Oct 10, 2013 02:57
Not all designers grow up scribbling designs and working on their grandmother's sewing machines. Anna Hoang enrolled in a law and journalism degree, and was an admitted solicitor of the Supreme Court before daring to dream about a switch to fashion design. “My friends noticed I often walked into lectures with a Vogue magazine tucked under my arm!”.
This Spring, Anna Quan launched an elegant and impressive first collection, and earlier this year, the collection was warmly received as one of just 5 emerging designers at Fashion Palette (under the name Twofolded). We chat to Anna to find out about the road to this first collection SS13/14 THE FIRST.
Anna, it's a bold thing to put your heart and soul out there with your first collection, can we get personal and ask, how are you feeling?
"Yes indeed this is my first foray! My first collection! And actually, I am feeling alright, thank you. But really I am excited and terrified all at once! I have been working on this first Summer collection since the end of last year, and the beginning of this year intensively, so it's quite nice to see it realised".
You studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology, in Ultimo, but before that, you studied law and journalism. How did you make the leap?
"Yes, I studied for a long time, and graduated. But I was always thinking about the possibility of a career in design. So I finished my law degree, then got my place at TAFE to study fashion, I was worried I might not get in, but I did. I was really excited when I got in, because by then I knew this was really want I wanted to be doing".
Were your family concerned about your change in career focus?
“Actually, (Anna laughs out loud), I think my family would have preferred that I studied medicine anyway! So moving to fashion or studying law was really more of the same. I think education is never wasted. When it comes to articulating an idea, or drafting letters, the many years of study will be helpful. I know I can be all over the place sometimes, so knowing how to take a more considered approach is really helpful, whatever you are doing”.
Your first collection has been described as ''minimal'', but how would you describe it?
“I am not big on elaborate details, sequins and such, though I'm not shut off to it, I just wanted to make this collection simple. I think women are looking for great staples, basics that they can dress up or down. I also think it's essential that when you buy a new piece of clothing, that you can immediately integrate that new piece into your wardrobe, that your existing pieces work together. Like the essential beautiful black pant... it's easy to add an awesome top for evening”.
Where would you like to see your winter collection stocked?
“Of course there are heaps of great stores I'd like to be stocked in! But I would get a quiet satisfaction if the range was stocked in Pretty Dog in Newtown, because I live in Newtown, and it would be so cool to walk into a store there and find my pieces hanging on the racks”.
Let's talk about this Spring Summer collection, which pieces are you wearing yourself right now?
“Because it's been so warm I have been wearing the Window Shorts, I designed them for comfort during summer. I dress them up for evening with heels. And I love the wider waistband! The Foundation Pants and Window Shorts both have a wide elasticated waist, the elastic actually cinches in your waist, they are the perfect base to wear with a nice top. I know there are some designers who won't use the word comfort near the word fashion, but I am not shy too... for me, comfort and style are synonymous. I am also wearing the Plank Top when I go out, and the Chrysler Top - it's lovely and light weight.”
As a new designer, what are your aims in terms of creating a collection?
“Mainly I wanted to create simple pieces, items that can be integrated into an existing wardrobe. As a buyer of fashion myself, I have sometimes bought an item of clothing and thought – well - now I have to get a top to match... I want my collection to have easily transferrable items, so you can put them together with what you already have".
“With the upcoming Winter collection, I hope to just keep refining my style. I am interested in how artists of all kinds work, at the beginning they are more experimental, and as things evolve creatively, there might be a little fumbling, but they are on the journey, I want to enjoy the journey! I want my style to develop naturally over time.”
Which established designers do you find inspiring?
“Rick Owens... his designs just seem so simple. Each item just seems really wearable, I love that. Also Ann Demeulemeester, I really admire her. She's been in fashion for a long time, since the 80s. I think to be able to last so long in the fashion industry, or any creative industry, you need to be resilient. I've decided that's the secret to life! Resilience. Don't worry if you are in, or if you are out. Just stay in the game”.
When it comes to style, what is your advice?
"I think it's more interesting when a woman creates her own signature. Rather than wear what's on the runway of show X, when the wearer makes the look their own, and adds their own touch, something unique and personal to them. I don't have an idealised view of what fashion is about, but I love that fashion is creative and arty, in fact, it's something you can do for yourself, everyday, whoever you are. I think most people like to express themselves in some creative way, and fashion offers a great platform for doing that, getting dressed is a creative thing you get to do every day, and it can make you feel good.”
Thanks so much Anna, we'll look forward to seeing your new Winter Collection.
Find the current Spring-Summer collection here at www.annaquan.com
Let us know what you think of Anna Quan designs in the comments below.