Founder Charlotte Lansard interviewed by Eleanor Morgan.
Can you describe the ethos of the debut Annie Official collection?
I wanted to create refined pieces that can be worn by women of any age, at any time of year. The colour palette is consistently black or neutral, so the pieces can be versatile. I want them to work for women in many different contexts. I like to imagine a woman feeling confident and sensual, with cuts that show elegant parts of the body like the collar bone or back. I was also drawn to the idea of creating high-quality clothing that is seasonless; items that can be worn for years. It was important for me to make a collection that can be timeless and to work in an eco-conscious way.
Can you say more about that?
I used to be a strong consumer of fast fashion, often finding items with the tag still intact a few months after buying them. Over time, I wanted to move away from the impulse of buying cool or trendy things for specific moments. I realised that having clothes in my wardrobe that were made well, fitted me and made me feel good consistently, was more important. Slow fashion just makes sense. As a new designer, it feels crucial to have an eco-conscious approach and think about how to avoid waste; to create something that will last. We are not perfect, but sustainability is something I will be taking seriously as we move forwards.
Is that why you decided to produce the collection in the UK?
Yes, absolutely. This is a UK brand; why go to another country to make the collection when we have passionate, skilled people here who can do the work? It wasn’t even a question to me. I like the fact that we were able to meet the people working on the clothes, to talk and develop a real connection. As a consumer, but also in my everyday life, I love transparency and honesty. I hope that the brand can reflect those values going forwards.
Annie is your mother’s name. Is the collection inspired by her?
Absolutely. I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was 16. While she was in treatment I would be a kind of personal shopper for her, helping her find clothes to make her feel feminine and confident while her body changed. I remember those moments being full of laughter. She never lost her spirit, always showing up for my siblings and I despite what she was going through. I do see the brand as an homage to her. This first collection is a vision of how I think my mother would like to dress; I can see her in the clothes. To my mind, creating the brand is a way of still feeling like I’m sharing something with her.
You’ve also decided to share a percentage of profits with the Pink Ribbon Foundation.
Yes. After seeing what my mother went through, it was obvious for me to be part of a foundation that helps to fund breast cancer research projects, but also supports people who are suffering from, or have been affected by, breast cancer.