Issue / Fashion Profile: Hardip Manku

Fashion Profile: Hardip Manku

Aug 08, 2013

The artistic partner behind up and coming high-end fashion line Plain Jane Couture is anything but plain.

Hardip Manku, the 26-year-old creative mastermind with his trademark turban, was born and raised in a Sikh household in Montreal, Canada, where Plain Jane Couture is based.

What is his brand all about? “The idea behind the line is that it’s well cut and fits young urban professionals and fashionistas; it’s a men and women’s premium clothing line targeted for the 16 to 45 crowd, with a major selling point being the now infamous logo,” Manku explains.

In its relative short span, Plain Jane Couture has been featured in fashion shows coast to coast, from New York, Los Angeles and Montreal to Atlanta and Las Vegas.

Many premium boutiques in North America now carry the young line including Atrium (New York City), Fred Segal (Los Angeles), Kitson (Los Angeles) Jasmine Sola (Boston), La Maison Simons (Montreal), Trixie (Toronto), or online at and

So how did someone from a traditional background, who graduated from McGill University with an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in finance, jump into the shoes of a fashion designer?

It doesn’t sound like every South Asian parent’s stereotypical dream but, as Manku says: “My parents were very supportive even though at first they thought it was a hobby. When they saw it consuming my time more and more and saw that it became a legitimate business, they supported me and my choice, since they knew I had my education and took calculated risks.“

However, even with familial support, fashion designers are not created overnight. “It all started when I worked part time at the GAP during school,” says Manku. “Then I got hired at Suteki High End Boutique in Montreal, where I helped with the buying of the boutique. After graduating from there, I worked at Matt & Nat Accessories in sales.”

Following his final stint, he took nine months off and went to teach at his old high school, while trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to do with his life. He knew his interest in fashion was strong, so during the downtime it gave him the chance to explore his passion.

He took things to the next level and conceptualized Plain Jane Couture with his business partner, Zoum. In mid-2004, all the pieces came together and their dream became a reality.

His styles have an international flavour and even though he does not specifically develop South Asian themes in his work, he tries to incorporate a very Sikh ideal in marketing and audience targeting. "We mainly focus on confident women and help them realize that they are equals in all sense of the word,” he says.

Zoum describes his partner as "a truly unique character, a person so independently recognizable in the premium streetwear fashion category by his turban, that he has become a brand unto himself. "

‘Something glorious is about to happen’ are the words Manku lives by, “I say this because I believe in working hard and feel every person I meet is someone I can learn from.” And with his fashion success thus far, there’s no doubting it.



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