If you've been following Manu Atelier's journey, you'll know that the brand has slowly but surely achieved cult status thanks to handbag styles that hit the sweet spot between classic and modern. Its celebrity fans include Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Middleton and Bella Hadid.
Now the designer duo, Beste and Merve Manastir have launched a shoe collection (available to shop exclusively at Selfridges for now), and they're a hit already. The nine styles include everything from the naked sandal (the shoe of the summer) to the Victorian lace-up boot (the shoe of the winter), so you're bound to find one that sparks joy for you.
Here, the sisters talk through their inspiration and how far they've come.
You started off with bags, were you planning shoes all along or was it just a natural progression?
As the designers of Manu Atelier, me and my sister/partner had a woman in our minds when we created the brand. For us, bags have always been special since we grew up in the work-shop watching our father designing and crafting them. And we wanted to complement them with shoes that have Manu aesthetics and brand values such as quality, design and craftsmanship for the modern people of the new age to enjoy fullest. After a precise process for footwear line, we thought it is the perfect time to present wearable, strong and playful shoes with our new bag collection.
How long did it take from the idea to the production?
We spent almost two years before launching Manu footwear. It’s really important for us to create the right shape with the perfect last and quality. And while doing that, we also wanted to keep our price range affordable. Gathering all those aspects together, finding the right craftsmen and to create the right pair of shoes- at the same time and at the right time- took a while but here we are now with our first footwear collection.
What was the inspiration behind the shoes?
We wanted the designs to be compatible with today’s world and we also wanted them to be distinctive. They all have common points; design, quality and craftsmanship. We aimed to give the feeling of confidence and joy with playful patterns, colours, cutting details and most importantly the lasting power and the shoes being really light on the feet. Cause our main inspiration is the modern woman of the new age.
Did/do you ever worry about working together as sisters?
We work together in every single stage of both creative and business side. Of course it causes some conflicts but we believe these disagreements are bringing us to the right point eventually. We are lucky to have the same taste with different perspectives. So these differences and similarities give us to get the right point with a strong family relation. Because at the end of the day, to be able to create something with your family is a unique feeling. And no, we never worry about working together, on the contrary we always worry about if we had to work separately.
You’ve worked a lot with influencers, and now become influencers yourselves, do you think there is a big link between social media and fashion today? Right now, there is. Social media links people, from all around the world. And fashion is social, it’s cultural, it’s political, it’s historical. The link is inevitable between them. For us, social media is a way of telling our story, our values and the influencers who are part of our community, are our friends, they are real people that we admire in our non-social media lives as well.
If you had to pick one shoe from the collection, which one would it be?
The duck boots, followed by the mules and the sandals.
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Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.
Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).
Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.
However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.
Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.
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