How was the idea for creating a label ignited, and what key moments (including conversations) propelled you to move forward with the launch of ANNA QUAN?
Starting the label was borne out of a necessity for employment. The fashion industry in Sydney is very small and I felt that unless I made a job for myself I would not be employed.
At the time, I was an over qualified law and journalism graduate with little to no experience and connections in the industry. I did not feel that I was particularly employable and a desirable candidate.
In the early years, did you identify a gap in the market that ANNA QUAN could fill? Speak to the gap/s and your vision for the label.
At the time the label was started, sustainability was in its infancy as a discourse. There was a huge emphasis on occasion wear and party dressing and little focus on investment dressing and longevity.
I always wanted to have everyday clothes that spoke to a subtle luxury.
You debuted your SRING SUMMER ’15 Collection at AFW. What are your recollections of this event?
The event was sponsored under the Next Gen program run by IMG. I was very fortunate to be selected and it was a launching pad that allowed me to slowly build the brand piece by piece.
The distinctive ANNA QUAN aesthetic is aligned to a premium mood that epitomises simplicity, femininity, and subtle luxury. Your collections showcase a combination of sharp tailoring, signature knitwear, and every day, elevated ‘desk-to-dinner’ pieces to create effortless style, versatility, and practicality. Comment on these ‘design pillars’, and the appeal of creating enduring wardrobe pieces.
The design pillars are framed with our customer in mind that is practical, sustainable and effortless. We speak to a customer that expects quality, value and versatility.
The Anne Shirt created a commotion from both a media and consumer perspective, and the label’s shirting has become synonymous with the brand. Why do you believe that this piece garnered so much attention? (Speak to the original design/detailing). How has the Anne Shirt been reimagined for the RETROSPECTIVE 10 celebration?
The shirt was featured fashion weeks all around the world globally when it first came out. I think personalisation with the custom monogram was a key and the silhouette was striking as the sleeves and cuffs created an elongated silhouette.
The shirt has been updated in organic cotton and another version in a self stripe broidery.
Speak to key highlights during the last 10 years. (e.g. Stockists, Events, Awards, Business Decisions etc.)
In 2017 – Winner of the Prix de Marie Claire – Best New Australian Designer Award presented by Lexus
Finalist - National Designer Award – 2017
Finalist – BT Emerging Designer Award – 2018
Starting with - Net A Porter since 2017
Celebrity VIP dressing lately
ANNA QUAN is well established on local shores – how important is the international market to the label, and how is the label expanding to create an international presence/success?
Since its inception, ANNA QUAN has been very much international at heart and was embraced internationally prior to being noticed locally.
Its international success propelled the business locally rather than the other way round.
What valuable advice can you share with local emerging designers from a design and business perspective?
Learning to say NO is a discipline. Having grit is a muscle that needs to be regularly exercised. If you want something badly enough you will make the sacrifices necessary.
This discussion continues the celebration of ANNA QUAN's milestone 10 year anniversary, along with the release of never before seen content, an unveiling of our logo rebrand, and an updated take on the label's most iconic shirt, the White Anne Shirt.