Q+A: Peter Manning
In January, Peter Manning opened up shop right in DUMBO for a first ever retail space. The space doubles as a studio, to which all are welcome to come by appointment. The basic philosophy behind that clothing line is, "Men 5'8" and under must be able to buy clothes that fit properly and feel great." Simple, but true, the clothing line produces elegant Americana basics. Come check out a peek of the new space as DUMBO BID Fellow Rachel Hamburger sits down with Peter Manning for a chat about clothes, Jackie Onassis, and why men should never have to go to the tailor again.
What is the vision behind Peter Manning?
I was never able to find clothing that fit – everyone said go to the tailor but I thought, that wasn’t fair! I didn’t want to go to the tailor, I wanted clothes that fit. If at 5’8, I couldn’t find clothes that fit right and there were men shorter than me, then they really wouldn’t be able to find clothes that fit. I researched this and I was right, 25% of American men have this problem. Men barely want to shop let alone then have to go to the tailor. So, I created Peter Manning.
When did you start designing clothes?
Well, I call myself “the reluctant designer” as I didn’t exactly train for designing. I started my career in Theatre, and then moved to Architecture, then Real Estate, and then started in this industry. That being said, I do the sizing, the research, the shopping for materials, sourcing of materials, everything—we do everything here. We design clothes but it isn’t mad design, it is more about clothes that guys really need, clothes that fit them. I’m really fanatical about getting it right because I’m the customer too.
Men cry when they come here! I have seen it. We have men that say they have never had clothes that fit them. The world doesn’t need just another brand of clothes but clothes that actually fit well. By creating Peter Manning, it feels like we are adding something of value in the world.
From Theatre to Architecture to Real Estate Developer, it seems you have a quite a colorful and exciting journey to fashion.
I like to think all of these careers lead me here. All parts of me are a part of my work. All of my skills translate. New York is full of tribes—there is a design tribe, a theatre tribe, an architecture tribe, etc. It makes New York cozier when you have a tribe but I always felt that I never wanted to be in one tribe.
Why did you come to DUMBO?
We looked everywhere when looking for a space—the Bronx, Manhattan, but DUMBO just felt like a good fit. We liked the area and we liked the energy. It’s funny; I came here 20 years ago to get a ticket for a really hot show at St. Anne’s and happened to see Jackie O! It was my first and only Jackie Onassis sighting but I was thinking, where the hell am I? And here I am 20 years later.
As we are finally heading into the Spring season, tell us, what are you excited about for Spring fashion.
Colors! We are always about fit, but I am absolutely excited about colors. It is about time to get out of this doldrum winter.
What is nice about the Peter Manning brand is that we are not fashion driven so we don’t have to worry about seasons. Whenever we are excited about something new, we announce it immediately.
All are welcome by appointment Monday-Friday, 10AM-6PM! 20 Jay St, Suite 632.