The one-of-a-kind designer Mani Jassal is a visual storyteller. Throughout her nine collections, this Toronto luxury evening and bridal designer has the ability to mend traditional and modern attire seamlessly by utilizing her Indian upbringing and love of fashion. Mani creates clothing to empower women and bridge the gap between traditional and modern designs, a narrative that inspires Hania, as she too weaves ancient culture and contemporary style to give women more options for expressing their identity through fashion. Mani has been infatuated with design from a young age through family influences and cultural ties, which is what makes her designs so personal. Mani gave us the details on her beautiful brand, her role as an influencer and the changes to come to sustainable luxury fashion and jewelry industries.
“The Mani Jassal woman is unapologetically herself. She is someone that appreciates luxury fashion and someone that likes to treat herself to some beautiful investment pieces.”
The driven designer uses a balance of Indian and Western fashion influences to celebrate her layered identity and upbringing having been born in Punjab, India and raised in Toronto, Canada from the age of 5. Mani inspires women to be strong and choose clothing that celebrates their cultural identity. She designs for rebellious women who are looking for a quality style that is comfortable.
“I think it is definitely something that comes naturally to me. I grew up with this duality, so I have been living with it my entire life - it is only natural that you see it in my collections.”
Mani studied fashion design at Ryerson University, where her final project became the first collection for The Mani Jassal clothing brand in 2014. In a market of its own, her clothing creates a space for South Asian and Western clothing styles to merge into one, driving success in its own fashion lane. Her brand is rich in heritage and craftsmanship, utilizing bold colours and fine detailing.
“I also get my influences from my travels. I have actually made quite a few collections inspired by them, whether it be Udaipur, Morocco, or Tulum . India however has to be hands-down the place where I get the most amount of inspiration, from the fabrics, to the hustle and bustle to the culture and architecture.”
Her collections have been worn all over the world. Cultural representation is pivotal to the brand and within each of Mani’s nine collections. The inspiration for each collection comes from South Asian attire, where typically pieces are made with heavy beading and large silhouettes. Mani is able to use these characteristics and mold them into modern traditional pieces with lightweight beading, unique silhouettes, and some pieces made with fabrics that are 100% sustainable.
“We try to be as sustainable where we can. We do a lot of our production here in Canada, and a lot of our production is made to measure, so we don’t sit on too much inventory. We have incorporated some eco-friendly fabrics to our collections like the Bamboo Scoop Bustier and Bamboo Bell Bottoms.”
Like Hania Kuzbari, Mani strongly believes that beautiful luxury items do not have to have a negative impact on our environment. We asked Mani which of Hania Kuzbari's ethically handcrafted pieces she would wear.
“I would be a horseshoe person. I like how understated the look is. For day to day, I lean towards dainty gold jewelry. For an Indian event, I will go in with heavier statement pieces like everything from the tikka to the necklace, earrings, and bangles.”
It may be a while until Mani has the opportunity to style luxury jewelry or to wear one of her gowns. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the event industry, weddings and parties are continuing to be cancelled. We asked Mani to give us her thoughts on the current situation and how luxury brands need to move forward in order to stay successful during this time.
“I think brands are now going to start working with their own calendars vs. the traditional February and September collections. We have been functioning this way for a while now, and putting out collections when we think we are ready for it.”