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Interview with René Mantilla: Chapeaux, Capes and Kimonos



René Mantilla
Photography by Pablo Naranjo

It’s been a little over a year and some change since we’ve had the opportunity to sit down with René Mantilla. René was one of our earliest guests on the NYS Podcast. He had a lot going then and he hasn’t slowed up yet. As a matter of fact, René seems to be hitting hyper drive.

Greatest experience since the podcast aired in 2017

Hmmmm… The Greatest Experience is the podcast debut… Honestly, since the podcast has aired, everything after has been a blessing and great experience. From Fashion Week Presentations in NYC, Pop Up shop in Beverly Hills, Ca, Debuting in Vogue Mexico, Ocean Drive Venezuela, being part of Dominicana Moda in DR, establishing The Council of Fashion Designers of Ecuador last year, it all has been beyond a great experience.

Photography by Pablo Naranjo

What are your days like?

My days can be very random and long. Some days may start at 6pm and I’m not home until 5am (pending on client calls, events, networking). My brand has reached over to Moscow, Russia, so communication with clients are between 1-2am. Other days may be quiet, I usually have at least 1 day of stillness, to write a schedule for the week. But I am beyond grateful when I add commitments and get booked up. But I do try to take at least 1 day, usually Monday. Believe or not, Sundays are quite busy!

Photography by Amon Focus

What are you looking to accomplish in 2019?

I started my 2019 amazing, thus far, I did an amazing segment back in my hometown area (Delaware Valley, Philadelphia/Camden) on Fox 29 News, Philadelphia Good Day Show just last week, 1.15 then headed to Ecuador the next day to work on Collections for SS 19, Fall/Winter 19/20 and a very special project in the city of Mexico. I am concentrating on the Central American Market, specifically Mexico City. It is the fashion mecca of Central/South America.

Photography by Amon Focus

Any recent celebrity clients he can tell us about?

The celebrity clients have been great! I’ve made chapeaux for Russell Wilson, Cedric The Entertainer, another chapeau for Alicia Keys. I spent a lot of time outside of US last year, concentrating on Ecuador and Latino Artist. I would love to connect with J.Balvin, Maluma, Bad Bunny!

Chapeau Trends you see for 2019?

I created my own trends for this year, more round and higher crowns, oversized will remain a staple for my brand. We will be playing with leather more this year for brims. Color trends for 2019 are going to be super fab!

Photography by Amon Focus

What color are you crushing on?

Luscious Red, Deep Violets, Black for Fall/Winter! Super excited to share with you soon!

Photography by Pablo Naranjo

Most pivotal experience since we last talked.

Most pivotal experience is growing the brand into capes & kimonos. Expanding my brand from just not chapeaux but capas as we look to call them. I made a collection last year and sold out that month! They are custom made as well.

Photography by Andrew Morales

We heard about the 2018 Fashion Week feature, we want details.

For Fashion Week in NYC, I love to have it open to public. So the public can see the presentation/collection. My most memorable fashion experiences were at Bryant Park from 2005-2008 during fashion week. It was such a community! I love that vibe! This year we are teaming up with Ecuadorian brands to bring something special to NYC! 2nd week of February… Stay tuned!!


Stay Up to Date with René Mantilla


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Rubi Q hails from the imagination of her creator. She writes about art, New York City, and all things creative. Currently she is a contributing staff writer for New York Said.

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