The fashion industry is one that’s alluring to many, especially with shows like America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway dominating cable. It’s an industry that’s competitive, creative, and captivating. There’s nothing more awe inspiring then seeing the formal gowns donned by movie stars at the Oscars or the edgy outfits gracing the models on the cover of Vogue. We’ve had the pleasure to speak with Ermelinda Manos, a Las Vegas based fashion designer, about what inspired her to join the fashion world, her creative process, and the industry as a whole.
My inspiration when creating a collection comes from films, traveling, and fabric sourcing. My designs are effortless and timeless. I like to accentuate the female form, as I design for a confident and elegant woman.
First, I start off by making mood boards, with inspirational images that help me keep focused on the style I want to design. This is helpful to maintain a cohesive collection. Elements, styles, and colors within the collection should be cohesive and all effortlessly flow together, or be able to mix and match the looks with each other. I start sketching my ideas out on my sketchbook, and I sketch the entire inspiration based on how I envision the model on the runway— from hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories to go with the design. After I make several sketches, I make a list of the elements that stand out the most and the fabrics I want to use. I always do a color and trend forecast to make sure that the colors I pick are in season. One of my favorite parts of designing is going to the garment district to source the fabrics, trims, the beading, and all of the materials needed for each design. Sometimes, the design is created after I find the fabric that inspires me.
Next, I lay out all of the fabrics and the materials as I play around with them and create more sketches. This allows me to have a clear vision of what each design will be, as I narrow down my sketches to six to 12 looks that would be the final looks created for the collection.
The production begins, and I always have music playing in the background as we start creating the samples. All of the patterns are either draped or drafted, but I prefer draped a lot more. I’m very hands on with the sample processes as it is the most crucial part of the design; there’s room for adjustments during sampling that you cannot do once it’s finalized. I love to sew by hand, more than sewing on the machine, which is why you will find my designs have a lot of details that are handmade. Usually, our fit model is always a standard size when we try on the designs to ensure they are wearable and fit correctly for the ideal woman we have in mind— and that the design is flawless. Once the sampling and fit is approved, we then produce the final look or make multiples of the design.
Hand sewing and creating dresses has been my first love since I was a child. I’m fortunate to be able to live out my childhood dream, but the fashion industry isn’t always so glamorous. I spend many hours in the studio sewing, sampling, or running around downtown for endless hours to find the right bead or the right zipper. It’s a fast-paced industry, and there’s not a lot of time to sit and daydream when creating. Sometimes I have deadlines to create a design within hours, which is a lot of pressure. The results are very rewarding— the moment you see the gown draped on a woman’s body, and the woman feeling confident and beautiful in my design. To be able to have my designs be part of women’s lives, to be a reason for them to feel beautiful and smile, that is what makes everything worth it.
Her advice is so intriguing! I never thought about how fast paced the industry must be and the constant struggle of being creative on a deadline. What do you find most fascinating about the fashion industry?
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