of the year, make it a good one!

What are your three desert island essentials? A seriously cool swimsuit as I reckon I’d be wearing it a lot! I’m in love with Mona Swims and currently have two swimsuits and two bikinis packed for my upcoming honeymoon! It’s an amazing Irish brand so it’s a plus getting to support Irish design too. 

Secondly, sunnies - nobody wants eye wrinkles from squinting so much. I reckon Tom Ford’s are the way to go. Watch A Single Man and you’ll be lusting after his eyewear forever more.

Not to forget suncream - be safe kids!

How did you get involved in the fashion industry as a designer? My mum was a fashion designer so I grew up in the industry. I spent hours just watching her working and as I got older, helping her where I could. Our house was so make-and-do, it was full of creativity and I just lapped it up.

I did have a love for food and cooking, and perhaps being a chef was my calling, but now that’s what I do to wind down after a day’s work in the Manley studio.

I adore my job and the work I get to do every day. It’s never dull and I’ll never be finished learning.

Who is your biggest style influence? Call me cliché, but it’s got to be Alexa Chung.

What is the best purchase you ever made? Good workout gear. I genuinely feel motivated when I’m wearing cool workout clothes. I reckon they make me run that extra two miles, no matter how exhausted I am!

What is the most indulgent purchase you ever made? I’ve never seriously splashed out, no kidding, I’ve just never had to with being able to make my own clothes. I do feel a big purchase coming on soon though. A pair of shoes for a very special day need to be bought and I’m assuming as I made everything else I’ll be wearing on the day that I’m allowed to treat myself?!

What is your go-to store? Buffalo for shoes, M&S for undies and for clothes!