On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about fashion design with my guest Whitney Manney.

A Kansas City, Missouri native, Whitney Manney graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2012 with a BFA in Fibers. With a desire to create art in a wearable format, Manney creates garments and textile designs under her independent label WHITNEYMANNEY. Manney’s work has been featured in major press outlets and numerous art and fashion blogs. She is featured in the PBS show Make48 & My World Too and has work featured in the new Peacock series Bel-Air.

Manney is a member of the 2021 American Craft Council Emerging Artists Cohort and recipient of the 2020 JOANN Minority Creative Grant along with numerous other grants. Her collections have been retailed at boutiques including Halls Kansas City, and showcased in more than a dozen runway and gallery shows. Creating a narrative between color and pattern is a signature of Manney’s work. She believes her job isn’t done until everybody in the world believes fashion is art.”

This episode is sponsored by Craftsty.

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A look Whitney created for National Sewing Month for JOANN.

We begin this conversation with Whitney talking about her early love of art as a child and her intention to become a fashion designer. She taught herself to sew as a teenager by deconstructing her clothing.

Whitney went to art school in Kansas City, although her first choice school was in Savannah where they had a fashion design program. Whitney talks about the frustration she experienced, and also the advantages, of going to a more traditional art school. It was there that she learned many techniques to dye and pattern textiles and she uses those in her clothing line now.

After graduation, Whitney took a day job as the manager at a dance studio while setting up her studio first in her parent’s basement and then in a rented space. She also did freelance work to supplement her income. It took about six years for her to transition to working in her creative business full-time.

We talk about what it was like to be awarded a Minority Grant from JOANN and to collaborate with them on several marketing campaigns since. For Whitney, this experience was really a turning point in her career and it has opened many doors to new opportunities. Whitney has done many really exciting collaborations. She has work in the new Peacock original Bel-Air, she was featured in an ad spot for ConvertKit, and most recently she was in an ad for the Royals.

Whitney Manney wearing her styles.

And, of course, I ask Whitney to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Whitney recommends:

Keep up with Whitney on her website and on Instagram.

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