Ally Hilfiger and designer Nary Manivong
Nary Manivong may be from the Midwest he hails from Ohio but when it comes to fashion, the Laotian-American has a balanced worldview. The self-taught designer fuses sensuality and attitude into his women’s collections while sticking to a classic aesthetic. In between the Today Show and chats with the factory, Manivong sits downs with StyleCaster to chat the fashion industry, working out and how it all comes together.
StyleCaster: As a designer, what is the focus of what you do?
Nary Manivong: My job is to create beautiful clothing while working on growing the business. I do it all.
We like ‘beautiful’! Okay, take us through a day in the life of Nary Manivong.
I start my day by working out. I spend 25 minutes each on toning and 25 minutes on abs. Following my workout I watch the news and the Today Show with (maybe) breakfast. Then it’s emails, emails and more emails. I’m working on production for Fall 2010 and my new collection for Spring 2011, so I’m constantly busy getting and sourcing fabric. I go to the factory to oversee production, fitting to business operations.
Fall 2010 collection
Is there something that inspires you when you’re in the middle of your design process?
Everything and anything inspiring, but right now it’s music specifically. I have a few Victor Spinelli photographs on my inspiration board along with some sketches I’m working on for Spring 2011.
The Midwest certainly has its charms, but Ohio isn’t exactly known for its fashion prowess. Was fashion a part of your childhood?
Fashion was not a part of my childhood. I do remember that I made my first Halloween costume by hand, but it wasn’t much.
When did you know you wanted to work for the fashion industry and what sparked that?
At the age of 15. I knew after picking up my first Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that I wanted to be a fashion designer.
Fall 2010 collection
Who are your favorite designers and what are your favorite stores?
My favorite designers are Geoffrey Beene, Alber Elbaz, Thakoon and Donna Karan. Some of my favorite stores include Sunday Love, Oak, J. Lindenberg and Uniqlo.
You’re a designer so theoretically you can design what you please for yourself but what’s your favorite item in your closet?
I would have to say my t-shirts. They’re easy and relaxing. I don’t have to try hard to look good.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is the world to me.
That’s very worldly of you! Last but not least, how would you describe your style?
Here are three words that describe my style: Classic, simple and clean with an edge. I want to be able to do anything in whatever clothes I’m wearing.
Lorelei Marfil is a freelance writer, editor and blogger. She curated her love for fashion, working editorial stints at Cargo, Lucky and InStyle.com. Her blog Inside My Closet gives an inside look at the personal closets of industry favorites. Marfil also serves on the board of ASMENext. She currently resides in New York.