Who: Manon Planche
What: Amazingly artistic clothes that caught my eye on Instagram and led to my reaching out and requesting an interview with the London-based designer.
Tell me a bit about your initial interest in fashion and at what you point you started your own collections.
I’ve wanted to do fashion for as long as I can remember but what really drives me towards it is the ability of fashion the help you express yourself without words. I was a bit shy growing up and fashion helped me show my personality without having to express it in any other way. Fashion is powerful AND empowering.
I started my own collections a long time ago but I think I properly started in February 2018, with my graduate collection, that’s when I started to have a better idea of where I was going and what I was trying to do. Before then it was a lot of fooling around — sometimes I still feel that way — I’ve been trying things out and creating garments since I was 12. I learned sewing and pattern cutting with my dear grandmother who taught me everything she knew about garment making. That’s where it all started.
I have also designed for other brands, Anya Hindmarch and Louis Vuitton to name a couple, both experiences have taught me a lot.
How would you describe your clothing in a few words?
Unique, bold, colorful, fun, empowering, and fearless.
Tell me about the Funny Cars collection. Who is it for?
It’s for people who are looking for individuality, originality, and who want to stand out and feel amazing in the clothes they are wearing.
It is for anyone who loves color and shine.
How do you dress in the day-to-day?
On a weekday you’ll see me wearing comfy colorful clothing, things that I can easily do some work in, such as pattern cutting, draping, stitching, printing, etc. Sometimes I go monochrome too, I love a full pink outfit or — my all-time favorite — dressing head to toe in silver, tights, and accessories included of course.
I will always always always, no matter the day, the weather or the time I had to dress in the morning, be wearing a shiny piece of clothing (or two). I just can’t seem to help it. It’s not even truly conscious, I think I’m just drawn to shiny pieces and my closet is full of them.
Tell me about your use of bold colors.
I use colors because I believe in their power. I honestly believe that you can have a better day if you go out dressed in funky colors.
I’m not just saying that it’s a theory that I have tested and proven. Go out one day, wearing black or grey head to toe, you go unnoticed, people don’t really see you. You go out dressed colorfully, and/or shiny, people see you, they talk to you, they help you if you need a hand with something, they smile at you and they remember you.
Ok, I have to admit I don’t know if it’s the clothes or just the vibe that revolves around me whilst I’m wearing my favorite outfits but I choose to believe it’s at least a bit of both.
There is also the design process, when I go out and pick fabrics, I can’t pick up a black one, I just don’t even look at them, I think it’s just a matter of taste, right?
It’s hard to explain why I do what I do but as a general rule, I design pieces that make me happy, hoping they will make other people happy too. And that’s why I mostly use bright colors and shiny fabrics.
You’re also a multimedia artist, is that right? I’d love to hear more about that
Yes, I love drawing and painting. It allows me to truly relax, I can do that with no pressure as it’s mainly for myself. I use that in my clothing as well though as that can translate into prints or inspire some. Drawing is also how I communicate my ideas so it’s important to practice.
I have less time now to create multimedia pieces but a few years back, whilst I was in France, I did a one year course in multimedia art and really enjoyed it. It gave me time to find myself and know what I needed to do next, it’s all part of the journey of life, isn’t it?
I’m interested in your influences and inspiration, there seems to be a mixture of historical fashion and femininity, line and pattern found in nature, a futuristic boldness?
A lot of it comes from traveling around a lot and seeing things. I’m always with my camera, taking lots of photos of the most random things, the things that just strike my interest, attract my eyes, and make me stop, look up or turn around.
It can be someone or something, created by nature or man-made. It really depends.
Then when it comes to finding new inspiration, I go through my photos and find that one thing that inspires me again right there and then. I research it, I dig and dig and I start creating a story, which leads onto shapes, textures, and prints.
In my latest collections, I have been focusing on anything that can take you from point A to point B in a fun way!
That’s where the name and inspiration of my graduate collection comes from: Funny Cars is the name of a specific type of drag racing cars. Visually they are a fantastic source of inspiration and the whole world that comes with the discipline of drag racing is amazing too. I have been to a race day here in England and it was a very fun day, a real family event on both sides of the track, with a true, positive vibe to it.
But I also wish to take people on a voyage into my world as a designer. So it’s really about 3-dimensional travel. And that’s where the take on femininity comes in, I want women — and people, to feel free to wear whatever they want in every occasion and to have to confidence to be bold about it. People are complex creatures and I think fashion can be a great way of expressing some of your personality.
What’s your creative process like? When do you find yourself most inspired?
When traveling and looking at new things, other forms of art and people.
Have you encountered any challenges?
Everyday. Some are small, some are bigger, some personal and some work-related. Overall, I consider myself a very lucky person in life. Challenges are good things to encounter, most of the time. There is always something to learn.
What’s next for you?
I am working towards a more personal approach to my brand for my customers. I want to create more options for customization and allow more time for bespoke pieces, as I truly believe that fashion should allow you to express yourself, it makes sense to me to develop my brand in that way.
Additionally, I am going to incorporate an upcycling approach to my next collection, for SS20. But don’t want to ruin the surprise just yet!
Mainly, I truly want my brand to be about POSITIVE fashion. So far, it was majorly about positive vibes but now I want to take my brand to the next level. I am already making sure that Manon Planche creates zero waste but I want to take things further by also trying to incorporate ideas that reduce waste from other sources within the fashion industry too.
I want to keep developing new ideas, new collections, and working on new projects. I want my brand to grow and evolve as I do. And to inspire more people to dare to try something new!
From the AW18 Funny Cars Collection