From executives to creatives, women across fields are innovating and shaping the fashion and beauty landscape. In our series “Words of Women,” EnVi talks to inspiring women in the industry about their work, achievements, and journey to success. To celebrate the launch of EnVi en Español, we spotlight Nadia Manjarrez, founder and CEO of the eponymous Mexican bridal brand. 

Born and raised in Culiacán, Mexico, Nadia pursued Fashion and Textile Design studies at the University of Monterrey. In 2011, she moved to New York for a design internship with couture designer Bibhu Mohapatra and then went on to work for Badgley Mischka, Marchesa, Cushnie et Ochs, David Meister and Flor Upon her return to Mexico in 2019, Nadia set up an atelier in her parents’ basement to work on wedding gown commissions from friends. However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly after, prompting her to swiftly change gears to sew and donate masks to local hospitals. As the pandemic subdued, Nadia would eventually reprise bridal creation. 

Now, focused on versatility and wearability — without neglecting the inherent beauty and splendor of bridal design — Nadia creates made-to-order gowns. Each dress is entirely produced in her atelier in Culiacán by a team of all-female, head-of-household seamstresses. Read on to discover more about Nadia’s creative universe.

Where did the idea of launching your own fashion brand come from? 

I always knew I wanted to have my own brand but the idea of bridal didn’t happen until I started working on a couple of friends’ wedding dresses in 2019.

Can you talk us through your background? What were you doing before launching your bridal brand

I worked for eveningwear and bridal brands for 10 years before moving back home for “a couple of months” in December 2019. I was meant to go back to New York in March when the pandemic hit. My experience goes from product development to design with brands such as Bibhu Mohapatra, Badgley Mischka, Marchesa, Cushnie, and lastly, Flor

How does your upbringing manifest in your designs? What aspects of your creative process and final designs draw on the different parts of your identity?

I always draw inspiration from something happening in my life at the moment, the first collection was inspired by Kintsugi, the art of mending pottery with silver or gold, it symbolizes that something is only more beautiful after having been broken. I started the first collection right after the death of my father.

The second collection was inspired by Mexican wedding traditions and it happened right as I was preparing for my own wedding. I always end up highlighting pieces of my Mexican heritage in every collection.

Photo courtesy of Nadia Manjarrez.

Did you face any challenges as a female brand founder?

Not in the design aspect as much as in the business aspect of it. I often felt looked down on as a business owner with comments making it seem as if I was playing dress up with my dolls and not seeing this as a real profitable business. I am happy to be able to prove them wrong.

Looking back on the experience, is there some advice you’d give to young women entrepreneurs and business owners?

I think good planning and not overanalyzing have worked for me. Most of the time, going with your gut is what ends up working out for the best. I do an exercise when making big decisions: I think of the best thing that can happen and give it a weight value. Then I think of the worst thing that can happen and assign it a weight; whichever is heavier defines my answer.

What is something you wish people would recognize your designs for?

Versatility, newness, comfort, and sophistication

Have there been any challenges as a Latin American designer breaking into the fashion space?

I think the biggest challenge is to convince the world to associate Latin America with high-quality products.

Latin American fashion is on the rise. Is there anyone from the Latin American and diasporic community that you look up to?

I always look up to the ones trying to improve the fashion industry in Latin America like Karla Martinez de Salas from Vogue Mexico or Estefania Lacayo from Latin American Fashion Summit.

Photo courtesy of Nadia Manjarrez.

“I do an exercise when making big decisions: I think of the best thing that can happen and give it a weight value. Then I think of the worst thing that can happen and assign it a weight; whichever is heavier defines my answer.”

— Nadia Manjarrez

Who are your biggest style inspirations?

I think it depends on the stage of design I am in at the moment. Right now I would say Adele and Zendaya.

What do you hope to see in the fashion industry in the future?

More focus on quality and design and less “clickbait” spectacle.

As a brand founder, what have been some of the most rewarding moments?

Internally, when my team gets excited about our company’s accomplishments, it makes me feel proud to have a team that sees this company as theirs too. We were recently featured in the New York Times. It definitely felt like a morale boost for our upcoming collections.

How do you envision your brand in the future?

I see us solidifying our name among our competitors and growing our reach through partner stores as well as our NYC showroom.

Recommendations of women 

What are some of your favorite places (anywhere in the world) to visit?

El Rosario beach in Baja California Sur, México

What are your must-have beauty items?

Caudalie Vinoperfect Correcting Serum and the Beauty Elixir Mist.

Vinoperfect Radiance Dark Spot Serum Vitamin C Alternative
Beauty Elixir Prep, Set, Glow Face Mist

Nadia Majarrez Studio recently celebrated the opening of its first by-appointment-only showroom in New York. Located in the Flower District on 28th Street, the space is the only place in the United States that showcases all of Nadia Manjarez Bridal’s collections including past season designs. “Opening my own showroom was a goal I’ve had for quite some time, but wasn’t something I thought was attainable in the immediate future,” Nadia explains. “There are so few Mexican designers represented in the bridal industry, I want to show the next generation of designers that it’s possible to achieve your dreams with a lot of hard work and a little luck.”

Want to read more about inspiring women in the fashion and beauty industry? Check out how Tamara Bakir is refining clean beauty and self-empowerment with Manifest Beauty here