Fashion designers usually gain personal recognition after various attempts at other fashion houses—but for Ukrainian native Anna K, the path to her own label took off when she showed her first collection at only sixteen years old. Her unique approach to feminine attire grabbed the attention of influential fashion people like Vogue Italia’s editor-in-chief.
Her brand is fueled by her own personal style and her love for fairy tales and novels; for her latest collection, the teenager was influenced by the story of “The Little Match Girl,” forming an array of nearly a hundred dainty pieces reminiscent of Anna’s own closet: transparent dresses, A-line coats, and graphic tees with fashion slogans, to name a few.
Her fresh take on design is leaving a mark—now nineteen, she’s already showing her collection at London Fashion Week and her designs are paraded around by street style stars.
429Magazine recently spoke with Anna K in an exclusive interview.
dot429: Your Match Girl Fall/Winter 2015 collection has so many looks, and all of them are fascinating! Do you have a favorite look from your own collection? Which one and why?
Anna K: There are about 100 pieces in my new collection. For me they all are one big transfiguring and developing look: the look of the Little Match Girl from [Hans Christian] Anderson’s fairytale. My story is not about the girl’s death though—it’s about the resurrection from everyday life to the world of fashion fantasies. My girl is going through all these imaginations: big snowdrifts embodied in my bow-dresses, fragile frozen snowy branches, sweaters and dresses scratched by Freddy Kruger.
It’s just impossible for me to pick one look. I feel the whole collection on every centimeter of my skin—it is my concept of this fairy tale, and that’s my rethinking of the story and how I understand what is going on with me and with my girls, for whom I create my collections.
The silver bow-dress from my collection, in which I closed my show in London, was even was used in the advertising campaign of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days. That look is the perfect embodiment of the fragile, timid and dreamy girl I design for.
dot429: I know you love transparency, as you pointed out on Instagram—you manage to balance nakedness with elegance. How would you describe the personality of the girl you have in mind while you design?
AK: I’m absolutely certain that every girl is a model! My girls are young and amazing, tender and crystal pure. They don’t want to provoke anybody. The transparency in my designs is more about their inner fairness. Everything is really simple: I’m really fond of wearing transparent gowns. I love wearing them with a number of layers.
My first collection, [which]I showed at sixteen years old—where I was also a model—consisted of transparent pieces tied and tailored in different ways. Vogue Italia called the collection the most promising of the season. For me, my work is a big fairy tale about love, where I’m the role model in my brand. In some cases I’m the girl for whom I create my collections, but I also create for the girl who is in the spotlight of the best street style photographer, who is on the pages of the best magazines.
dot429: At nineteen years old, you’re already a prominent designer. What is your daily routine, and how do you manage to balance free time with work?
AK: I don’t separate my work and fun time. I’m just fond of creating; I really adore discussing and realizing the ideas with my team. I’m also really fond of traveling—visiting different manufactures and choosing the fabrics myself. Visiting the shows, making the shootings, communicating with adorable people from the fashion world—this is all about my life and work.
dot429: I’ve noticed you hardly wear any makeup—and you look amazing! Any tips for teenage skin? What do you wear on your face?
AK: I almost don’t use cosmetics at all, just for some special shootings or catwalks. It seems like in such way it’s easier to save the purity and freshness in which I perceive the world.
I don’t know any skin care secrets, but I know for sure that you can eat as much chocolate as you want and as a result you’ll be in an excellent mood all the time! I’m fond of different Comme des Garçons fragrances. I don’t really use any fancy creams, just moisturizer.
dot429: I know you hang out with Daria Shapovalova. Are there any other street style stars or muses you admire/inspire you?
AK: I really love Sofie Valkiers, Linda Tol, Candela Novembre, Tiany Kiriloff and many, many others. You can see them in my pieces in their street style shots. They really suit them perfectly, and the girls like the pieces so much—but not only street style stars are worthy to be spotted, as I know a really a big number of very stylish, fearless, young girls, whose style, looks, and the way of life, inspire a lot of people—including me.
I call them #ANNAKGIRLS and recently started posting their photos on my Instagram and I tag them to make my girls popular—and recognizable among the other cool girls.
dot429: What are your to-go everyday clothing pieces?
AK: Usually I mix Comme des Garcons, Miu Miu, Prada, Jacquemus and my own designs. I really love the sneakers and jeans look. Also, I think that jersey fabric should be incorporated more in today’s fashion.
dot429: Your first physical store in Paris is opening soon. Do you have a specific concept, location, or target market for it?
AK: My team and I found the perfect spot for it in Paris, not far from Louvre. The concept is absolutely effortless—“The World of Anna K”— easygoing, classy and a fairy-world aura pop-up store where customers will feel funny and cool. We’ll open the store this year and we’ll see how it turns out. And, of course, we will connect the store with my website using the same concept: The World of Anna K, which is the meeting point for all the #ANNAKGIRLS.
dot429: You recently pointed out your love for reading, which led you to changing your name to match Anna Karenina from the book of the same name. What are you currently reading? Are there any other stories aside from “The Little Match Girl” and Anna Karenina that have inspired your work?
AK: I’m fond of all of Anderson’s fairytales. Sure, this might be deemed as a magical and tender concept in the whole world today, but I love it. I adore Tim Burton’s films. I love Pippi Longstocking, Winnie The Pooh, Alice in Wonderland—[who]I like to think is Anna K, myself.