“If you love everything that is great, noble, just and beautiful, And you work with all your heart, all your mind, and all your will to achieve it and make it a reality, Your future is already mapped out for you: One day you will live in conditions that match your aspirations and your ideal, You will find freedom, light, and peace. And when you leave the earth, all that will truly remain is what matches the aspirations of your soul and spirit. “ Manele–
Every couple always imagines their wedding day to be the most peaceful, extraordinary day of their lives. One surrounded by love and people who want nothing but the best for them as they begin their new lives together as a unit.
Imagine that a stranger that wants that for you, and their gift to you can come in so many shapes and forms. It can be the gift of words, a sentiment, a piece of jewelry, or a scarf. Whatever it is when given in love and with good intentions, it becomes something that is priceless to the receiver.
Manale is that stranger that is not a stranger to us in the Bridal Industry. The name goes as far back as I could remember wanting to get into the bridal market. The image that first captured my attention and drew me more and more into the world of Bridal was these series of ads that represented more than just a wedding gown, it was a love message, an invitation for Black and Brown girls to dream that one day she too can find the love of her life, walk down the aisle and wear a Manale gown (if she so choose to). All that in one photo or a series of photos.
Manele’s story didn’t start here in America, it didn’t start in the fashion industry, it started long ago with her family, they were warriors, literally, her father and grandfather, and her mother was not only a brave soul who fled from captivity at the tender age of 16. Manale’s mother, who became a symbol of strength and hope ran for parliament and single-handedly created a very successful restaurant business supporting over 40 people.
Destined for greatness, she traveled the world from her home Gondar, Ethiopia to Scotland, and landed in New York where she graduated from Newpaltz University. There she went to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Costume Design, and an Associate Degree from Fashion Institute of Technology, FIT. All this despite facing challenges to adjust to a new environment in 1975 when so much was going on in the world, gas inflation, the end of the Vietnam War, and Black Fashion Designers and supermodels were just making their mark in the mainstream fashion world.
Manale become what call today an icon. Bridal industry notables such as Jane Heflin, Paulette Cleghorn, Elizabeth Sellassie speak of her in the highest of regards. All having worked with her to build her brand and making it an internationally respected one at that.
Manale would spend a good part of the next 25 years of her time traveling the world in pursuit of redirecting her skills to her next passion–artist and a designer of wearable art. Creating and passing on her passion for others became her way of life.
Today, Manale feels the need to give back to her homeland, the present generation of Ethiopia thus giving birth to establish Manale accessory and high-end Jewelry brand for the Global market. In doing so she discovered more of the beauty of Ethiopia’s people and hidden talent, but also the beautiful gemstones/ precious and semi-precious stones, traveling through the highlands and southern regions of her country. Treasures such as rose quartz, amethyst, crispers, moss, etc. were some of the items that enthralled and propelled her desire to introduce Ethiopian gems to the world.
We salute Manale for all her contributions to the world, the fashion world, and especially the Bridal Industry, because of women like her diversity and INCLUSION dared to exist. Note that with each investment piece you garner from Manale International you are giving a fellow human an opportunity to follow their dreams.
Over the past several years, Myrdith Leon-McCormack has evolved from one of the nation’s most successful Celebrity Manicurist, represented by Factory Downtown, to one of the most sought after branding experts with her firm MLM Represents as well as a Huffington Post blogger.
Leon-McCormack, founder of MLM Represents, oversees all practice areas and is involved in providing strategic direction to select clients. Her particular area of expertise is advising clients on how to best leverage their brand as an asset to serve as a powerful leadership tool and drive their business performance.
Leon-McCormack’s innovative strategies to connect consumers more effectively by associating them with the world’s most influential celebrities, musicians, arts, film and personalities has been part of her incredible success to collaborating with some of the industry’s most influential people in the world of the arts, music, and film. MLM Represents client list includes: Isaiah Washington, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lois Samuels–the Vessel, and Justin Davis. Her new business has afforded her the opportunity to travel the world to wonderful destinations such as Egypt, Qatar, Dubai, London, France, Ireland, to name a few.
Leon-McCormack’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the entertainment and arts has created yet another venture with the weekly radio show, “Keep It Moving” with Marsha Jews on WEAA 88.9 FM, a national public radio station, as Executive Entertainment Producer.
As the Editorial Director of World Bride Magazine (WBM), she drives the magazine into the 21st century, where visions of people of color are seen in a more positive and progressive direction.