Feature Designer: anna devine

anna devine textiles fashion

Image credit: Peter Coulson photography

Inspired by West African textiles, Melbourne based label Anna Devine, combines Ankara and Kente prints with her contemporary designs, creating bold and striking pieces that inspire happiness.  Read on to discover the inspirations and motivations behind this vibrant clothing label. 

Tell us about your label anna devine and what the concept is behind it?
anna devine started as a small hobby like venture many moons ago.  It started with African textiles and me learning to sew with two friends on a Tuesday evening.  It has slowly grown over the years to the point where I have two collections each year featuring women’s wear made from African textiles, most often using Ankara and Kente prints.  I have also started mixing in my own textile designs to the mix.  anna devine is about colour, pattern, individual embellishments, and having fun.  It is about putting on an anna devine design and feeling comfortable, happy, confident and positive.

What is your background and how did you start working with textiles?
My background was in International and Community Development and while working in this field I had the opportunity to travel to and work in a number of African countries in Southern and Eastern Africa.  During these trips I first discovered African textiles, specifically Ankara and Kente fabrics and it was love at first sight!  I bought some home and with the help of some friends learnt to sew.  Textiles and sewing has slowly grown from a hobby to a consuming passion as I studied textile techniques from around the world and also modern techniques used in the fashion industry today.

anna devine textiles fashionAbove image credits: Photographer – Nicole Corbett, H&MU -Renata Anganarro & Model – Adhiel Scene Models

anna devine textiles fashion

What inspires your work and what keeps you motivated creatively?
Inspiration comes and goes, it is often tied to people, experiences, events and their impact on me.  Mostly recently inspiration has come from a recent trip to Japan, in particular the vintage shibori shops and the discovery of contemporary ceramic artists.  There are also ‘always’ inspirations – and for me these are colour, light and pattern.  I have made some wonderful friends through starting my own business – fellow designers, makers, creatives and market carnies and I find the time I spend with them very motivating and rewarding.  An observation a friend might make or seeing their creations and inspirations, is inspiring and that in turn is motivating.

What is your creative workspace like, and what inspires you about your surroundings?
My creative workspace is also my home.  I have a number of workspaces set up in and around the place.  A few metres from my painting table is my laundry!  It has it pros and cons but when the mood strikes, I’m there and can work whenever I feel like it.  My home is full of the people and objects that I love, which in itself is inspiring.  I love the fact that I my nieces can come over and paint with me and I’m still getting work done.  My home also has big windows and a lot of natural light, which is a big plus.

anna devine textiles fashionImage credit: Peter Coulson photography

anna devine textiles fashionAbove image credits: Photographer – Nicole Corbett, H&MU -Renata Anganarro & Model – Adhiel Scene Models 

What do you love about working with textiles and fashion?  What are some of the challenges?
I love the opportunity and freedom to try new designs, fabrications and techniques.  It is an iterative process that continues to develop and change constantly.  I love being able to create something with my hands and use a range of techniques – embroidery, beading, dyeing and in particular my paintings which I can apply to textiles on a larger scale through digital printing.  There are plenty of challenges!  Time is a major one – there is never enough time.  Keeping the faith, when I have a bad sales week (or month), and finding those all-important contacts.  The fashion industry can be a bit secretive.

What new projects are you working on and where would you like to see anna devine in the future?
I am working on a couple of new designs including a new jacket and coat for winter.  I haven’t really explored winter wear before, working primarily with African cottons, but I see an opportunity to present African inspired fashion in a new way.  I’m trying to get this ready as soon as possible to take advantage of the North American winter too.  I also want to focus my energies on continuing the get ‘anna devine’ out there with new markets and retailers, and most importantly to me, continue to develop and hone my own textile design style and skills and start producing my own textile range, as well as continuing with African inspired fashion.


anna devine textiles fashion

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