"What Has Not Changed Is My Optimistic Spirit!" | An Interview with Famous Chinese-American Designer Anna Sui

August 20,2021

“Fashion is not some kind of maverick, but a reflection on an era, a culture, or even an event.” – Anna Sui, the Chinese-American designer and founder of the Anna Sui brand, in her recent online communication with Luxe.CO.

“‘Live Your Dream’ is my Life Motto

Chinese-American designer Anna Sui (Chinese name Xiao Zhimei) was born in Detroit, Michigan, USA in 1964. In 1981, she established her own brand of the same name. Anna loves punk rock music, and the clothing she designs is filled with a strong vintage vibe, bold and slightly rebellious elements, just like a cool and fashionable girl in a fairy tale, beautiful and brave.

Luxe.CO: You have been one of the pioneers of incorporating retro style into modern culture. In the past ten years, vintage style has become increasingly popular among consumers. What do you think of this trend?

Anna Sui: I’ve always been fascinated by vintage. It's personally a big appreciation for being able to kind of see that human hands have touched something. And I think that one of my favorite things is always to go visit flea markets, where you can find little things everywhere, things that you can understand from a different century. I think that in this digital era, we need to put some of that human touch back into clothing.

Luxe.CO: What has been the core of Anna Sui's brand style in the past few decades?

Anna Sui: I think that what's been constant throughout my career is that optimism, reflected in my motto ‘live your dream’. I'd like to keep that very upbeat, happy feeling throughout. And I think in every collection that you look at, you can see that no matter what the actual theme is, there's always a sense of humor. There's always a celebration of life. That’s how I see design, how I see dressing up, and how I see clothes. So I’d like to convey that to my customer, too.

Luxe.CO: Apart from traveling, where do you get design inspiration?

Anna Sui: Everything that makes me passionate can be a source of inspiration for me. When I am interested in something, I want to know everything about it, and then put my knowledge and imagination into a new design.

Luxe.CO: What is the consumer portrait of the Anna Sui brand?

Anna Sui: I think that they really are attracted to the DNA of Anna Sui. They love the nostalgia, a touch of vintage, and I think they like the coolness of rock and roll that I always try to inject into my clothing. But I think most of all what they want is something that makes them happy and puts a smile on their face. And that's the optimism that I always try to inject into my designs.

“Adapt to the Changing World and Focus on What You Want to Do”

In the interview, Anna Sui also shared her advice to young designers and her thoughts on the fashion industry following the pandemic.

Luxe.CO: A large number of designers have emerged in the Chinese market, and the competition has become increasingly fierce. What do you think of such competition?

Anna Sui: There's always competition. There are always obstacles that you can put in your mind. Like when I started, how could I compete with the big brands? How could I do a big fashion show and get the audience when there are bigger brands doing the same? You can always catch up to these obstacles, but you have to see beyond them and you have to really put belief into what you're doing.

It's the same thing with the new generation. There's always gonna be obstacles, there's always gonna be hardships. I think you need to take those opportunities and learn from them and take those challenges and overcome them. You have to learn from them and not let them stand in your way.

Luxe.CO: At present, the customer base of many emerging designer brands in China is mostly concentrated in the domestic market. Do you think that emerging designer brands should expect to become global or should they focus on the local market?

Anna Sui: Designers should do what they love, what they're really dreaming about, what they're really trying to express. If you worry about the whole world situation, you have no control. You just have to go with it, you have to be part of it, and you have to be able to react to it. You have to focus. If you think about people that are successful, they have the strongest focus on what they do.

| Image source: Anna Sui official website

| Writer: Xiaoli Zuo, Yanke Zhu


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