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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Fashion design inspired by the classics: An interview with Anna Popovich

Anna Popovich describes an unusual start to her career running an independent fashion label, now producing beautiful limited edition items throughout the year.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Anna Popovich by Karolina Burdon

Anna Popovich by Karolina Burdon.

Anna Popovich grew up in Leicester and has taken a far from direct route into fashion, first studying Literature at King’s College London, before refining her style working as a model and an intern for the likes of Roksanda Ilinicic, then topping up her skills at London College of Fashion and Central St Martins. Her innovative Hackney based brand has recently decided to concentrate on selling direct to the public, offering affordably priced limited runs throughout the year straight through their website.

Fashion Illustration by Ivana Bugarinovic

Fashion Illustration by Ivana Bugarinovic.

How did you get from a degree in comparative literature to your own clothing brand?
It’s not the most obvious route is it! Sewing and making clothes has been something I’ve always enjoyed. My Grandmother gave me my first sewing lesson when I was three. It really didn’t occur to me that I could be a fashion designer and as I’d enjoyed literature at school it seemed a sensible choice for a degree. While I was studying I continued to make clothes for myself in my spare time and got involved with the drama society, making costumes for their productions. After my degree I worked in costume for various theatre and opera companies before interning for fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic. It was the latter experience which made me decide to become a fashion designer myself.

Anna Popovich Elizabeth-Shirt-Anthony-Skirt-Long and Mark Dress

What have been the biggest problems you have overcome so far and what have been your biggest triumphs?
I think the biggest problems I’ve had are probably the same ones anyone starting a business of any kind has. As well as having to get your head around tasks you may not be comfortable with, (for me this would be finance and marketing) you have to maintain a strong sense of self belief. I think it’s the latter that can prove the hardest! My biggest triumph has been convincing the lovely Emily Parrett to become a partner in the business, as managing director. Everything seems less daunting when there’s someone else to discuss, worry and celebrate things with. Other highlights have included making a dress in Liberty’s shop window and being invited to speak to a roomful of young designers at the UKFT’s Rise event for creative start-ups.

Anna Popovich by Julie Ritchie

Anna Popovich by Julie Ritchie.

How do you manage to juggle a career as a model alongside your role as a fashion designer?
With some difficulty! Things have improved greatly since I bought a bike as I’m always zipping between my studio, castings and shoots. It’s so interesting working with other fashion labels – I learn so much from the different ways they operate and I’ve been really lucky to get advice from some of the most talented people in the industry.

Anna Popovich by Gianluca Floris

Anna Popovich by Gianluca Floris.

You have decided to concentrate on a direct relationship with your customers: how is this reflected in the way that you work, for instance in the way that the garments are produced and sold?
We’ve recently made the decision to sell direct to customers either online or at events. Our garments are luxury but we want them to be accessible and we see this as the best way of achieving this. Although we understand why they have to do it we hate seeing our prices hugely inflated by retailers so they can take a cut and we don’t want to push our prices down by not paying properly for materials and workmanship or compromising on quality. At the moment most of our pieces are made to order in London but we are starting to stock pieces in more sizes (still made in London) to reduce the time customers have to wait for their order.

Anna Popovich ira dress, ira top

How does your love of classic design manifest itself in your ranges?
The inspiration for each collection is very different but there’re certain ideas which run through them all. From a very early age I’ve poured over images of the opulent dresses of the couture houses operating at the turn of the century – Worth, Poiret, Lanvin. I love the way these designers worked with fabric; draping, folding and embellishing. You’ll always find a bit of the drama of these pieces in my collections often combined with hints of classic menswear.

Anna-Popovich-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova

Anna Popovich by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What materials do you prefer to work with, and why?
The feel of a fabric is incredibly important to me and I love combining textures. Silks and soft wools have been my favourites but I’m seeing more and more great quality synthetic fabrics when I visit my suppliers. These fabrics can have the feel of natural fibres and be much more durable and easy to care for.

Anna Popovich Julius Coat Alexas Trousers -Anthony Dress

I love the combination of unusual colours, what inspired your latest collection?
This season I was inspired by the film Cleopatra staring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The colour palette largely came from scenery and costumes in the film itself but there are also colours I chose which came from the research I did into the themes of the film such as the art of astrology.

Anna Popovich SS14 by Slowly The Eggs aka Maria Papadimitriou

Anna Popovich SS14 by Slowly The Eggs aka Maria Papadimitriou.

What do you hope for the label in the future?
More of the same – we’re having a really great time!

Anna Popovich by Melissa Angelik

Anna Popovich by Melissa Angelik.

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