Although London Fashion Week seems like a distant memory, the people we met and the collections we saw are still very prevalent here at MSL. One designer who stood out for us was Anna Oktober. It was more than just her sparkling collection and whimsical long hair that caught our attention; her smile, grace and the way in which she spoke so animatedly about her designs are what have kept us engaged with Anna 3 months on. What’s more, it is always great to connect with people from different corners of the world, especially when their work is testimony to their rich background of culture and history. For this very reason, we caught up with Anna to find out more of the story behind her life, career and designs.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a fashion designer based in Odessa, Ukraine. I spend almost all my time in my studio which is perfectly located in the historical centre of the city where I can look out at sea. I spend a lot of my free time traveling as it comes with the nature of my work, but in the summer, nothing beats wind surfing in Odessa.
How did you become to be a designer?
I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer at the age of 8. Since that moment I have always worked to fulfill my dream. After moving to Odessa at the age of 17, I studied fine art and at age of 19 launched my very own brand. Consequently, I was chosen as part of great project for Atelier 1, a concept store based in Kiev. It aimed to represent the international fashion scene and upcoming Ukrainian designers. I was very proud to be a part of this.
You have studied in Zaporozie, and Grekov, Odessa and have worked around Europe. Which location has been most influential to your work?
It has to be Odessa. As soon as I moved here I felt that it was “my place”. Odessa is full of colors and the art school is so alive with a unique spirit, that it still inspires me today. Antwerp was also very interesting and inspiring for me as it was here where I launched my first international shop.
What values do you like to communicate in your collections and your brand?
All my collections are personal. They refer to my childhood memories of playing games. The aesthetic of the post Soviet country, cliches and broken boundaries is also an interesting topic to think about and to work with. But still I believe that my main mission is to make people more beautiful and happy with my clothes, so I don’t forget about the prior function of fashion.
If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be?
To not let fake people work in the fashion industry and not to make a circus from it.
What styles and vibes are you attracted to here in the UK?
I can’t finger point something exactly, because London was love at first sight for me. The city and people as a whole are so inspiring.
How do you style yourself?
Usually I wear clothes from my own collections. I look for comfort, so combining dresses with bright sneakers is a favourite for me. Because I feel more happy in bright colors and textured combinations, you will often see me wearing colorful outfits and bold jewelry. But sometimes I go for a total black look which means I am very focused and don’t want to communicate much.
If you could have access to anyone’s wardrobe for a day, whose would you chose?
Do you have a treasured garment that you cannot part with? If so, what is the story behind the item?
From time to time I treasure different pieces, but for the moment it has to be my artificial fur coat made of layers of shimmering fringes. It reminds me of the New Year decorations and festivities and it’s a perfect fashion item for dances – it moves all the time. The coat is my talisman – every time I wear this coat, something great happens!
Interviewed by Marni Banks