With her big show at World MasterCard Fashion Week just a day away, I had the opportunity to take a peek inside the mind that is award-winning textile and clothing designer, Anu Raina.
Originally from Kashmir, Anu attended the prestigious London College of Fashion (one of the UK’s top textile schools) and earned a bachelor of technology in Womenswear. Arriving in Canada in 2004, Rainu settled in Toronto and eventually made the decision to return to fashion full-time, focusing once again on pursuing her fashion career. She enrolled in the textile craft and design program at Sheridan College, earned a top medal in 2010 (along with several other awards) and graduated with top honours. One of her biggest career highlights – interning with Canadian textile designer Virginia Johnson.
Later that same year, Anu’s dream of designing her own line finally came to fruition as she presented her debut ready-to-wear collection at Toronto Fashion Week (now known as World MasterCard Fashion Week). Currently working out of her Oakville studio, the designer will be launching an exclusive collection in collaboration with eBay Canada this Spring. The rest as they say, is history.
Raina’s love for her adopted city and country is well documented as many of her past, abstract-style signature prints have featured original artwork of city-inspired imagery. She revisits her love for Toronto in her Fall 2014 collection which she will be presenting at World MasterCard Fashion Week. The collection itself is inspired by memories of Anu’s first fall in Toronto, as well as the rich colours and textures that captured that memorable Autumn season.
*5 Questions with Anu Raina
CMR: What was your inspiration for your Fall 2014 collection?
AR: The joyful experience of falling in love with Toronto.
CMR: Having attended the London College of Fashion as well as Sheridan College, you have developed quite a background in textiles. Can you tell me a bit about the materials/fabrics/prints used in the collection and why you chose to use them?
AR: That is right. LCF taught me the technical aspect of fashion and Sheridan taught me self discovery through art. Since I hand draw most of my prints, I treat my fabrics as a canvas to tell my story. I love working with different materials, natural and man-made. It’s quite amusing how the same print works differently on different weight and composition of materials. It’s a new discovery every time.
CMR: In addition to being a talented fashion designer, you are also an artist (having been an artist-in-residence at Harbourfront Centre). Do you find it difficult to balance both? How does your work as an artist translate into your work as a designer?
AR: Art comes to me naturally so I don’t have to really balance it; the truth is it balances me. As a designer, it keeps my work fresh and original.
CMR: If you could offer any words of wisdom to those budding designers who are just starting out, what advice would you give them?
AR: Stay true to your vision as you are the one who understands it best.
CMR: What’s next for Anu Raina, in terms of plans/future goals?
AR: I would like to stay inspired and make work that I will always be proud of. I’m launching an exclusive collection in collaboration with eBay Canada this Spring.
I’ll also be starting work on my next collection soon and am going to be showing at One of a kind show in Toronto this fall.
My future goals include having my own retail space sometime soon.
*For more information about Anu Raina’s line and a complete list of local and international retailers, please visit AnuRaina.com.