Global Young Designer Spotlight: Anna October
Anna October's collections inject 60s style with a thoroughly modern twist. Here, the fashion brand's namesake Ukranian designer lets us in on the world's best vintage store as well as her favourite places to stay and play around Kiev.
01 January, 2020
Ukrainian-based designer Anna October champions youth and femininity in her collections. Her namesake line elevates clothing to embody a mood and ensure that the wearer feels confident, elegant and playful while donning her threads. Presenting simple, vintage silhouettes in striking colours - think 60s and 70s with a modern twist - Anna October has a pattern-cutting prowess that led her to win the Mercedes-Benz Prize for Best Designer in 2016. Here, she shares her design techniques, mood board inspirations and must-visit spots in the Ukranian capital of Kiev.
Brand: Anna October
Designer: Anna October
Stockists: Moda Operandi, Harvey Nichols, The Iconic, The Modist, Boutique1, Shopbop, Farfetch, Narwhal and more.
Where did you grow up and how has your place of birth shaped you?
I was born and raised in the industrial city of Zaporizhia, Ukraine. It was very grey and moody, so I spent a lot of time dreaming. The city of Odessa inspired my use of colour - I moved there when I was 17 to study fine art.
Define your brand.
It's about being hedonistic, embracing life and playing different roles. It's about being a woman and enjoying it.
Who is the Anna October customer?
Anybody who enjoys their femininity and feels a connection to the vibe of Anna October.
Why did you choose Ukraine as your brand's base?
It's my homeland and has a very strong heritage of craftsmanship. I am inspired by the women who surround me and have amazing team here. That being said, I still feel connected to the wider world; my collection sells across four continents.
What does your creative process look like?
I like to define the feeling first, to understand what I want to create, what mood I want to impose on my clients with the collection. Next, I start to pick up details around me and put everything together. At this stage, I'll have more of a feel of what style, fabric or colour is the best for communicating my message. Once I've done drapings and finalised my collection (a thinking process which usually takes four to six weeks), I'll send my sketches to be tailored.
Where are your materials sourced?
Mainly from Japan, but I have also started to use local Ukranian fabrics in order to minimise the environmental impact that comes with new production.
The Anna October vibe is vintage with a modern twist. What are your favourite vintage shops?
Chez Sarah in Paris is the best in the world. Others I like include the flea market in Kiev and A Current Affair in New York.
If you could dress any icon from the 60s or 70s in your clothing, who would it be and why?
Jerry Hall; she is permanently on my mood board. She is very strong, but playful.
What inspires your colour palette for a season?
It's more about how I want the clothes to look in my clients' wardrobe. I like bright colours, but also recognise that most women want consistency, so I do like to offer items such as an LBD or a pastel-hued dress too.
What is your favourite Anna October design to date?
So far it's the Galina dress, with a bow on the front. It was inspired by my late mother and her femininity; she taught me how to be a lady.
Is travelling a source of inspiration?
Three destinations on your travel wishlist:
Peru, Namibia and Japan.
What is your go-to airport outfit?
A white-cotton tee or a silk shirt and black trousers, a wool cardigan and Converse All Stars.
What are you reading right now?
Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-Garde. It's an exhibition book that I picked up at The Barbican in London.
What's next for Anna October?
A new collection, a sustainability-focused collaboration and hopefully a trip to Peru in March.
ANNA OCTOBER'S POCKET GUIDE TO KIEV
STAY: BURSA Hotel.
EAT: Shoti, Osteria Pantagruel, Win Bar, Kosatka and ZigZag.
DO: In the summer, go wakesurfing at Trukhaniv Island. Autumn is the best time to walk around the old city. In the winter, go clubbing somewhere close to base.
SHOP: Hunt for vintage treasures at the flea market which runs on the last Saturday of every month. You can also pick up some great old books at Petrivka Market.