Page 50 - S Summer 2024
P. 50

Earthly Pleasures
Maria McManus creates fashion for a better future.
By Robyn Bell
I f there’s one thing that the defining trend of 2023, quiet luxury, taught us, it’s that true style defies trends entirely. Choosing pieces that will
stand the test of time has become a priority for many looking to create a sophisticated wardrobe.
Maria McManus has made it her mission to design the staple pieces that wearers will don for years to come.
Her brand is self-described as “anti-fast fashion, anti-throwaway culture,” and lives up to this promise in more ways than one. Not only is each item sustainably made, using recycled and biodegradable materials that keep fashion waste out of landfills, but the designs themselves are timeless.
“You should be able to just renew your outfits or renew your look in some way,” said McManus. “It’s amazing to me if you can build upon the existing wardrobe rather than having to discard and replace.”
McManus has been mulling sustainable approaches to production for some time now. She first learned about climate change, and the effort
to fight it, back in the ’90s while growing up near a regenerative farm
in Ireland. Regenerative farming is a practice that uses less water and offers more biodiversity to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. This left an impression on a young McManus, leading her to consider the cause and effect of current manufacturing practices.
From farming to fashion, finding ways to reduce harm is essential—but McManus sees mass clothing production as increasingly unnecessary.
“There are only so many resources on this planet,” said McManus. “I don’t think we need to create any more clothes in the world, but that as a human expression is probably not realistic.”
Instead, making sustainable, high-quality pieces that live on beyond trend cycles is key. And that’s what is most striking about her work: it walks the line of sensible and eye-catching, with bold colours—“I usually have one colour per season”—and tailored cuts.
While ever-evolving, her style remains consistent, with each season tying into one another.
“A lot of women have said that they’re able to kind of build upon our pieces,” said McManus. “Like, if they bought something last year, the thing that they buy this year will still work with the thing they bought last year.”
For her Pre-Spring 2024 collection, McManus played with the colours of a desert in bloom—the tan, stone neutrals offset with pops of lilac and lavender, similar in tone to flowers in the California deserts. Her influence came from the environments she hopes to protect.
The collection features blazers with powerful shoulders and nipped-in waists, understated sweaters made from a blend of recycled cashmere and cotton, and cozy coats made with recycled down. McManus’s love for playing with masculine and feminine forms shines through in this collection.
Her ethos is all about being considerate of each piece you purchase, with the intention to wear it more often. For her, clothing that offers
both comfort and strength strikes the balance needed for long-lasting use.
“What do you think you’re going to wear repeatedly, versus what you’re going to wear for a special occasion,” said McManus.
“Our goal is to make responsible clothing an instrument of selfawareness.”

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