Whitney Manney - WHITNEYMANNEY

Whitney Manney

Photo credit: Amber Deery

Photo credit: Amber Deery

Whitney Manney is a fashion and textile designer, and the head designer & owner of WHITNEYMANNEY Fashion & Textiles. Whitney creates wearable art, and her work has been featured in major Kansas City press outlets and numerous art/fashion blogs. Through sharing her art, passion, and joy, Whitney is translating the aesthetics of street art and the effects of cultural movements on the current urban landscape into ready-to-wear wearable art and textile design.

All of her textiles are hand created and digitally manipulated in studio through experimenting with various traditional fibers techniques. Through each garment and accessory, Whitney is challenging women to wear their statement. (Love this!!)

Whitney is making an impact in her community through teaching partnerships with the HALO Foundation and various area schools. Her collections have been retailed at boutiques/stores, including Halls Kansas City and showcased in more than a dozen local/regional runway and gallery shows. Currently, she’s a resident artist at The Drugstore Studios in Westport Kansas City operating her eponymous fashion label. Whitney has created a narrative between color and pattern, and it’s a signature of her work.

It’s wonderful to connect with someone who is so passionate about their work and what they’re creating, and I’m so excited for you to learn more about Whitney, follow along, and check out her beautiful art and fashions!

I'd love it if you'd introduce yourself, what you do, and what you're working on.

My name is Whitney Manney, I am a fashion and textile designer based in Kansas City, Missouri. As the head designer & owner of WHITNEYMANNEY Fashion & Textiles, I create wearable art inspired by the aesthetics of street art and cultural movements.

How did you get started?

I taught myself how to sew when I was 13 by taking apart my old clothes that I was rapidly growing out of, taking apart old jeans was my favorite! It was a way for me to keep clothes I loved by remixing them into something new. I stayed in every art class until high school graduation and went on to the Kansas City Art Institute for college. I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Fibers and have been a practicing artist ever since.

What inspired the work that you're doing?

I always knew having my own fashion label, no matter how big or small, was the goal. It was a hard journey to find my lane in the type of fashion I wanted to create, pieces that could be worn every day but make a statement and involve fine art techniques. A month-long study trip in New York City during Summer 2011 brought me back to my center, it showed me that I was doing the right thing. I found my zone. The street art, various personalities, the lights, constant hustle and bustle…it all made sense and I felt at home.

Color, pattern, and texture. Those have been the 3 key elements in my work ever since my preschool days. Translating that into the workable format of fashion was a mind-blowing moment. Fashion allows me to be a different me every day. It’s the thing that says “Hello, I’m Here!” before I even open my mouth

What is your biggest passion? Do you feel like you're living your passion and purpose?

I do feel like I’m living out purpose! I am learning to be more confident in knowing that I am meant for this life. I enjoy having the ability to see the world differently, be inspired and make something with my two hands. I love being able to work with women and girls, helping them establish their confidence and statement, whether it be through a custom dress, collaborating with them or teaching them how to sew.

What is your joy blueprint? What lights you up, brings you joy, and makes you feel the most alive?

The days I have to freely create with no end goal in mind are my favorite. It’s necessary for me to experiment and have fun without worrying about messing up. Working with children from various backgrounds brings me joy also. A class may be about how to thread a sewing machine but I am able to build a relationship with the kids by encouraging them, being a good listener, etc.

How do you live intentionally? Are there tools/resources/practices that you rely on to help you stay mindful and grounded?

I’ve tried a lot of routines that other influencers or entrepreneurs swear by and it wasn’t for me. It can be hard to feel normal in the culture of “if you’re not hustling, you’re failing”. I’ve decided that waking up at 7 am works great for me, 5 am will just never be an option. I try to write my thoughts daily, just to get everything out of my head and give myself brain space. Stretching & prayer in the morning and therapy has been a huge help in keeping me present.  

What would your younger self think about what you're doing now?

I think younger Whitney would be stunned because fashion is something I had no knowledge about when I started sewing at 13...I just knew that I was meant to be an artist. I think my younger self would encourage me to be proud of myself and appreciate how far I’ve come

Do you have a go-to mantra or affirmation?

Be Honest About My Capabilities: I tell myself this a lot because I get really worried if I can actually accomplish a goal, finishing an order or pitching myself. Instead of talking myself out of an opportunity, I need to look at this objectively and take note of the resources and skills I have to make it happen.

What is your biggest dream?

My ultimate dream is to open a public facing studio and showroom. This space will also function as a gallery space for local artists to produce shows, workshop space and venue rentals for things like photo shoots and pop-up shops. Ideally, the building will be hot pink with gold glitter floors!

To learn more about Whitney you can connect with her on Instagram @whitneymanney Facebook @WhitneyManney.WM Twitter @whitneymanney and on her website www.whitneymanney.com



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