Meet The Only French-Caribbean Designer Sold In St. Barts
“I believe that you create the change that you want to see,” MoAna Luu tells BLACK ENTERPRISE about the fashion house she unapologetically doused in her own Creole culture.
For Martinican creator and brand architect Luu, establishing her legacy requires a labor of love, a celebration of identity, and support from the Black community.
“I want to see change by us … by taking more space in the luxury market,” says Luu, who served as chief content creator for Essence and created designs for hotels and more in her previous careers. Her luxury heritage jewelry brand, MANLUU by MoAna Luu, is doing just that, having recently hosted its second anniversary celebration powered by Shop With Google.
“Life is about opportunities. There is plenty of space for everyone. It’s important to have each other’s backs,” she declares.
Through times of crisis, Luu created an opportunity to share what’s important to her to the world. The art of sharing transcended into a passion project and a fusion of heritage and high fashion.
“You don’t know what’s tomorrow,” she said of her COVID-19 recovery in 2020. “You need to find hope,” she continued, adding that risks also comes with its rewards.
Nearly three years later, Luu’s passion has no bounds. Among the big luxury conglomerates, Luu became the first Caribbean brand to sell her products in the French-Caribbean country that has been ranked as one of the most expensive travel destinations. St. Barts is not only known for its laid-back yet luxurious vibe, it is also a shopper’s paradise. Luu is gearing up for her second year of distribution.
Luu dedicated her first year to understanding the process of being in a large retailer. It’s one thing to have the partnership, but it’s “important,” she says, to keep it. So she leaned on other people’s experiences and advice.
In 2021, Luu took a leap and released a fine jewelry line that saw success in the first three months.
“Jewelry has always been an anchor in Creole culture,” Luu says. Each piece is symbolic, whether inspired by cane webbing of furniture or in collection names like “DouDou,” meaning “sweetheart.” The collections feature a diverse range of styles, from minimalist elegance to bold and avant-garde designs.
ManLuu’s “high jewelry” was selling on Goop and in Nordstrom stores as well as on its website. With pride, Luu recalled watching her brand attract media hits as celebrities such as Cardi B wore her stacked bracelets.
Success looks good for ManLuu when people connect with the brand.
“We stay authentic to who we are in accepting the fact that we are a melting pot of cultures,” Luu says.
From bold statement pieces to delicate everyday wear, including swimwear, ManLuu invites everyone to discover cherished objets d’art handed down through generations. This an ode to a Creole jewelry tradition dating back to the 1700s and 1800s.
Luu is very intentional in her storytelling.
“ManLuu was a perfect tool to share the story to the American market,” she explains. “To be in the luxury market, you have do it the right way. I’ve been working with a lot of Black creatives, so it was very important for me to bring them along on this project.”