Welcome to Anya Parker James’ self named fashion brand! A product of our GFW18 alumni. Continue reading to learn more…

What did you learn at university that still applies to your work?

The majority of my pattern cutting and sewing skills were learnt at university, but I also feel like I found my design style in my 3rd year there. It was around this point that I decided I wanted to design something that I couldn’t find on the market, rather than just designing because I like something. This is definitely the mentality that I started my business with. There are already so many products on the market, I wanted to bring something new.

Are there any aspects of your final major graduation project that are present in your current designs?

The main design feature that’s present in my current work would be the bra elastic detailing. Long flowing bows made from deadstock bra elastic is a feature I include on pretty much all of my designs, it’s a signature detail now for the brand.

What advice would you give any final year student ahead of GFW23?

Try not to panic. It can be really daunting knowing that for the first time you will have a huge platform to showcase your work, but that is equally the most exciting part. Focus on perfecting your collection, and make sure it’s something that you’re super proud of. There will be so many new eyes on your work, and you want to make sure it reflects your personality.

What advice would you give a graduate who wants to start their own brand?

Go for it! There is always room for innovative new designers, maybe you’re focusing on sustainable fabrics or ethical brand values etc. Find your USP and stick with it. I think I would have found great comfort in knowing that you can’t always do it all. Whether you come from a design background, or more of a business/marketing perspective, don’t be afraid to seek help in areas you’re not too familiar with. For me, I didn’t really have any knowledge on marketing my brand, which is such a huge part of owning a business. I am now constantly looking for online courses and webinars to help expand my skills in this department.

Have your views of what your brand is/represents changed since startup?

I wouldn’t say so. The main priority for me is to make sure that we don’t harm the earth with anything we do. Everything from our fabrics down to our packaging is either recycled or eco-friendly, this is something that I will never compromise on.

What have you recently learnt about the fashion industry that has surprised you?

I think that the rise of TikTok shop and fast fashion is pretty crazy. I would hope that the younger generation are better educated on climate change, and how important it is that we apply sustainability into our everyday life. I understand that it can be tempting when things are so inexpensive, and easily accessible. That is why I try to keep things as affordable as possible for a handmade slow fashion brand, but it can definitely be hard to compete sometimes.

What are some issues that you're passionate about addressing in fashion?

Aside (slightly) from sustainability, I also like to encourage our customers to layer up. I use the brands Instagram @ to try and showcase different ways of layering up our pieces to make sure your garments work all year round. There is absolutely no need to be shopping for a new wardrobe every season, when you can chuck a smock dress over a jumper and jeans and have a completely new outfit thats super cozy and super cute too! Layering is a really easy way to find your own personal style, and it makes the whole of your wardrobe timeless!

What are your current hopes and plans for the future of your career and brand?

I am currently on the lookout for stockists, as I’d love to see our collections in physical shops by the end of this year. I’d also really like to break into new markets, we already have quite a lot of international customers, so it would be great to see if we can take that further. We have had 2 sold out collaborations with ceramics brand Maì Accents, it was a lot of fun to work on something that is slightly different to our usual style. I’d love to work on a collaboration with another brand this year. I’m an extrovert, so it’s great to work as a team with people on something creative, it makes a nice change when you’re a one woman band!

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