In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we feature ANNAKIKI, a brand that values quality. We ask about where the brand roots lays in along with how the brand values its customers and the balance between its designs. What is the professionalism that ANNAKIKI bring up? Let’s find out.
Nana : Can you give us an introduction to the ANNAKIKI?
ANNAKIKI : ANNAKIKI, two sides of me, dare to be different. If Anna is now, Kiki is the future. Breakaway from limited time and spatial thinking. Inspiration from current social phenomenon and future imaginations. Separate and reflect on the popular trend. I try to describe the aesthetics of Retro-futurism to interpret the coexistent contradiction between the future and the past. Designed with vivid colors, asymmetric tailoring, deconstruction, sculptural shapes, and recreative crafts, I hope to express a design language of converse thinking and counterculture, breaking through to create a female image with two sides with clear attitudes.
Nana : Why did you name it “ANNAKIKI”?
ANNAKIKI : “ANNA” is my name, which represents me in real life and “KIKI” is an alternate “me” I made up, and I’m “KIKI” when I’m at work. She’s funny, perverse and rebellious. She is interesting, perverse, and rebellious. I need more inspiration from her.
Nana : What were some of the inspirations for the brand?
ANNAKIKI : It is related to my childhood growth experience. Since I was a child, my family ran a tailor shop, and I was familiar with it. Maybe I was more rebellious than my peers, andI was paranoid about deviance. I didn’t like the kind of clothes that everyone can buy in department stores, so I chose fabrics to make clothes for myself when I was 8 years old, and I was inspired to become a fashion designer. I have always hoped to have a brand that can represent the group of “I” or “We”, pursue a maverick spirit, and have a unique brand and personality. So I founded ANNAKIKI and started my own design path. Personally, I’ve always loved Retro futurism, using the relationship between past, present and future to create something completely new. I often think about the era I live in, which may be the overlapping of the past and the future, and seek inspiration in this form. For me, music is also an important source of inspiration. I choose retro-futuristic electronic music with a sense of technology like my show music that I use every season. The Music producer will also mix some blues fragments in it, just like integrating the rationality of technology and human sensibility. I like the sense of conflict brought about by this contradiction, and it also makes it easier for the audience to feel the design concept I want to express.
Nana : What does your brand value most?
ANNAKIKI : In my eyes, as an independent designer brand, ANNAKIKI’s brand values are: industry reputation, public recognition and dissemination, innovative design differentiation, international influence, and VIP consumer satisfaction and loyalty.
Nana : In what way do use social media to promote your brand?
ANNAKIKI : In today’s vertical screen era, the role of social media is beyond imagination, whether it is for individuals or brands. In addition to the official news of Milan Fashion Week, ANNAKIKI has official accounts on Weibo, Instagram, Xiaohongshu and WeChat public accounts, and regularly updates the latest brand information.
Nana : What were some of the challenged have you faced running the brand?
ANNAKIKI : When the brand was first established, my design was very extreme. I was completely devoted to the design that I liked, and I rarely considered other factors. I remember that my first collection was only half done, and before it was finished, some very powerful bloggers, editors and stylists in the fashion circle discovered my brand and recommended my design. Gradually, ANNAKIKI gained some fame, and more and more celebrities began to wear my clothes. After that, I started to work on the second and third series. Since I didn’t focus on sales and wearability at the beginning, I encountered a lot of problems in craftsmanship and silhouette fabrics, resulting in a backlog of inventory. When the designer brand was first established in 2013, there weren’t many designer brands and buyer stores in China. Consumers were not familiar with the concept of designer brands, and had not cultivated the awareness of niche and unique designs. Only then did I realize that I might need some more practical basic models, so I adjusted the design and product structure, adding a small number of basic models while retaining my own unique design. Ultimately, I found a balance between business and art and let the brand survive.
Nana : We see that all your collections are structured and displayed in a very intricate way. How do you come up and decide on the themes?
ANNAKIKI : Every collection I start with very abstract inspirations, I work in a free way because I don’t like too many restrictions. I think that without the constraints of the established framework, breaking away from the constraints of time and space thinking, there will be unexpected results. There are many different and broad ideas for design, not just fabrics and cuts, not just the shape, color or material of sleeves and collars, but everything that happens around you and every moment you think about. For me, “any imagination can become a design.” I love the challenging three-dimensional silhouette design, so I’ve continued the brand’s signature intricate craftsmanship and 3D silhouettes every season. Usually, the whole series is almost prepared two weeks before the show starts. It was not until the last moment that I feel that the series is complete and decide on the final name of the collection.
Nana : Is it possible to know a little about your next collection?
ANNAKIKI : ANNAKIKI 2022A/W collection is based on the theme of “post-human coding”. With the rise of cyborgs, humans and machines are no longer clearly distinguished. Today, we are more and more dependent on powerful technology and artificial intelligence. I wonder if technology will also bring harm to human beings? In this contradiction, will mankind usher in a “post-human era”? I integrated these thoughts and fantasies into this collection, and conceived a cyborg future belonging to ANNAKIKI.
Nana : Is there a particular artist, movie, place, book that you would recommend our readers to check for inspiration?
ANNAKIKI : Outstanding designers like Rei Kawakubo, Martin Margiela, John Galliano, and Thierry Mugler are changing the traditional aesthetic system. In their hands, clothing is not just clothing itself, but a weapon to conquer traditional aesthetics; Instead of chasing the market, let the audience chase their designs. Regarding movies, I would recommend sci-fi movies such as “Dune”, “Ex Machina” and”Interstellar”, which are very helpful to expand our imagination.
Nana : Can you give our readers who want to make a brand of their own some advice?
ANNAKIKI : Nowadays, more and more young people choose to engage in the fashion design industry or create brands. They often start with a love in their hearts. However, what I want to say is that it is not easy to continue this love. Design and pattern making, process development and production, and marketing all need to be understood. In addition to the bright appearance, this industry requires a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Including the back of each show, just a few minutes condensed the hard work of all the team members for months. I hope that everyone will invest in this career with emotional dreams and rational professionalism. According to data, it takes 7 years to become an expert in any field, so professional knowledge must be deep and steady order to go deeper and further.
“ANNAKIKI, two sides of me, dare to be different.”UNDORABLE