The creative minds behind the Berlin based label Anntian are Anne and Christian. I met them at last year’s Paris Fashion Week, where we had dinner together with Ettina from Konk at the beautiful Seine.
More than one year later, I got back in touch with them to ask a few questions about their label and their inspirations. Also, they told me what they would be if not Designers.
Midia: How would you describe Anntian and what is remarkable about the label?
Anntian: We like making intended little mistakes. Anntian is rather reserved than loud and is playing with little details. It’s kind of strange, playful, irritating and unusual. It‘s about colors, moods, freedom of mixing up, harmonies and disharmonies. We think clothes must be easy to wear and functional first. We want to make pieces, that endure many years, that you still like and keep for years. In this sense we like to slow down. We like the idea of clothes that get their own history, that remind you of a specific moment, a certain time of your life.
All in all the collections are quiet and harmonic. Expressions of graphic elements and shapes are always based on the theme contents we’re presenting within the collection.
Midia: How did you meet and how did you found your label?
Anntian: We got to know each other at the end of our studies at university. From the first moment we’ve been talking, it felt like really familiar and close – our feelings towards imagery and aesthetics, things in general, we’re so surprisingly matching that we just naturally went on. Right after finishing our studies we started to work on a little collection that we didn’t really sell – directly followed by our first professional collection. At that time we both had jobs as designers. Everything started quite “organic” and natural. One step after another. Our first professional collection was Summer 2007, named “A stripes back”.
Midia: Where is your studio located?
Anntian: It’s located in a rather quiet neighborhood in Berlin-Neukölln. Just a little walk and there’s lot of green, parks and places to stroll around! The studio is at the ground floor of an old living-house.
Midia: Who does which job?
Anntian: There are these fields in which we are specialized in, like on Anne’s side there’s graphics, printing, colours, moods, selecting fabrics and materials and on Christian’s side it’s pattern-making, creating prototypes, tailoring.
But still, the both of us work and think in all areas! For example, when we start thinking about the silhouettes of clothes, the colours and fabrics – each of us comes up with certain ideas.
Midia: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from?
Anntian: In general we are fascinated by mistakes, errors, disharmonies and abnormalities, unusualness, uncommon things and defects. Nature is also a very important field of inspiration and the greatest ideal. On the other hand there’s the vanguard in the field of techniques and future visions and architecture that are of interest for us.
At the beginning of each collection we build little paper sculptures, from these we develop patterns for the clothes. So the clothes are at first very “strange” – it’s our goal to bring these sculptures into comfortable and wearable clothing pieces!
The AW10/11 collection “Walk the LIGHT” for example, tells about walks that you have in the dark/night, it’s about illuminated windows that give moments of insight while passing them, about a light cone of a pocket lamp, about beaming spotlights wandering around, detecting, blinding, searching, finding and loosing again the focused out of sight.
Hidden beauty, ordinary banal structures we come across everyday get spotted and highlighted, such as sidewalk surfaces you walk on, wood grain of a chair or PVC floorings. The graphics are forms made out of those structures. The shapes are geometric and are based on houses, have triangles like housetops, jewellery and graphics are also built as houses with many floors. These fragments, shreds, moments get an entire new magical meaning due being singled out. It’s the attempt to search and find the very “special” that is inherent in so many things of our daily life, to search and find the outstanding.
Midia: What do you like the most in your job?
Anntian: Creating a new – next collection: finding new inspiration, deciding about fabrics, color moods, shapes, interior – surroundings, moods etc. Of course seeing the ideas grow step by step, see them become real! The repetitions of work-steps we have to go through within the collections are also feel kind of nice – it feels a bit like the seasons of the year – the change is nice!
Midia: It’s hard to go into business for oneself and to build up something that you can actually live from. Have there been any moments where you’ve questioned and you didn’t want to go on?
Anntian: Sure, it’s not easy, especially as in any creative field you need to prove yourself over and over again. But then there’s always these inner feelings, your convictions and attitudes, your impulse that guides you. Also there’s this motivation that drives you to develop and shape up yourself, to search for new challenges.
Midia: What would you be if not designers?
Christian: A “flaneur”, teacher, winegrower!
Anne: Something related to nature protection and landscape conservation, or I would like to run a restaurant.
Midia: What is your advice to others who would like to launch their own label?
Anntian: This is too hard to tell – it’s so specific – I guess anyone needs to find their very own way. Stay true to yourself, be authentic – do what your inner thoughts urge you to, listen to yourself, nobody can lead you or tell you what’s right or wrong!