Hubert Burda Media

Anya Hindmarch: Expressing Ideas

Anya Hindmarch on how she takes complex inspirations and translates them into works of art

Prior to my interview with Anya Hindmarch, I was cautioned by Soo Shea Phin, Managing Director of Anya Hindmarch Malaysia, to be prepared with a voice recorder. “Anya speaks really fast,” she warned.

Well, it was a good thing she did. And as a result, I was well prepared when the British fashion leader walked efficiently into the conference room, almost startling me as I inquisitively surveyed the uniquely British memorabilia that adorned the shelves in the conference room.

She sits down and we begin the interview. Her quick answers, a testament to the fact that the designer is abuzz with inspiration. It is perhaps that quality which has fuelled the growth of the Anya Hindmarch label, making it a global brand with more than 50 stores the world over.

Anya is also a UK trade ambassador, a non-executive director of the British Fashion Council and a trustee of both the Royal Academy of Arts and the Design Museum. She was also awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) and is the recipient of three prestigious Accessory Designer of the Year awards; a British Fashion Award, an Elle Style Award and a Glamour Women of the Year award.

“Ideas are not a problem,” she says, when asked how she tops her creations each season. Case in point was her recent collection that paid tribute to arcade games from the 1980s. But what’s interesting about Anya’s interpretation is that it is not literal. Instead, it is an exploration of concepts.

“It really came from a fascination with pixels and digital art,” she explains. “There is a big debate about whether digital art is art. Also, when you take design back to the bare bones digitally, it is about pixels. When you look at the journey of pixelisation, the first of its art form, really was in computer games art and what artists could do with very few pixels,” Anya explains. “You could make characters; you could animate.”

There is a naivety to pixels that is indicative of the pleasure that one can get from games. The same feeling is translated into the collection. Perusing through the various creations will surely conjure some happy thoughts, evoking childhood memories of Super Mario, Tetris and the Rubik’s cube. Recreating such complex ideas into an accessories line may not always work. “To be honest, you don’t always know,” she replies when I ask how sure she is that her ideas can be translated into design.

More about Anya Hindmarch in Prestige Malaysia’s January 2017 issue