Hajnalka Mandula was introduced to her career in fashion in her native Hungary by her grandmother. Her Hungarian upbringing, affinity for time-worn elements and love of nature are reflected in her label Mandula. Aligning traditional construction methods with modern architectural shapes, intricate detailing and old-world craftsmanship, Mandula is a union of modernism and antiquity.
At 19 Hajnalka relocated to Vancouver, Canada and enrolled at Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design. Upon graduation Hajnalka worked as a house model followed by a two-year stint in Milan designing with avant-garde couturier Sanchita Ajjampur, the creative talent behind Romeo Gigli. Hajnalka strengthened her appreciation for working with natural and unblended fibers, unconventional pairings of texture and form and honed her own fierce, determined individuality.
A steadfast traveler, Hajnalka works her vast collection of found objects from around the globe into Mandula’s hand-distressed, hand-finished pieces. Matchbox toys, bicycle inner-tubes and 1940’s military wool blankets are used as closures, neck pieces, and tailored jackets. A shirt becomes a skirt, a sleeve beckons a pocket, and a collar pronounces a bustle. A soft, organic cotton dress is covered with torn, petal-like fabric. Sewn-in scarves, paint-dipped hems, detachable pocket-bags and hand-crotched bodices are staple Mandula design features. Mandula’s unorthodox beauty shines through its vintage character, textural contrasts and functional ornamentation. The garments look and feel both fresh and well worn, complex and comforting. They are clothes for men, women, and those who fall into categories in-between.
Mandula is committed to the use and creation of raw, organic cotton; crinkled hand-dyed silks; boiled, hand-felted wool and cashmere and hand-washed, reclaimed leather. Hajnalka has experimented with natural-dyed cloth using coffee, tea, dirt and berries to create Mandula’s own earthy color palette. Every garment is worked and hand-crafted personally by Hajnalka and her small team in her design studio.
Mandula’s Vancouver flagship store opened in 2006.
Hajnalka lives in Vancouver and Los Angeles with her partner and daughter.
Featured in: Surface, Hobo, Nuvo, Elle Canada, American Vogue, Flare, Fashion, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vancouver Magazine, MacLean’s, The National Post, Fashion Television, Viva
Awards and honors: B.C. Creative Achievement Award 2005; GenArt’s New Garde 2006; Vancouver Museum presentation “Movers and Shapers”: IKEA design challenge; B.C. Apparel Joseph Segal Most Promising Newcomer Award; Matinee Foundation Grant 2003, Ethics in Action Environmental Excellence Award
Celebrity fans include Pink, Scarlet Johansson, Kelly Osbourne, Alanis Morrisette, Hilary Swank