Source : @estermanas

“If they can’t change the world, we will.” This is the slogan of the emerging Brussels brand Ester Manas, which joined the official Paris Fashion Week calendar last September.

Created by Ester Manas and Balthazar Delepierre, the brand aims to be sustainable and inclusive and innovates by creating a one-size-fits-all wardrobe, making it possible to dress every woman, every body type, from size 34 to 50. Let’s go on a journey inside the heart of this house which blows a welcome wind of revolution in the ultra-standardized world of fashion.

Ester Manas et Balthazar Delepierre (source : Ester Manas)

At the beginning : recognizing the limits of an industry

After studying art at the school Ateliers de Sèvres, the young stylist Ester Manas moved to the renowned Brussels fashion school, La Cambre. Her vision of fashion is built by personal observations on the limits of the environment: “As a student, I never understood why the body to be dressed in fashion schools was always one of extreme thinness, smooth, presented as a standard but who was neither like me nor my friends. ” (source : ChEEk

Doing a size 44 herself, she saw sizes stop at 40 as soon as one ventured into premium and luxury fashion.

So she set out to design stretchy, simple and elegant clothes, which she wanted adaptable to all figures and came out major in her promotion with her “Big Again” collection. After having worked in prestigious houses (Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne, Acne Studios) Ester Manas joins forces with Balthazar Delepierre, whom she met on the school benches.

Development: from the celebration of large size to the challenge of one size

In 2018, the duo had a series of successes. They won the H&M Design Award, then the Galeries Lafayette prize at the Hyères Festival. They are then invited to create a capsule collection for the Parisian department store in 2019. Named “Fashion for All”, this collection whose slogan is “make fashion big again” celebrates in particular “plus size” bodies, to which it wants to give pride, confidence and sensuality.

Source : @estermanas

To do this, the brand is developing a series of one-size-fits-all pieces that can dress body types from size 34 to 50. This experience marks the starting point for rethinking the brand’s project towards the one-size-fits-all.

“It’s not the body that has to bend to clothing” says Ester Manas. (source : Fashion Network)

A revolution underway: when inclusivity conquers Fashion Week

source : @estermanas

The duo uses the very constraints of clothing construction to innovatively design their creations: they adapt to different sizes thanks to elastic and stretchy materials and seams, elaborate tightening systems, specific cuts and structures with lacing, belts, buttons and other drapes.

“Model making skills are obviously crucial to what we offer. Oversized cuts that tighten thanks to tips, cords at key points of the silhouette, either under the bust, at the waist and at the hips, “double” stretch gathers… ”declares Ester Manas. (source : Fashion United)

A “functional” vision of clothing that is rare in the luxury industry. And yet, after being selected for the Louis Vuitton competition in February 2020, the brand is part of the Paris Fashion Week.

Its entry into the popular club of major fashion houses authorized to parade is an important step in the visibility of Ester Manas. It is also a turning point in the standardized fashion industry through the representation of a new diversity of body types. Before Ester Manas, clothes in size 50 had never been presented at Paris Fashion Week. Should this only be seen as an attempt on the part of its organizers to adorn themselves with a more egalitarian image or as a real impetus for change in an ultra-codified universe?

source : @estermanas

 “When we created the brand,” explains the designer, “that’s the question we asked ourselves. Do people select us because they like our proposition or because we are the positive marketing point? “ (source : Huffpost)

But the success of the collection presented, the returns sales and the support of the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion makes her think that mentalities are indeed changing.A success that lives up to the designer’s ambitions: “my ambition is to move away from the standardization of bodies, to offer pieces that move with women and accompany them throughout their life.” (source : France Info)

Restoring equality by offering access to fashion to all women

source : @estermanas

“The goal is for us all to be in the same boat” says the designer. With its concept of “one size fits all”, Ester Manas wants to free women from the “size complex” and change mentalities. Indeed, by removing any number from the label, the brand makes it impossible to compare women, which could quickly turn into competition. “Two girls of different build can now pick the same garment from the same rack. Fashion has to stop saying that there is a body elite. If you feel fabulous, whether you wear a size 34 or a 46, what does that do?” Ester Manas declared. (source : Antidote)

With this aim of inclusiveness, each of the pieces produced by the brand is photographed on two different body type: a size 36 and a size 44-46, so that the buyer realizes that the product fits both equally well.

An ethical and ecological commitment for sustainable fashion

“The principle of one size fits all, which I applied to Galeries Lafayette, has become the DNA of my brand. Not only does this make it possible to offer an inclusive product for everyone, but it is also a first degree sustainable fashion, because it generates much less waste, both for us in production and for retailers who will not the problem of sizes, without forgetting the end customer who will find a garment adaptable to all ages capable of supporting her in the long term”, explains Ester Manas .(source : Fashion Network)

source : @estermanas

This deeply enduring aspect of the fashion offered by Ester Manas is also found throughout its production process. In terms of sourcing, 80% of the fabrics come from Belgian or French end-of-series stocks from major brands which were intended to be discarded. The rest ? Polyester made from recycled bottles, cottons from Italy and prints developed in the Netherlands.

The production is then local. The prototypes are designed in their studio in Brussels, and the pieces are sewn in a professional reintegration workshop run by women, discovered close to their studio.

source : @estermanas

In addition to its revolutionary inclusive character, Ester Manas is a deeply ethical brand that offers local manufacture under conditions consistent with its values, for precious creations that last over time, adapt to bodies and their many changes.

“I devote a huge worship to women and I think that defending all bodies, and more broadly the pride of each woman, is a political step that goes beyond fashion!” declared Ester Manas. (source : Les Inrocks)

Different, sustainable and inclusive, Ester Manas is one of a kind, a new revolutionary breath, which does the greatest good to the world of fashion.


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