From dressing dolls as a young girl to curating the real-life runway, Annina King has always created pieces to embody the feminine aesthetic and the multifaceted lives women lead today. Her bold designs and craftsmanship capture the strength and vibrancy in every woman. King understands how important each layer of a working woman’s life is and that every aspect has a different significance. She deconstructs the accepted standards by allowing her customers to layer and customize their fashion in the way that speaks most to them. Drawing inspiration from the natural constructs of our daily lives, King emphasis the need for sustainability in the fashions that allow us to portray our true selves. In this Designer Spotlight, we learn how King’s pieces leave plenty of room for creativity and allow her clients to put together outfits that speak to them.
How and why did you start designing?
I have loved handwork and sewing ever since I was a child. I would make doll ensembles, clothing for my younger siblings, and embroidered cloaks.
In highschool, I loved making historic costumes, and (without knowing what it was called) even experimented with draping and pattern making. My formal designing began after my graduate studies, when I started Granaté Couture. I began by making custom wedding gowns and tailored pieces for a word-of-mouth clientele.
Recently, I began Granaté Prêt, a line of made-to-measure and made-to-order garments, that combines my custom work detailing, with ready-to-wear techniques and luxurious fabrics. I started this line because I wanted to elevate the uniform so many women need to wear, bringing artisanal artistry and feminine strength into a modern woman’s wardrobe through unexpected tailoring paired with strong elegance.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Women are multi-faceted, multi-layered beings. Each woman has a unique beauty and complexity. My endeavor is to create the outer covering for that complexity, creating garments that transition between the many roles a woman performs. Garments that layer and change with her needs. I want to reflect her depth and qualities with intricacy and artistry in garments.
Also, we talk so much about ‘sustainability’ these days, which is a great focus.
For me, sustainability starts with people…how they are treated in this industry.
I am happy to be working with Nineteenth Amendment and their dedication to producing USA made garments, made-to-order to reduce waste and increase awareness of working conditions.
What are your favorite ways to make your pieces unique?
I love intricate, curved, and unusual seaming as well as complicated pattern-making. I have always loved bringing handwork, and historic inspirations in my. I enjoy hand embellishment. To also reach a wider clientele than the fully-custom designs I so enjoy, I have launched this new line of pieces that have artisanal, custom/couture inspired details, but are more widely available. I still do made-to-measure tailoring and custom work, but I am excited to add these new pieces to my collection. They are comfortable, wearable, and still have hand details and luxurious fabrics to give each woman that special sense of care that comes with custom work. They are layer-able, coordinated pieces, and the collections will build on themselves, starting with embellished knit basics, continuing with silk printed pieces incorporating original engineered artwork coordinating with fine artists I know, and also silk/linen lightweight tailored pieces.
What inspired your latest collection?
Lights and shadows. The layering of Spiritual and Natural in our daily life…the shadows and images cast by light through our minds and beliefs. This world has darkness and difficulty, I wanted to focus my year on light. From the blinding gleam of summer, to the small, precious shards of winter brightness…light guides us, and casts into high relief our thoughts, our beliefs, and our path ahead. I love the living shadow-light of summer, leaf, branch, and vine shapes projected onto the ground…so there is a tendril motif, with hand beaded silk blossoms throughout this first collection.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
You mean besides funding, production, designing, and running a business?
The constant nature of marketing. Actually, it’s a wonderful aspect of being a brand today…the ability to self-publish, to advertise, to share our brand vision, but in the same breath, it’s something that requires consistency and requires us as designers to find an authentic voice within the clangor and saturation of the social media world.
What do you think about fashion today?
It’s thrilling! I am excited for the growing opportunities for independent designers, and their effect on the design world. I’m interested in how modern technologies can make connections between different parts of the industry that were hard or impossible in the past. I am happy to see the emergence of brands serving different sizes and shapes, and brands with interesting new business models (made-to-measure, ethically-focused, locally made, crowd-funded or pre-order, etc).
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
Everywhere. I am always inspired by the symbolism and beautiful forms found in nature, whether it be a bare winter branch, strong, graphic, eternal, or the near-concentric lines of hills and muscle fibers, the power of storm skies, or the arabesque skeletons of trees. I enjoy translating those ancient, yet eternally new motifs into my garments.
I find inspiration in history, in literature, Mythology, stories, and in words. As a Synesthete, I love words…the power of the written or spoken word to rouse the imagination, soothe or inspire the mind, to share Ideas…the shape, feel, and the taste of Words.
Most of all, I am inspired by people…by my clients. The Granaté woman combines many elements into a whole, she is wise, artistic, feminine and strong. She is rooted in the past, thriving in the present, and branching out into her future.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Have a reason for designing; a purpose you want to serve. If you don’t have that, you will burn out…it isn’t an easy industry, it has multiple moving parts.
Listen, absorb, and seek. Also, learn to trust your own instinct about design as well as listening to people’s opinions. At the end of the day, you are the only one with just that combination of mind, heart, and design sense.
Learn to see your brand as a business. Learn.
Want to get your hands on artistic tailoring to bring you to cocktail-time at dusk?