Designer Background Summary:
I’ve studied fashion design in Hamburg, Germany. After Graduation in 2006 my plan was to go to Shanghai to find a job at a design company and sooner or later start my own brand. So this is what I did. I moved to Shanghai.
Lucky me, I did find a job quickly and was working for more than 3 years for a German design company as designer and brand manager at their Shanghai office. This is where I learned from scratch, how to organize the collections from first sketches until production shipment. In early summer 2009 I decided I want to start frau ana and finally started beginning of 2010.
Why did you join Noblivity®?
I think it’s a great opportunity for a small brand as mine to get new customers and frau ana fans outside of china. I am glad Noblivity asked me to be a part of this.
How did you get started?
After coming up with the concept for the brand frau ana, which is basically my personal idea of fashion, I created a collection, and with the help of some great friends here, organized an event with fashion show and launch party for frau ana in autumn 2009. It was a major success and the moment I was sure frau ana is what the world needs, and I quit my job after that weekend. Beginning of 2010 we built the PRC studio in shanghai, a place where creative people with different backgrounds, like fashion, photography, video making, painting, etc. come together and get inspired by each other. PRC studio is the place where I create the colorful collections for frau ana.
How would you describe your design style, design signature and who is your targeted customer?
My designs are fun! This is for me the most important part! It’s all about colors. The world is dark enough already. The collections are very 80ies and 90ies inspired, well I guess because those were the years I grew up and fell in love with fashion itself. The target consumers, at least what I always thought, are between 16 and 30. Creative people, that are in love with their live. Just like me. It seams I was partly wrong, as I see customers of all ages falling in love with my collections. The other day, an 80 year old, very nice lady bought a pink bright sweater for herself. So I guess its not so much about age, but about your attitude to life.
What inspires you? Definitely colors. And music. Life. Every collection gets a new inspiration. If it’s comic books, a song, one person, something always gives me the start for new ideas. But mostly if you see the collection, you would never guess what my fountain for inspiration was this time. What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are?
Well, not so many. As I always kind of knew what I was doing. I told everyone for example I would go to china, find a job and sooner or later I would start my own brand. Everyone thought I was crazy. But I did it. I can not even tell you why I made that plan. But I kind of felt it and never really thought about it. I just did it. I believe, that if you want something hard enough, you will get there. You have to work hard for it, but you will get there.
How did you overcome the obstacles along the way?
Any problem that I get, if it’s a small one, a big one: there is no other option but solving it. If I can’t today, I sleep it over for one night and solve it tomorrow. I believe in myself.
What has been your greatest moment on your journey so far?
The first time I got goose bumps, was at my first fashion show. I was backstage, and as soon as the first model went on the runway, people started screaming and applauding. It was unbelievable.
I guess seeing people falling in love with my pieces. Seeing them wearing them with so much happiness in their eyes, that’s why I am doing it and it’s giving me great moments every day.
What has been the biggest change in your designs so far?
Well, I actually don’t really know. There weren’t too big changes. Every collection tells its own story, and looks different from the other. But its all pretty much me. They grew a bit with me. But still every time I start a design I try to keep childhood innocence in them.
What’s next for your brand?
A new collection. I’m thinking to start a menswear collection next year. The guys are always so sad they can for now just get some pieces from my collection like shirts or hoodies.
If money were no object what would you do right now to promote your brand? I would paint an airplane pink and have it decorated with frau ana designs inside. Invite my friends and models and fly around the world and through big parties all over the world in the airplane with fashion shows and tons of candies. What are the best and worst things about bringing a product to market?
In China the wholesale system is very different. For a small brand its not that easy to get on the market. Although its changing a bit right now, and more and more multi brand stores are opening.
So finding stores at the beginning was a bit rough.
Describe your typical day? Well, in the morning normally I take care of some production. There is always a problem to solve.
After lunch, which I normally spend with some friends, one of the only times they get to see me, I head over to my studio, which I share with very creative people (one photographer and two directors) and start designing and coming up with new ideas for frau ana. If my friends are lucky, I’ll meet them up for dinner or drinks, maybe some exercise at the dance floor, somewhere in shanghai. But mostly I spent the night working as well. I just love the city when its quiet around me and I can create my own world with my designs.
What is your philosophy of life?
Fashion is fun, fashion is music, fashion is art, fashion is life.
Surround yourself with as much colorful things as possible and you will see, they will make you happy.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? I would have started frau ana with the age of probably 12. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and every morning I get up I am just happy I can finally get back to work.
When will you know you have made it?
Good question. I made for sure the first step. I realized it when I saw the first person with a piece of my collection walking on the street, and people recognized that I was frau ana. If that happens in every part of the world, I guess I made it.