Anissa Aida is a tricky one to catch hold of. Hours after showcasing her Autumn Winter collection at this year’s LFW the New York based designer was hopping aboard a plane home, no doubt bearing a full diary and, more importantly, a freshly inspired mind, when she landed.
For it is the exposure to different cultures through travelling that continues to inspire Anissa’s work. Having studied and lived in not one but three of the fashion capitals of the world – London, Paris and New York – she is well travelled for a woman in her mid twenties. However, it was not one of the fashion capitals, but rather her upbringing in Tunisia, that influenced Anissa’s latest collection titled ‘Africa Through the Looking Glass’.
Luckily, PlusMinus managed to steal a rare five minutes of Anissa’s time to celebrate her success and to grill her on her journey so far:
PM: Tell us a bit about your up and coming collection
Anissa: The Autumn Winter 2017 collection, Africa Through the Looking Glass, is a continuation of my previous Spring Summer 2017 collection. It has the common thread of being an interactive dialogue between cultures translated into the cuts, silhouettes and patterns. I chose to keep certain elements as my signature: playing with asymmetry, stripes, and the mix and match of different fabrics.
My mission statement was also to keep using natural materials, and to continue to develop my collaboration with Tunisian artisans for the production of silk. My collections look like me: in my nomadism I take inspiration everywhere I go and then embrace these new ideas to create something new and unique.
PM: When did you realise you wanted to become a designer?
Anissa: I always wanted to do fashion. I don’t know exactly when I discovered the passion but I remember that I was always sketching and making things that I would then give to my friends and relatives as gifts. I recently found a little notebook in my parent’s house from when I was eight years old, full of drawings of dolls in different outfits.
PM: Who or what influences your designs most?
Anissa: My travels and the different countries I have lived in ultimately influenced the way I look at fashion. Coming from North Africa, I look a lot at eastern traditional clothing such as Kaftans, Djellabas and Sarouels. I like to mix and match those shapes with western sartorial inspirations. The artistic background in which I grew up in cities like New York, Paris and London also influences my work. Creative spirits and masters in fashion such as Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto have greatly oriented my work.
PM: You’ve lived in Paris London and New York – which is your favourite? And which has the best style?
Anissa: The three cities are extremely inspiring! New York and London might be a little more avant-garde and daring, but Parisian style remains timeless.
PM: What was your favourite show this London Fashion Week?
Anissa: Marques’Almeida was my favourite show this season in London. I thought it was really powerful and bold.
PM: What advice do you have for those trying to break into fashion?
Anissa: Follow your passion and fake it until you make it!
PM: Fashion is becoming more and more androgynous/gender neutral- is this the future?
Anissa: Yes, I really believe so. I recently saw an exhibition in Paris called “Tenue correcte exigée” which translates to “Appropriate clothing must be worn”. This exhibition retraces how dress codes have been metamorphosed and reinvented over time, according to rules of decency and rejection; starting from the arrival of pants for women and then mini skirts and dresses for men. Fashion is slowly becoming more and more androgynous.
PM: What’s your favourite up and coming trend?
Anissa: Oversized, and stripes!
PM: Complete this sentence “Fashion is…”
Anissa: Fashion is a lifestyle!
Wear Anissa Aida if: You want to be noticed in the office
Our fave look: Two piece striped suit with flared bottoms