Anna Sui's exceptional career
Anna Sui believes her career is "exceptional" because she made it in fashion without a backer.
The 51-year-old designer started from scratch after graduating from Parsons New School for Design, running a tiny business out of her apartment and working odd jobs to make ends meet. Eventually her model friends Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista urged her to try a runway show, which proved her breakthrough.
These days Anna is one of the best known names in the industry and she hopes others will hear her story and realise it is possible to make it in fashion.
“People always want to know the story, how did I do it,” she explained to WWD. “So many people dream about being designers, and I’m kind of exceptional because I did it without a backer, I did it on my own. I still, independently, own my company. I think they see it as a role model for them.”
Anna values autonomy hugely and is all about creating original pieces. She finds it sad when clothes become clones of one another and is always excited by people brave enough to mix things up.
“(I miss) all of the nonconformist individuality," she sighed. "Everything got so conformed… It was the whole casual factor. (But) I think there are some really exciting things going on right now. I’m crazy about what the Gucci stuff is looking like. They’re quirky and very special. I love the androgyny and all of that embellishment. It’s beautiful.”
Gucci appointed Alessandro Michele creative director at the beginning of 2015, following Frida Giannini's departure. It meant a complete turnaround for the brand, but that's exactly what Anna values.
“That’s what fashion is,” she smiled. “It flips like that. (Someone) does the unexpected. It’s exciting and new because it just catches you off guard and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, how did that happen?’ It’s good.”