Mani Jassal WWW.MANIJASSAL.COM raised in Canada, studied fashion at Ryerson University. She is a popular fashion designer in Toronto who is considered to be a game changer, with her innovative ideas and creation in designing and styling.
We were delighted when our previous intern Kulwinder Kaur Kainth suggested Mani as her inspiration and interviewed her for our summer of #AWMBinspiration!
You have seen your designs been copied by other designers. How does this make you feel?
When I was first copied by other companies/designers, I was offended and very upset, almost discouraged. I was just starting out, and to see companies and designers more established than me, profiting over my ideas and designs was hurtful. However, I have come to terms with this now, and take it as a compliment. I guess it kind of makes me a trend setter in a sense that happens to be ahead of the game. It just motivates so much more to continue being innovative and different with my designs, so more people can recognise me for that.
Have you sacrificed anything to come into the fashion industry?
Not really, nothing yet. However, being in this fashion industry is very time consuming. It is always go go go. You have to put in a lot of hard hours to become successful in this industry, which I do not mind putting in.
What struggles have you faced?
People copying me was a struggle at first, but I have come to terms with it, and consider it a compliment now. Another struggle is to continue to be inspired to keep creating innovative and unique pieces. Basically, after every collection you are trying to create another one that is going to be bigger and better than the previous one. So in a sense you are competing with yourself. As an entrepreneur balancing my time and all my responsibilities is a struggle. At the moment for my company I am the Fashion Designer/Creative Director, the Marketing Director, Sales Director, the manufacturer…etc. It gets very overwhelming a lot of the time to be the sole person behind the brand.
What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?
My biggest accomplishment to date has to be the amount of recognition I have received in just the past year. I literally started from making one prom dress last year and maybe 2 outfits last wedding season, to 7 outfits a week this year. It’s amazing and so gratifying to see how much I have progressed as a designer in just a year. I am so thankful for that, and I am so thankful for the people who support and believe in what I do.
Who is your inspiration?
There are a lot of people that inspire me. My parents are a big inspiration in my life, because they have taught me that consistent hard work will pay off in the end. They have been so supportive throughout this entire process.
In terms of fashion influence, I would have to say Karl Lagerfeld. I admire and respect his amazing work ethic so much. It blows my mind that he is the head designer for Fendi, Chanel, and his own brand along with being a photographer. I wish to work just as hard.
In the Indian community parents often ‘pressure’ their child to become a Doctor, lawyer etc. What message will you give out to those who strive to follow their dreams but find it difficult because of the lack of support?
This is very common to be pressured like this. When I was applying to universities, I had a choice between Aerospace Engineering and Fashion Design. I loved Physics, Math and Chemistry, but Fashion Designing is what I wanted to do from a very young age. Sometimes I think about it now, and I always question myself, “Wait, why am I doing this again?” And to be honest, this is all I have ever wanted, and it has become so innate to me and that’s how I knew it was the right decision to make.
At first it was hard for my parents to understand because this industry is highly competitive, but if you really believe in your passions and goals, anything can be accomplished through hard work and perseverance. Despite what they were telling me when choosing my universities, I still went with my gut and went into fashion. My parents eventually came around after they saw how well I was doing.
I was working in retail full time after graduation and my dad was the one who told me after looking at one of my photoshoots, “Mani, quit your job in retail. You’re too talented for this. You didn’t spend all this time in Fashion School to be doing this, focus all your attention into becoming a fashion designer. I will support you 100%.” And so he does.
So to sum it up, my advice to those wanting to become a designer or wanting to be in the creative industries; stay true to who you are – prove it to the world that you are amazing at what you do. They will see it, and they will come around.
What three tips would you give out to those who want to be in the fashion?
- Work Hard – Be on your grind 24/7
- Network network network! Don’t be afraid to contact people in the industry, the worst that can happen is that they won’t answer. It is so important to have a strong network in this industry.
- Keep innovating, and don’t be afraid to be different.
What is it like to be a young entrepreneur?
It can get quite overwhelming because there are so many responsibilities. Especially if you are the one in charge of everything. It’s an ongoing learning process, but definitely worth it. I love that I can create my own schedule. I love travelling, and I love that I can change around my dates and I can virtually go anywhere I want whenever I want.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would like to be releasing 4 collections a year for each season. I want to see my designs published in prestigious fashion publications such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Elle, etc. I would like to have a flagship store in Toronto , and boutiques in other cities like New York, LA, London, and Mumbai.
What social sites can we connect on with you?
I update my instagram the most. I also have a tumblr that I update pretty often, and of course there is my website, which I update with every new collection I have.
Please visit: WWW.MANIJASSAL.COM. Instagram: @MANIKJASSAL Twitter: @manikjassal