I always wanted to have a serious career. So I was going to school in the south of Italy, and after that was done, I was like, “I’m going to go to law school to make my parents proud.” But I was just unhappy, so that didn’t work out. I moved to London because I was trying to understand what I wanted to do. I took a few classes at Central Saint Martins and liked marketing, so I decided to do fashion marketing.
I moved back to Italy, to Milan. I also had a blog at the time, a photography blog, because ever since I was a kid, I would take my girlfriends out and dress them up and take pictures of them. They would say take my photo too and put them on Facebook and they’d be like, “What’s the t-shirt? The brand of the skirt?...” Blah blah. I just continued blogging. I remember I went to my first fashion show, it was a joke, basically. I went there because I wanted to see a show for the first time. Well, photographers started taking pictures, and I would be outside without an invite, and they let me in because they thought that I was so important. It’s a confidence thing!
Friend of a Friend: How would you describe your style?
Patricia Manfield: I’m very versatile. I love looking the sporty one day, and then being super sexy the next. I love being many women. I think women should be able to do that—to rock as many identities as she can, because that’s exciting. I have an alter ego!
I love making things look classy and elegant—if you can rock a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and then put a pair of heels on, it looks great, and that’s very Italian. I’m also very inspired by [my boyfriend] because I love menswear. I steal his stuff all of the time. I get his oversized coats, or his jeans, which I roll up. They look great with heels.
FOAF: Is it about a uniform, or is it about something new every day?
PM: I do have one go-to look, which is a suit. Like a tailored suit. If you don’t have any confidence, you feel so ugly, you don’t know what to do with yourself in the morning, just put the suit on with trainers. Or if you want to make it elegant, then wear nothing underneath. You could never go wrong with that. Black, slick, your hair pushed back, some red lipstick and you are good to go.
FOAF: What’s your favorite item in your closet?
PM: My suede Saint Laurent boots. They were the first big purchase I ever made. My mom was like, “Are you kidding??” It’s a crazy feeling when you buy something nice with your own money for the first time. You stick to them so much and I love them because they are great. I never buy what’s on trend for the season, I think that’s stupid.
FOAF: Are you still blogging today?
PM: Yeah! (The Atelier) Obviously it’s going to change a lot now because of my music career, which is what I really want to do. I want to do that properly, so I’m slowly moving away from the fashion thing.
It’s really important because at the end of the day, no matter what you do, whether you do fashion or something else like university, or music, that you stick to something that makes you feel grounded and like you have learned things. Sometimes, fashion gets really superficial—and it can make you feel stupid.
FOAF: Tell us about your music.
PM: I've been writing my whole life, but I started writing again recently about last year and found that it was really great for me. I think I’m coming out with my first single in September. It’s exciting.
FOAF: What are some of your favorite music references?
PM: I love Chet Faker, I adore him. I think he's a great musician. But I grew up with punk music too—I love The Sex Pistols, or Alt-J, too. When I’m writing, I get really inspired by my friends and their stories. I’m so young that I don’t know that much about life, but I have so many friends that have had so many different experiences. I’m never that auto-biographic in my song writing! I’ll text my girlfriend and say, “I just wrote a song about your ex.”
I don’t start off with the lyrics, which is kind of [backwards]. I start improvising on the piano and I make up words—sometimes you find that words sound really good on a melody. Some songs have that word or string of lyrics that if it didn't have it, I swear it wouldn't be the same.