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13. August 2019

We interview Hamburg-based designer, Vanessa Wulff about her fashion and jewellery design label - MANAVA Design. She talks about her passion, creative vision and journey in creating her own fashion line.


A fair fashion label for women

In nepali, word MANAVA means “to be human”. The meaning summarises Vanessa’s Wulff's concept and her creative vision expressed in her designs. It's no coincidence then that she chose to name her fashion line MANAVA. With her fashion brand, Vanessa has found a way of self expression, at the same time, offering people a means of expressing their individuality through her fashion. So who else is involved in the project?

Vanessa explains that she works together and hand-in-hand with a nepalese tailor family once a year in India. How has the journey been so far? She answers: 

“I still find myself in an ongoing process of being influenced by cultural opposites and language barriers which can be seen as a door wedge for a new way of thinking. In 2018 I travelled to India with the idea to look for tailors who like to implement my designs. After a short period I stepped across a nepalese tailor family, which is now part of my team. Govinda, his brother as well as his sister in law decided to work with me together on a first collection. Since Govinda is the only person speaking english, he acts as a connecting limb between me and the other parts of the family. Since I never saw myself in the head position of such a project, I decided to be open to everything to learn as much as I can during the first year. This contains the problematic situations which come to the surface when language is not enough to communicate about detailed questions. Additional to that, I came across cultural differences in the way we think about realising a final product. I learned a lot and I think I will never finish learning."

Vanessa explained that unlike known major brands who take production overseas with the aim of exploiting cheap labour, her focus is on the fairness and providing adequate wages for her staff. So how does she do this? What are the conditions?

“Due to the thought that the whole journey from planting the cotton seed towards the final product seems like a vast way, I decided to put my focus on the people i work with. My aspiration is to produce clothing in a fair way with the idea to make all the working processes behind, transparent. Govinda and his family receive appropriate wages and work under conditions which allow them to go along with their bodily condition. I don’t want people to work when they feel leached out or have some general physical discomfort. For us, it’s important to take enough breaks, communicate clearly as well as open ourselves towards everyday changes.”


Who are the pieces designed for?

Vanessa:“Next to the interpersonal work, I put the focus on designing individual pieces as well as limited designs for woman. For sure, men are welcome to wear my clothes, but the measurements are generally adjusted towards a females body. The materials are mainly cotton, silk and linen, since I appreciate natural textiles.

This year we created a second collection, with the idea to combine it with the beautiful pieces we still got in stock from last year. The clothes i design are mostly made from thin materials, but they can also be worn during the whole year. I like people who just wear what they feel like, even if everyone of us gets influenced by daily advertisement I don’t feel to cast off my clothes just because they are from last season.” 


Need inspiration for a new wardrobe? Why not visit or the following shops for a sensual experience: 

Hamburg: Captain Svenson | B-Lage | Grand Hotel Of Sweden

Berlin: Homagestore


About the Writer

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