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10 questions with Manu Atelier

Istanbul-based sisters Merve and Beste Manastır are taking the accessories industry by storm with Manu Atelier, their brand of luxury, modern and wearable handcrafted handbags. Inspired by their father, a craftsman and leather goods manufacturer, the girls are reinterpreting his traditional designs for the modern consumer. Showcasing a minimalist, perfectly crafted aesthetic, the brand’s bags have been seen on the arms of some of today’s most influential fashion icons. The covetable collection, which includes the signature Pristine style, is carried by world-famous department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods, and Manu Atelier is becoming the fashion name to know. Read our interview with Beste and Merve Manastır here

Emily Scrivener
Emily Scrivener ,

You work with your father to create the brand’s well-structured, handcrafted pieces. How much does his craftsmanship inspire your collections?
Our father’s artisanship is, and always will be, one of the key inspirations for us, and it’s the biggest reason we started the business. We try to stay loyal to his own style of work while designing together. He is very open minded and always eager to learn new things.

What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
Jeans, of course.

How would you describe the Manu Atelier customer?
The Manu Atelier customer doesn’t define himself or herself by the brand but, instead, gives the brand its meaning.

What are the most treasured pieces in your wardrobe?
We both love to shop vintage pieces, so most of our clothes are unique and not available to buy from stores. Alternatively, our style of clothes can be very basic. As for footwear, we both wear custom-made shoes in different types of leathers and colours, which we treasure.

Do you have a favourite bag from your collection?
Our favourite bags are the Pristine and Mini Pristine models – we wear them literally all the time. We have a new model coming, however, called the Demi, which looks like it’s going to be our favourite, too!

How important is it to you both that your handbags are not mass produced?

It is one of the most important things to us. The importance of craftsmanship is one of the key elements of the Manu Atelier brand philosophy. All of our products are still cut by just one man – our father. This is something very special for us and, we believe, for our customers as well.

The brand’s signature style is the Pristine. Where do you get the inspiration for your collection from?
Our main source of inspiration is women. We believe that a woman should not be classified in one single way. She does not have to be shaped by other people and she is passionate, original, pure and courageous. She can be both fragile and harsh, weak and strong, and she has an attitude and a style of her own – it’s personal, existential. She is even happy with her defects, which make her unique at the end of the day. While we were imagining this woman, we noticed her everywhere – we saw her in the street, we met with her in a café, and so on. This is how we start to imagine our designs.

What do you like most about your neighbourhood?

The cats!

Where are your favourite places to shop in Istanbul?
We do prefer to shop randomly but, in terms of particular areas, Nişantaşi and Beyoğlu – especially Çukurcuma and Galata – are the places we visit when we want to shop. You can find a variety of shopping options in these areas, including interiors and antiques stores.

What’s next for Manu Atelier?
We will be presenting the spring/summer 2017 main line by the end of September. Until then, we will be sharing any news from Manu Atelier so watch this space!



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