By: Sahar Arrayeh
A Day with a fashion crazed lady, and she does it HER way.
Growing up in Edinburgh, Anna Skodbo always knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. After completing courses in backstage theatre and fine arts in Norway, Anna moved back to the UK to complete a degree in fashion design at the University of Herdforshire. As a student, she worked as a backstage manager for Fashion Scout. After graduating from university, Anna decided to start working on her brand instead of applying for internships, six months later, Phannatiq was launched “If I’m going to be piss poor, I might as well be poor and working on my brand” she jokes while pointing out how badly interns are paid.
Phannatiq is a brand with a simple yet strong message, everyone is included. She wanted to break the normal trends and produce a brand that fits all. Her designs have been featured on magazines such as Vogue, Fabulous, Disorder and many more. Celebrities such as the singer Pixi Lott was one many that have rocked her designs! In her latest campaign, she included two muslim hijab women dressed in Phannatiq from top to bottom, her designers were showcased at a fashion presentation in LFW September 2016.
Her designs draw inspiration from London city with a hint of grime and punk cultures. If you look closely at the patterns in her design, you’ll find they are pictures of random objects she took pictures of while walking down the streets of London.
-What would you say is your inspiration behind you designs?
“When it comes to the surface designs, I have the need to be cheeky and subversive, many designers do beautiful and pretty, I felt my attention would be more useful elsewhere. I don’t take myself very seriously and so you’ll see lots of subversion here and there and little injects of humour. I take pictures of things I find fly tipped around Walthamstow on my phone and incorporate them into the garments.
Garment design I think design first and foremost for me, I normally design things id wear, if not it would have the same aesthetic . Saying that, versatility is important for me, I try not to put people in boxes but rather inspire them to create their own style. This shows in my attitude towards sizing, I only have 3 sizes that cover a range of the conventional sizes. I don’t like to dictate howe my garment should look on you but rather I like to display how garment would look like on different types of bodies and let you decide how you want it to look on you. Who makes the rules anyway on how it should look! “
-That’s so punk!
“I suppose yes!”
-Who are your designer influences? it feel there is a bit of Vivian Westwood and Alexander McQueen in the sense you like to do things your way
“I think I may have been influenced by them but not intentionally, I haven’t consciously decided they are my inspiration in doing what I’m doing. But, I am like them in a sense that I want to do things my own way and I like to think I have the added edge that my garments are certified organic and everything is transparent”
-Our attention was drawn by the fact that as muslim women, we can find our selves in your clothes, even if you have not intentionally catered to us, but the option is obviously there. You also showcased you designed using two hijabi girls, not many designers are willing to take that risk
“I make clothes for people, and people come in all different shapes and sizes, I want to be inclusive. When I first started off, we were told to do things in certain ways but I realised that was not who I was. I started banning my photographers doing any post production on my models. While models are stunning and also people, they are not everybody. So I started using free runners and dancers, I took a step further a few years ago and launched a the project “You are Beautiful Walthamstow” 30 people pf all shapes and sizes turned up to an all day shoot. Unfortunately there were not any people who wore modest clothing. The following season, I really wanted to represent everyone. At the time, my trainer, who taught women only classes, actually wore the full abaya outside of work. and that inspired me along with Muslim friends that are encouraging me to design abayas.”
“The biggest catalyst was actually what was going on in Paris. I was supposed to showcase at PFW, but at that time, Muslim women were targeted and forced to strip! So I backed out of Paris Fashion Week and I told them exactly why I did. I took a step further and decided to shoot my entire collection on modest hijab wearing women! It was a bit hard to find modest models because I didn’t know where to look, but then I found these two beautiful black muslim hijabis and thats when the magic happened! During the process, I realised my clothes look really amazing on modest women! (laughs) It was a whole learning experience for me because I had to learn how to style for modest fashion, I had to look up tutorial on youtube for hijab styles and makeup tutorials. I realised there was a while world out there that I was completely unaware of! We did a lot of experimenting and I was so humbled by the experience!”
I am a feminist and I like to think I am intersectional and aware of things, but the truth was I wasn’t! “I grew up in an environment with little exposure to other cultures and so I learned and grew a lot with this project.”
“From a cold business point of view, modest fashion is a big revenue stream, even if I didn’t have my principles, It would be silly to ignore such a huge industry and not look into it as an option”
-Well Its certainly great having the punk alternative modest fashion without compromising our standards. Words you live by?
“It took me a long time to realise this but, be yourself and don’t give a care!
Credits for pictures:
Makeup: Lauren Kay
Hair: Oscar Alexander
Photography: Stephen Berkeley-White