The future of the fashion industry is coming and if you ask 28-year-old fashion designer, Eman Manolo, he’ll be the one leading it; he and his The MidWorld clothing line, that he started with friend Mark Giboney, who handles the logistics of The MidWorld. Eman hails from St. Louis, and when first asked, The MidWorld creator didn’t have much to say about his childhood. Maybe because as a youth he not only saw his home burn down, but he also watched his parents marriage fade away, ultimately ending in divorce. And if that wasn’t enough for a child to endure, Eman also recalled moments from his childhood when his stepfather abused him. But he’s only let it fuel his desire to be great even more and put that life far, far behind him.
Eman started designing in high school, drafting and sketching pieces for fun. He enjoyed it so much, that in college he majored in graphic design and learned one of today’s most popular and widely used practices, silkscreen- printing. For those that don’t know, silkscreen printing uses a mesh cloth and stencil to place pre drawn designs onto the desired material; most commonly seen in t-shirts, sweaters, and hoodies. Eman took that knowledge and began creating custom tees of his own for profit, and got pretty good at it too. So good that in May 2009, the young entrepreneur got invited to participate in a local fashion show, and even though he had never designed anything other than a tee before then, the fairly new fashion originator would be proclaimed the best in attendance. And thus a designer was born!
“I used to be a graphic design major. I first learned how to silkscreen on shirts. I started doing custom prints only but [then] I got invited to a fashion show and didn’t want to show just tees. So I started ripping apart clothing to see how it was made. [I] put together 9 looks and out of all the designers at the show people said I was the best. That was May 2009, and I never stopped designing after that.”
Eman took a brief hiatus from design in 2010 when he deployed and served one year in Doha, Qatar. But even while over seas his mind was constantly thinking of designs and how to grow his fashion brand. He came home from Doha, and put all the plans and ideas he had gathered while away immediately into motion. Eman grabbed his sewing machine and left his small town in St. Louis, MO and headed to the City of Angels, hoping to make his dreams come true.
But even Eman will attest that in order to be successful, you must fail sometimes.
While interning and working full-time in Los Angeles, as the design assistant to designer Joseph Walker, Eman also signed up to try his luck on season 12 of Lifetime’s Project Runway competition. While there, he received a lot of support and encouragement from the judges, but unfortunately Eman was eliminated as a pre show semi finalist. Soon after, Eman quit his job and dedicated everything he had to designing.
“I didn’t give up because they are not God. I’ll give it up when God says so. The judges actually encouraged me to try again, to develop. I was a little down but not really. I quit my job after I didn’t make it on the show and went all in.”
It’s been nearly 6 years since Eman was first in that 2009 fashion show and he’s been blessed to have accomplished some pretty big things since then. To date, Eman has had over 100 designs featured in fashion shows and photo shoots, and even had one of his creations worn on the red carpet, at the 2014 ESPY Awards.
“When I saw Amanda Stewart on the red carpet [at the 2014 ESPY Awards] in a dress I designed, I felt like I had taken a step forward.”
Right now, Eman is expanding his fashion design knowledge at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and recently launched his luxury clothing line, The MidWorld, meaning being apart of two worlds spiritual and physical. Its’ ability to be casual and professional, while still maintaining a high level of class is what sets this ambitious new clothing line apart from those that have come before it. The line currently only features women’s attire, but there is a men’s line slated for unveiling in the Spring of next year. Eman credits well known, successful designers, Calvin Klein and Halston, while also mentioning Andy Warhol, Keith Herring, and more, for helping to inspire his artistic creativity.
“If I could collaborate with any designer it would be Karl Lagerfeld because he has branded & established himself as one of the top designers in the world. He is the type of person that stands out without saying anything. His presence is powerful.”
At only 28 years old, Eman Manolo has one hell of a fashion resume, that can’t be denied, and he’s nowhere near being finished yet. In fact, he’s just getting started. He graduates from LATTC in the Winter of 2016 and has already started making plans to take his talents to the Big Apple when that day comes. But for now, keep up with The MidWorld on instagram @TheMidWorld and follow the talented fashion originator @EmanManolo for the first look at upcoming designs.