Anna Yang wraps her girls into startling yet splendid fashion pieces – literally. If colour frames her phrasing, tailoring remains her leitmotiv. But Annakiki's persona is irreverent, like roguish, resolutely turned towards individuality. Self-mocking in such a serious world, the brand makes a graphic use of colour to stand against conformism. Already well-known in China, Annakiki’s just turned up in Milan.
When rebellion happens to be a matter of chiffon, most of the time, it ends up bringing fun and spunk into brilliant tailorings. That's exactly what Anna Yang delineates into her pieces. Annakiki's core should be understood as graphic-collage-designs, exalted by the skillful colorist that Yang is. Born into a family of tailorists, Anna Yang has been developing her brand as an independent label in China for almost five years – but now, her free and unruly girl, bold and gourmand, is about to bloom in Europe. For her debut at Milan Fashion Week, Anna Yang referenced aliens, in particular Roswell's UFO incident from 1947, whilst claiming her motto: 'Be yourself’.
Anna, you were born in a tailor family – I was wondering what does it look like to be a kid in such a family?
Growing up in a family of tailorists surely had an impact on my interests and on what I wanted to be. I was always browsing around my family’s factory, spending a lot of time watching my parents working and trying to learn their art. They showed me all the process of garments making. Soon I was able to create pieces on my own and then, I naturally went on the path of studying design.
As a French speaker, your brand's name sounds very cute to me – where does it come from?
Thank you, glad you like it. Annakiki is made from the combination of two names: mine and my sister’s. We are deeply tied so I wanted to include her name in the brand.
What does it mean to be an independent fashion designer?
As far as I’m concerned, being an independent designer means conceiving the creation process in a very original way. I don’t want to follow the trends, how the market is moving, because it is becoming very commercial. What I want, is trying to keep the Annakiki’s DNA intact despite all the changes the fashion industry is going through.
Your brand is actually pretty famous in China, and you've just started to positioning it in Europe, from Milan. How do you understand the European market in a matter of style?
Although being one of the capitals of fashion, Milan is characterized by very wimpy colors. Everything, clothes included, seems to be very dark: grey, black, brown. Annakiki is a pure explosion of colors and I think that this feature can attract a lot of attention, especially in a city like Milan.
The girl you're dressing seems detached in her search for style – she wore big fluffy fur with ripped off jeans. What kind of girl do you actually aim to dress up?
The Annakiki girl is a strong and rebel female. She is not afraid of daring and she aims to be different from the crowd by searching her own individual style. Those are the main features that define my prototype girl.
How much is colour decisive when you compose a silhouette?
Colors means everything to me. The different tonalities are mostly used in their monochromatic form. However, I do love to combine very contrasting shades to visually achieve a highly impactive result.
Another thing that you seem to enjoy playing with in your clothing is actually fur. But yours is eco-fur. What does it mean?
The presence of fur is important in my AW 17/18 collection. I love this type of material but, instead of using real fur, I opted for the ecofriendly choice of choosing ‘fake’ fur. Although I must admit that in the past I used real leather for a very limited number of items, I always tend toward an eco and ethically correct way of producing my clothes.
Looney Tunes, aliens, fuzzy fur… How important is it to incorporate some do-not-take-yourself-too-seriously elements to an exigent design?
Those elements are recurrent throughout my collections. I always incorporate unconventional elements and materials within my items. I used plastic, fur, patent leather. I played with different fonts, fabrics and colors. I suppose that those elements define my style. When somebody sees them, they will think about Annakiki straight away.
Your last collection is inspired by Roswell’s UFO incident from 1947. Why so?
I watched a documentary about this incident in Mexico in 1947 and what attracted me the most was the discovery of some pieces of aluminum foil which were thought to be part of aliens’ skin. The possibility of the existence of extra-terrestrial life awoke my imagination. I suddenly started to think about other worlds and consequently I focused on all the elements that can connect with the outer space mysteries. The result was materialized in the garments you saw during MFW.
Was there something you wanted to tell people through your collection when you sent it down to the September runway?
These days we live in an era of fragmentation, we are bombarded by the media and our lives are always exposed to social media. My AW 17/18 collection was an attempt to pause a little bit from the fast-paced rhythm of everyday life thus having time not only to explore the outer space mysteries but also to re-discover our true inner self.