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Manu Atelier interview

5 Minutes With Manu Atelier

Beste and Merve Manastir, the Istanbul-based sisters behind Manu Atelier, launched their line of handbags in February 2014, gaining near-instant recognition with their fusion of modern shapes with Old Word craftsmanship. Worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, each bag is cut by hand, not machine, lending them a couture quality.

New to, we caught up with the design duo to talk growing up in an atelier and how they honed their craft…

On following in their father’s footsteps…
“Ours is a family business. Our father started his own workshop in 1976 after a series of apprenticeships with local and international companies based in Istanbul. He supplied brands but also designed his own pieces, many of which he made for us and our friends. We grew up in the workshop and saw his talents – not because he was our father but because of the dedication he put into each piece he designed. Today we work alongside him to come up with innovative and beautiful shapes and styles.”

On making the brand their own…
“We always knew we would end up in the business but we wanted to make it on our own first. We worked in magazines, assisted designers, worked on fashion week shows and even in international relations. We wanted to be able to bring something to the table when we approached our dad with our business idea.”

On the Manu Atelier woman…
“We’re inspired by powerful women, regardless of who they are or what they do. From Marie Curie to Eva Chen, Gwyneth Paltrow to the housewife who lives down the road, we look to women who define the brand and not the other way around. And of course, we end up designing the pieces we ourselves would like in our own wardrobes.

On the Pristine…
“Our favourite bag right now is the Mini Pristine. It works from day to night and from summer to winter, depending on the colour palette.”

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