Sartorial nostalgia continues to reign over the latest fashion trends, and classic chick flicks serve as a fount of inspiration—think Sex and the City, Legally Blonde, and Clueless! What's more, stylish women tend to also draw inspiration from old favorite toys like Barbie and Bratz dolls, both of which are known to be fierce and unapologetic with their fashion choices. This is exactly what online store D'elle Studios is all about. Founder Danielle Mangana wants to dress you just like Samantha Jones, Barbie, Cher Horowitz, and more! Below, we get to know more about D'elle Studios.
Scarlet set, P4600 (jacket, P4095, skirt, P1095); Klara set, P4495 (jacket, P3695, skirt, P1295)
Please tell us about your business.
"My name is Danielle Mangana. I have always been known to be the kikay type. I became hooked to fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Preview and started collecting at a very young age. With this, I gained a huge interest in fashion; and then, the fashion designer fantasy began. Back when I was still in business school, I would always go to the mall near my home after class to get a peek of new fashion pieces that I could wear to certain events. And when I could not find the piece that I envisioned in my mind, I would go to my dressmaker and ask her to create the piece. Sometimes, I would even imagine myself as the Creative Director of my favorite fashion houses. My personal taste back then is still the same with the brand identity that I have now.
Sylvie in Corduroy, P5499 (in Velvet, P5545)
"I conceptualized the whole brand in 2017. It was for a class in fashion school, we were asked to pitch for our personal brand identity up to the official brand that we dream of having. The great results pushed me to finally start. I thought that, I can never really tell if I was ready or not until I get up and try to make my vision come to life. It is really a step by step process. I started the sampling stage up to the initial production with my weekly allowance. Then I got to understand all the things necessary for production. After finalizing the initial costing, I figured out if it was actually feasible or not. I spent plenty of time learning about the operations side since it was the tricky part for me. I owe it to myself to know and understand as much as I can as I go along. Finally, with the guidance of my supportive parents, I had the will and guts to launch a brand that offers pretty pieces that are well-priced as well as well-made."
Esme patent-finish jacket, P6299; Noelle skirt, P3599
What is the concept behind D’elle Studios? Where did the name come from?
"The brand name D’elle comes from my first name, Danielle. It is a slow fashion ready-to-wear brand created for modern-classic women. The brand showcases different takes on timeless and classic silhouettes by featuring fun elements in each collection. D’elle pieces are designed for people who are classic but still fashionable—pieces that they will be able to wear season after season rather than something that will just tick off a certain trend."
Skylar jacket, P5399; Jaqui blazer, P4895
Who designs your pieces? Please describe your overall aesthetic.
"I am the only one who designs and conceptualizes for each collection. The brand is mainly an extension of my personality and brand identity. I have always been into the fun girly stuff ever since I was little. I was highly influenced by Barbies, Bratz, and some shows with really great fashion aesthetics such as That '70s Show, The Clique, Wild Child, Legally Blonde, and Clueless. However, I also have another side in me who is very into the working woman vibe, which was influenced by my favorite character Samantha Jones in the best series, Sex and The City. These shows with such aesthetics greatly affected my personal taste and how I carry myself. I can say that my overall aesthetic is a combination of preppy feminine and classic city chic if you will."
Taia pussy bow blouse, P3095; Tory playsuit, P4595
What kind of materials do you use in producing your items? Where and how do you manufacture the clothes?
"We use different kinds of silk for our blouses and other pieces that are meant to have the draped look. As for structured ones, we use suede, duchess, twill, and patented leather. Sometimes, I also source for unique fabric mixtures like cotton and gingham combined in one. I am very particular with the materials we use, from the fabrics down to the buttons. I work very closely with my dressmaker and tailor who are both highly skilled. They run their own small tailoring business in the heart of Metro Manila and I think it was the best choice of mine to work with them because we support each other’s businesses; it has definitely become a two-way street. I learn so many insightful things from them that are significant for my business and even personal life."
Nadia blouse, P2795
What made you decide to pursue this production route and use these materials?
"The quality I look for the most in choosing materials is uniqueness in terms of color, print, and texture. In re-creating classic silhouettes, I think the key elements in maintaining freshness to the pieces are fabrication and color grading. On the production side, I choose not to work with factories or sub-contractors mainly to keep away from supporting some unethical ways and to control the overall quality of our pieces. How clothes are produced has a huge impact on our environment and this is something that a few people think about. As a slow fashion brand, we produce the clothes in small batches to avoid wastage of both fabrics and stocks and to ensure the exclusivity of our designs."
Klaui tie top, P2595
Who do you have in mind wearing your pieces? Describe the ideal D’elle Studios girl.
"A D’elle Studios girl is someone who is timeless, elegant, and confident. Someone who has her own sense of style despite of all the trends that come and go. Someone who lives her life with grace and effortless elegance. And someone who is confident about who she is. My dream muse is Lily Rose Depp or Kate Moss."
Lucie blouse, P1299 and Celeste blouse, P1299
What are your brand's greatest strengths? What sets you apart from other stores?
"One thing that sets D’elle apart from other brands is, I really make sure to stick to the roots of the branding. I will never let my brand be eaten up by the trends. It is the promise that I made to myself and to my brand. D’elle pieces will stay fresh [and] will never lose its brand identity. Another aspect that is significant to the entirety of my brand is I create pretty things for D’elle’s audience. I launched this brand to share my love for fashion and design with everyone. This brand is not all about me, it was not created just for my own pleasure (although conceptualizing excites me so much). It is all about perfecting my designs and technical quality for my customers. I think it is very important to focus more on the actual products rather than the marketing side. I wouldn’t market a product or product line that does not really represent my brand just for the sake of selling. I want D’elle to be the brand that will always offer collections that are evidently well thought of."
Erin set, P3500 (top, P2095, skirt, P1375)
What about its weaknesses? How are you able to overcome these?
"As a new brand, the biggest challenge for me is handling everything and making sure that everything goes right. From the design process, to sourcing of raw materials, to the production, selling, and marketing, it’s quite challenging for me to manage both the creative direction and the operations. Sometimes it can be too overwhelming, but I always keep in mind that hardships should give me a reason to work harder. I know I will always learn new things and improve along the way as long as I stay persistent with myself."
Jamie skirt, P1299
Where do you see your brand in the coming years? What should we expect from D’elle Studios in the future?
"In the coming years, I hope D’elle Studios will finally have a nice showroom for our clients to check out and fit our pieces since we offer a custom sizing service too. I will really make sure to work hard for D’elle Studios’ expansion. Who knows, maybe we can be a part of the global market someday. As of the moment, I will keep focusing on bettering each of our products in terms of the overall quality for every D’elle customer and future D’elle girls. Also, I am currently looking for new raw materials that are locally produced to support more local craftsmen."