Sustainable-minded clothing — which Maria McManus produces so seamlessly you’d think sourcing buttons from an unharvestable Brazilian nut must be easy — only really works if the clothes themselves are convincing. Stories of how and why something was done don’t yet move the needle when it comes to sales. For most buyers, the peak of desire must be there.
McManus has paid extra to confirm that its fabrics from Japan and Europe are certified to the highest environmental standards. It has Forest Stewardship Council certified cupro and viscose in the blend and an exclusive blend of cashmere and recycled cotton. The amount of work behind the scenes is staggering. “I just want to feel good about what I do,” she says in her spacious Tribeca home that doubles as a showroom.
The backstory wouldn’t be important if McManus’ clothes didn’t have a sharp appeal. Founded in tailoring, its blouson shirts, warm knits and all-new micro minis – for those looking to show off their legs but are averse to the Miu Miu-style twee – have a chic, New York look. Not too harsh, even with arty, long arm slits or very current red stockings. Worn with jewelry from Matthew Swope, who makes rope necklaces from found objects, McManus’ collection finds beauty in the simple things. That she works to preserve the simple grace of nature is just a very important bonus.
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