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Talking With: Natalie Yaru of MANAM Fashion

By Devin Strecker

November 5, 2015

While Hollywood will be filled with music and art this weekend, we are also proud to be featuring one of our local fashion designers, Natalie Yaru of MANAM Fashion. She will be transforming The Powder Room (1606 N. Cahuenga) into a stylish shopping experience from 1 – 8 p.m. on Sunday, November 8. All things MANAM are made entirely in Los Angeles, if not by Natalie’s own hands, then by her contractors downtown. We talked to Natalie about her fashion line, and her involvement in the Only in Hollywood Music + Arts Festival.

Natalie Yaru of MANAM Fashion will be setting up a pop shop in The Powder Room on Sunday, November 8 from 1-8pm.

Natalie Yaru of MANAM Fashion will be setting up a pop shop in The Powder Room on Sunday, November 8 from 1-8pm.

Only in Hollywood: How did you get your start in the fashion world?

Natalie Yaru: I was always enrolled in art classes and camps as a kid because I loved to draw.  Then came that age where I was so into clothes, that I was always bugging my parents to go shopping (I didn’t succeed often).  I remember when I was 13, my mom gave me a book on fashion design and a sketchbook for Christmas.  I guess she figured that I would stop whining about not being able to shop, if I just learned to make my own.  Mom was right.

At Woodbury University, I was able to fulfill my dream of creating my own fashion collection.  From concept to product, we each created our own dream to show on the runway at the end of the year.  From there, I knew I didn’t want to let go of creative freedom.  So I read a book on starting a fashion business, created a “To Do” List, and began chopping away at it.  All the while, designing, patterning, sampling my first designs for MANAM.

Loungerie from MANAM Fashion.

Loungerie from MANAM Fashion.

OIH: What do you find interesting or unique about the Hollywood fashion scene?

NY: I find it interesting that Hollywood used to be known for its glamour and fabulous fashion, but now women prefer to be just shy of naked, and men are hard-pressed to put on a button down shirt.  I feel that there is a web of reasons as to why fashion has taken a bit of a dive.  It is sad that Hollywood has become complacent, when we have so much to work with.  I honestly think that people have gotten discouraged because everyone is struggling to make money.  But if a few folks with money would invest in turning all these run-down nightclubs into an experience truly worth having, people might start dressing for the occasion.

OIH: What are some ways that the different worlds of art, music and fashion connect for you?

NY: To keep it simple: art inspires me, music drives me, and fashion is me.

Artists and their work inspire me because of the way that they take an concept in their mind (no matter how obscure), and then create something to explain that concept to the public.  It takes a bravery to be an artist, but I am glad for the ones who are putting work out there because often the shapes, colors, materials, etc. that they utilize drive my own creations.

Everyday, I listen to various types of music to get me in mood for everything from working, to working out, to going out.  Music also has a way of representing an attitude or persona about something.  At the pop-up shop on Sunday, you will hear the way I aim for MANAM to make you feel.

MANAM Fashion.

MANAM Fashion.

OIH: What is the significance of the name MANAM?

NY:  “Mana,” the Romanian word for hand, functions in multiple contexts as an indicator of the company’s foundation.  First, as a brand, MANAM will highlight the importance of the artists and craftsmen involved.  My love of leather stems from the construction techniques necessary for leather craft.  Leather inherently requires much hand-work that, even in this age of technology, no machine can replace.  Second, MANAM aims to bring you the best in fabrics and materials so that nothing feels short of exquisite to the touch.

OIH: You’re launching your men’s line next year – what can we expect from that?

NY: Without giving away too much, the men’s line will be a careful exploration of what men like to wear, what men want to wear, and how MANAM can make it exciting… i.e. out of leather.


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