Manu Atelier Calls Upon Harley Weir For the Brand’s Latest Collection
If you’re into your handbags, you’ll be well aware of Manu Atelier. Founded by Turkish sister duo Beste and Merve Manastir, the accessories brand brings a contemporary flair to traditional, artisanal techniques, trained by their father’s leather manufacturing company, Yeşim Çanta.
“We were exposed to the raw talent of our father since we were born, our childhood memories are filled with the smell of leather and the memory of us making miniature handbags with leftover leathers taken from our father’s factory,” said the sisters. “We wanted to pursue our father’s legacy and create a brand that fuses artisanship with modern aesthetics. Our brand’s ethos is about creating timeless products that focus on quality and elevate aesthetics.”
For the brand’s latest collection – dubbed The Re-Form and Re-Volt of The Female Body Language – the sisters have teamed up with renowned photographer Harley Weir to bring their vision to life. “We wanted this campaign to embrace female empowerment and symbolize a message to the women, so Harley Weir was the perfect fit for us,” said the sisters. “We’ve always followed her work and admire what she stands for.”
They describe their ethos this season as “a rebellion of the patriarchal structure”, looking to German feminist photographer Marianne Wex to inform the set of images. The sisters were keen on celebrating female individuality, asking each of the models to bend and twist their bodies in bold, dynamic shapes – giving the firm middle finger to the way models are meant to ‘pose’ in editorial campaigns.
“We wanted to raise a voice in this cluttered society by embracing and supporting women to be themselves and free themselves from the diktats of society,” explained the pair. This season, they have crafted a new crochet raffia fabric which is hand-woven in the brand’s atelier, used to encase the Manu Atelier Cylinder bag range. The pair have also created new variations of their circular Hobo bags, now available in a sublime chocolate suede.
“Sustainability has always been part our brand DNA, we focus on a minimum waste policy in our factory since the first day we launched the brand,” said the sisters, who for the campaign, created their first set of garments. Collaborating with sustainable designer Lou de Betoly, the trio designed each of the looks from left-over scraps of fabric. “We already recycle and use leftover fabrics from our production to produce bags. This season we wanted to take this up to the next level and upcycle garments that are entirely in line with the collection’s inspiration and purpose,” said the pair.
Photography by Harley Weir. Explore the campaign and collection here.