The Manini Story:
How Our Pacifica Inspired Fashion Label Began
There is just something about the Cook Islands.
The sea lapping on the shore, the feel of the soft sand between your toes, your hair tinged by salt water from all the ocean swims, inhaling the scent of the leafy green foliage, the overwhelming beauty of the tropical flowers, and the warm glow of the sun.
This tropical paradise gives you such a sense of freedom.
Not to mention the intimate connection with nature you can build.
Do you feel it?
We feel it too, and that is the feeling that we want you to have every time you slip on a Manini garment.
So, how did the Manini story begin? Let us tell you about our Pacifica inspired fashion now…
How Did Manini Come To Be?
It was 2008 when the seeds of Manini began to grow. It was during a visit to the pristine island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, with my now husband Walter’s island home
The beauty was overwhelming, I was transfixed by the stunning sunsets, the vibrant colours of the foliage and the feeling of calm that the island offered.
These things drew us to the island again and again for holidays and family visits. But, it wasn’t until 2019 that we decided to finally live our dreams and relocate to Rarotonga.
Surrounded by the island beauty and with 20 years of experience in the Australian fashion industry under my belt, I knew the time was right to start my own label.
I wanted to create an inclusive brand that celebrated the beauty of the Cook Islands and embodied the easy flow of island life, with pieces that easily transitioned from the beach to the city.
Manini was born.
What Does Manini Mean?
I chose the name Manini after the two-toned reef fish found in the crystal-clear waters of the Cook Islands. There is just something about the Manini fish. It is not the most colourful fish in the water, but that doesn’t stop it from standing out amongst the rest.
That is what I wanted Manini Wear to portray. A subtle ability to stand out and to feel beautiful, no matter the setting.
Most Manini prints are designed by me and are completely one of a kind. Manini is committed to creating quality clothing that is easy to care for and fits like a dream – at an affordable price.
Our vision is to create beautiful garments for all body shapes and ages, and to bring a piece of the Pacific to the rest of the world.
We offer clothing for men, women and children – sized from 8 to 20. We offer everything from mini to maxi dresses, as well as pants, shirts and jumpsuits.
Manini’s philosophy is to make everyone feel welcome by creating a culture of inclusiveness and belonging, and holding ourselves accountable at every step.
From Humble Beginnings
We moved to Rarotonga from Sydney in May 2019 and had our first market stall in July. From there, things have consistently grown. Though we had a few hiccups when the borders closed in March 2020.
Yet, even with the world in lockdown, we had customers contacting us from around the globe, wanting to buy our clothes. So, we decided to launch our online store and bring our Pacifica inspired contemporary brand to the world!
I love the journey Manini has taken – from launching in market stalls to being worn by women all around the globe.
Seeing people feel good about themselves in Manini is my fuel. It’s important to me that our clothing is created to fit all different sizes and shapes.
It is no secret that the Cook Island people are as beautiful as their island nation. So, it is our philosophy to support local businesses wherever we can. We have cultivated excellent relationships and are blown away by the talent the island has to offer. For example, all of our stunning photographs are captured by a local photographers.
Manini also strives for zero-waste. This earth has limited resources and we don’t want to waste any of them. To help minimise the impact we have on the environment, we do not create unnecessary waste. That means we use all our offcuts to produce packaging and hair ties.
We are inspired by the oceans, the skies, and the flora and fauna of our enchanting islands. So, we will do everything we can to protect the natural environments we live in.
We would love to share Manini with you! Head on over and browse our Pacifica inspired clothing collections now.
All Images shot by the amazing Alisha Street