As a designer who specializes in luxury and bridal clothing, Toronto’s Mani Jassal has played an unforgettable role in countless customers’ celebrations. This year, she’s revelling in a major milestone of her own with the 10th anniversary of her eponymous label, beloved for having a contemporary boundary-pushing approach to traditional South Asian style that embraces multiple cultural identities. Now, she’s ready to build a new brand all over again with 91, a ready-to-wear sister label that launched last fall.

Its name an homage to Jassal’s birth year and a symbol of a fresh start, 91 is meant to be the more affordable version of her primary line. The pieces are made by the same production facility in India and incorporate her signature design elements, like double slits on the skirts. To keep the price point accessible, Jassal opted for bold digital prints and a pared-down, ready-to-ship collection. The five capsules offer a range of styles to suit every vibe; mix and match from the glam capsule, which is heavy on sparkle, or the heritage capsule, which offers embroidered pieces made using traditional dyeing techniques.

Although a decade in the fashion industry is a testament to the strong foundation and community that Jassal has built, the journey up to this point has been challenging. “In the beginning, I got backlash that the bustiers were too revealing,” she says. “But now it’s very trendy to wear that type of top with traditional Indian skirts or saris.” She has also struggled with feeling accepted and recognized by peers simply because she’s focused on South Asian designs. “I showed someone my [work], and they said it ‘doesn’t feel Canadian enough,’” says Jassal. “But Canada is diverse, [and we need more than just] Eurocentric, Western clothing.”

With 91, Jassal is shutting out all the detractors by connecting with the next generation of clients who’ve been waiting to score one of her coveted pieces. “It’s nice that I’m able to cater to everyone who has been saving up to finally get that one look for their special day,” she says.

Mani Jassal



“My brand has always been rebellious in its approach to traditional South Asian attire, and I wanted to stick with that theme. Since 91 is the younger-sister label—and the younger sibling is always more rebellious—I wanted to highlight that young ‘I don’t give a fuck ’ attitude and have more fun with it. I’m actually the older sibling in my family, and I have a younger one I’ve dealt with, so I’m channelling her behaviour.”


“I’ve grown so much—professionally and personally—over the past decade as a designer. When I first started out, I was more critical of myself, but now I’m confident in just putting out what I like and not really caring about what others say. I have always wanted to do a diffusion line, like how Alexander McQueen had McQ or Prada has Miu Miu. I’ve come into my own; I feel like I can design what I want and most of the time, people will like it.”


“I’m still working on [this]. Sometimes it’s hard not to let it get to you, especially when it’s so personal. It’s your name on the brand, and you’re designing these pieces. When somebody dismisses all your hard work and efforts so quickly, it [really] sucks. But you just [have to] try not to think of it and continue what you’re doing. I always have to remind myself that there are more people who love my brand than those who don’t like it.”

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