By: Markos Papadatos Senior Editor
Acclaimed fashion and costume designer Ermelinda Manos, who has Greek roots, chatted with HNA’s Markos Papadatos about her latest endeavors in fashion and entertainment. She spoke about her inspirations and being a part of the digital age.
Legendary comedian Groucho Marx once said: “Behind every successful man is a woman, behind her is his wife.” This quote applies to Ermelinda Manos, who is the soon-to-be wife of actor Weston Cage.
On her daily motivations as a fashion and a costume designer, she said, “My inspiration as a costume and fashion designer both stem from my deep-rooted love of storytelling. Since my first runway show I was telling stories through my designs and now I have brought my passion in films where the stories are longer and more in depth than a 15-minute runway show.”
“Growing up in Athens, and being born in Albania, my world was always filled with stories from both of the rich histories from these countries or stories of real people’s lives and struggles such as my own family’s, are some things that touch my soul and my best designs to date have been created through these instances of inspiration,” she said.
On being a costume and fashion designer in the digital age, at a time when streaming, technology and social media are so prevalent, she remarked, “The beauty of social media and technology today helps me bring two different worlds together in a bigger platform, such as the film and fashion industry, where I can showcase my work to all of my friends and contacts in both industries as the same time.”
“I can make a movie and have it be available for direct steaming internationally or a runway show where where all of my family and friends in Albania and Greece can watch, something that was unattainable only couple of years ago,” she said.
Regarding her use of technology in her daily routine, she shared, “In costume designing for film, I have to do endless research. For example, the recent film I did was based on a true story and it’s imperative I keep the costumes original and the stories of the real people the movie is based on authentic.”
“To build an emotional bond between the audience and the characters I focus on the small details in each character. For this type of research and authenticity I rely heavily on online resources, to sometimes even contacting the people behind the story for further inspiration, without the power of social media and online platforms I wouldn’t be able to be as effective,” she elaborated.
On her future plans, she revealed, “My plans for the future include focusing on films that have empowering stories, to be a creative voice in both true and authentic stories that help make a difference in the world as well as showcasing a new collection at New York Fashion Week with a comeback in the fashion industry as I stopped showcasing runway shows since 2020 due to COVID.”
On her career-defining moments, she shared, “A moment in my fashion career that helped define me was when I showcased my first collection at LAFW at the age of 22 establishing myself as a fashion designer amongst seasoned designers and Bruno Mars was one of the performers of the night.”
Manos continued, “That moment started off my career, it was a dream that felt impossible especially when so many were doubting my success due to my inexperience in the industry as I had just graduated, but it helped give me the courage and belief in myself to never give up, be consistent in my work and follow my gut that was telling me to be fearless in my dreams.”
“I had to allow myself to grow up as an individual and a designer by embracing my mistakes and flaws. I feel extremely confident now as a designer knowing that I’ve become who I am due to failures or mistakes in the past, I rather fail a few times and learn to be successful than never try or live in regret,” she added.
Her advice for young designers is the following: “To give yourself the chance to do what you dream of, don’t compare yourself to anyone.”
“Learn and be inspired by your competitors and have a different form of income within the same field so you don’t depend only on one source. Don’t be discouraged when success doesn’t happen for you the way you imagined it, you have to give yourself the grace to grow into your success,” she explained.
Regarding her definition of success, she said, “Success for me is doing what I love without my work feeling like a burden but being a source of peace in my soul because I get to create something I believe in and leave a legacy behind.”
“Most importantly, living a happy and content life with my family. Looking back one day and knowing I had a rich life because I have so many beautiful memories with my loved ones,” she added.
In her personal life, she is looking forward to getting married to her fiancé Weston Cage, the son of Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage. “I am really happy both professionally and personally. I have found a person that has the same soul as me and together we are passionate about history and justice that we want to explore more in some of our upcoming projects,” she concluded.
To learn more about Ermelinda Manos, follow her on Instagram and check out her official website.