Creative Director, A.Ahni, Dallas Texas
Why I love her: Her designs are so sleek and streamlined and when a women walks into the room with one of her dresses on, she looks and feels powerful, as she should.
When was the first time you noticed fashion was something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?
I grew up poor and my mom did not buy name brand clothing. She would always say “You are only buying a name.” I didn’t quite know what that meant until I was flipping through a fashion magazine and saw “Versace” and a model wearing this beautiful garment, then it hit me, someone made that…someone named Versace!
When did you decide to really pursue design?
I had several jobs before deciding to take the leap of owning my own clothing line. I quit them all because I was bored and I didn’t love it. When I was creating my first garment, it was in the summer in my garage. Despite the frustration, I stayed in my garage for 13 hours trying to create that dress and there was not one minute of boredom. If I could work 13 hours without any pay and not become bored once, I knew that I had found my passion, and that it would never really be a job.
Did you go to school for design?
I actually went to school to be a retail buyer and not a fashion designer, and the only class that was directly related to the design world of fashion was the textiles class, so my training actually consisted of hundreds of YouTube videos, reading multiple books and getting in my garage and teaching myself the design part of the industry. I also invested in a 6 week sewing class, which unfortunately did not help me very much. It wasn’t until I found my own unique way of creating garments that I was successful in making my first dress from concept to garment.
When you begin designing new garments, what is the starting point for you?
The fabric is usually the starting point for me. When I see the fabric, multiple designs come to my head at that point. I usually do not sketch before creating a garment. My sketching usually happens during the creating process to give me a visual of how a certain detail of the garment would work. I also sketch after the garment just to put an image with the pattern.
There’s a lot of competition out there. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
One thing I have never focused on is the competition. I do not worry about what anyone else is doing. I am only concerned with what I am doing and how I am going to reach my goals.
From season to season, how do you keep yourself from burning out?
I am a very creative person and ready-to-wear doesn’t allow me to purge that creativity so to speak. As a result, I started making unique and artistic garments to keep my creative mind happy while also working on my ready-to-wear collections. I absolutely love creating and as long as I am doing what I love, I won’t experience burn out.
The internet has changed the fashion industry in numerous ways. How have you utilized it and social media to get your work and your brand to a larger audience?
Social media is a power tool in getting your brand recognized. I would go out to fashion events and more people than I thought were familiar with my brand, A. Ahni, because of social media. However, in the beginning I underestimated social media’s power and currently I am focusing on it much more.
Fashion blogs and style bloggers are front row at Fashion Week, something that didn’t happen ten years ago. Ten years from now, what do you hope the fashion industry looks like/is headed?
The fashion industry is an “image” motivated industry. Unfortunately, there are many physically beautiful people who tend to be ugly on the inside in the industry. I hope that the fashion industry becomes nicer ten years from now. What I mean by this is that hopefully, just because you do not carry a Chanel bag or don’t have red soles on your shoes, doesn’t mean you should get overlooked. Hopefully, the fashion industry will be able to respect every person who contributes to the industry no matter what they are wearing or what their bank account consists of.
FAST FASHION FACTS
My aesthetic in five words: Sexy, sophisticated, confident, bold and different.
My client is… a very strong and secure woman who knows that you can be both sexy and sophisticated at the same time. She’s a business woman, a smart woman, and a woman who enjoys life. She does not want to fit in; she wants to stand out.
My dream client is… Angelina Jolie. She’s kind of a rebel; she exudes sex, but somehow intertwines that with being classy. She’s a beautiful human being inside and out. She is a philanthropist, mother of 6 and a wife, but still manages to be a sex symbol. She interests me.
For more on Annie and to check out more of her designs, head over to www.aahni.com