From the first moment Anu Raina stepped foot in New York City, she was overwhelmed with excitement and vulnerability. Eight years later, the Toronto based fashion designer has drawn on the concrete jungle for NY.NY, her 2013 Fall/Winter line. Mixing the bright colors of city graffiti with business pieces, Raina has created a classic and beautiful line for anyone in love with the city. She’s taking on an industry where creating a name is everything, and she has what it takes.
Cliché: Where did you draw your inspiration for the F/W13 line?
Anu Raina: For my F/W13 Collection, I was inspired by my first trip to the Big Apple. While playing together on the farms of Manasbal Lake in Kashmir, my siblings and I would often dream about visiting the United States of America someday when we grew up. For me, New York represented the USA. It was a perception of a city that I only saw in the movies. Images of mighty towers, money, power, the Statue of Liberty, yellow taxis, and confident and smartly dressed people always in a rush was what a small mind from a small place could associate the city of New York with. It was a cold morning in the fall of 2005 when I first arrived at LaGuardia Airport. The feeling was of awesomeness to the max, until I realized how small the overpowering skyline of Manhattan made me feel. But it was the sight of Ground Zero that really shook me and showed me the vulnerable side of this mighty city and its seemingly confident people.
How did you get into fashion design?
Ever since I came to my senses, playing with materials, fabrics, colors made me very happy. It was something that came sans effort to me. An unconditional offer from the London College of Fashion in the UK helped me get into the field. Later on, scholarships and awards for the textile program at Sheridan College in Canada further strengthened my resolve to continue in this creative field.
What’s the hardest and easiest part of designing?
Designing is the easiest part. However, since my work tends to be a bit conceptual and emotional at times, sometimes it takes time for people to understand my vision and the timelessness of my product, especially with trends changing every season in the fashion world. Surviving in the industry until you get known for your work is the hardest part.
Check out the rest of the interview in the Oct/Nov issue of Cliché Magazine out now!
Photographed by Mike Lewis