With hairdressing, modeling, savings and styling in its repertoire, local creation Nicole Manning has combined her love of community, sustainability and self-expression through her involvement with Denver’s fashion scene.
Originally from North Carolina, Manning has lived in Colorado for five years. After practicing real estate, she returned to hairdressing in 2020. Manning explained that hairdressing not only allows her to have a stable work-life balance, but it provides many opportunities to connect with other people. ‘other people.
“Coupling is a great way to serve people. I’m able to sit with them and listen and be present,” Manning said.
Manning, who started modeling when she was 17, credited her mother and grandmother for her inherited creativity. Taking scraps of fabric from her grandmother’s sewing projects, Manning would put clothes together as a child. By organizing fashion shows with her friends, she developed an interest in fashion at a young age.
Manning is represented by Donna Baldwin Agency and project models that reflect personal values in service of a larger purpose. Some of his most rewarding jobs have been with brands coming from out of state to shoot in Colorado. She noted one particularly special project with a church in South Carolina.
“This job was phenomenal – getting up at 4 a.m. to do makeup at the base of a mountain and then climbing the mountain before sunrise. I have friends in South Carolina who go to this church, they have could take the magazine with a picture of me on the cover,” Manning said.
By working with another brand, Francis and Benedict, Manning has combined her modeling career with her passion for sustainability and ethical fashion. The brand provides Togolese seamstresses with jobs making patterned skirts for a living wage, which ties directly to the principles Manning promotes in her own thrift business.
As part of her rebellion against fast fashion, Manning began thrift shopping, bonding with other dealers at the thrift stores she frequented. Sydney Swingowner of Manic Pixie Thrift, Manning invited to her first pop-up after recognizing her from Goodwill while the two were at church. Since then, Manning has been part of Swing’s monthly pop-up, Tags N’ Tats.
Manning emphasized the importance of being present among other creatives, and how special those friendships can be when you put yourself out there.
“Everyone is unique. In the creative community, we’re very expressive and energetic about it. When people express themselves, there’s a level of vulnerability present, and it’s so exciting to be around people who are themselves,” Manning said.
It was important to Manning to ensure broad accessibility in his resale practices, his top priority being to drive customers away from fast fashion businesses. When it comes to the future of sustainable fashion, affordability is a key player.
“I understand that not everyone can afford certain clothes, or have access to a unique vintage. That’s why, as a stockist, my prices are relatively low,” Manning says.
Materials, patterns, and color all play a role in Manning’s final decision when buying the pieces she plans to resell. In the spirit of durability, the material should be able to withstand multiple washes and wear. For this reason, most of the clothing Manning resells tends to be vintage and made in the USA, as they are usually made with higher quality materials.
As sustainability and thrift have become a recent trend, Manning hopes to shift people’s perspectives and show them how cyclical fashion is. Through her resale efforts, she hopes to demonstrate that second-hand fashion is not a passing fad.
Manning also offers personal shopping and styling services in which she encourages her clients to use fashion as a way to build confidence and showcase their personality.
“I like to dress according to my personality – according to how I feel that day or how I want to feel that day. It sets the tone, and I like to encourage that same mentality when I dress other people. Sometimes that means experimenting with something that they wouldn’t always grasp,” Manning said.
Manning no doubt has his hands full between hairdressing, modeling and his thrift business. She explained, however, that her time, energy and flexibility allowed her to explore her many interests.
“I haven’t set myself too many long-term goals. If I had a big goal in mind, I might have gotten too involved and wouldn’t have ventured down that path. If modeling or hair was the big focus, I probably wouldn’t even have started saving up,” Manning said.
Staying grounded in the present and open to meaningful relationships is integral to Manning’s success and remains central to her life philosophy.
“I’m excited about the new opportunities and can’t wait to see where this journey takes me. I couldn’t have done any of these things if God hadn’t blessed me with these strengths and for the community of people I found throughout this journey,” Manning said.
All photos courtesy of Nicole Manning.