Designer Profile: Anni Kuan

by Kate Jacobsen | April 16th, 2014   
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With her newly launched e-commerce website, New York fashion designer Anni Kuan isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Down-to-earth and hard-working, this woman is driven by her passion and dedication to providing women with clothes that are dynamic, lasting, ethical and beautiful. Kuan opened the doors of her NYC showroom to me on behalf of TheWorkingWardrobe over the weekend where I got to experience firsthand the extraordinary fabrication and quality of her timeless yet livable and comfortable pieces.

After being welcomed with a latte and a mouth-watering almond croissant, I was hooked. Personable and friendly this talented designer makes power suits that feel sweat suits — count me in — AND she even offers up expert tips on how to master online dating. She truly has it all.

Take note working wardrobers when I say that Anni Kuan’s current spring collection and her upcoming fall collection have a copious amount of must-have pieces. Check out her newly launched site and see for yourself. Make a purchase…I dare you. And in the meantime, read more about this inspirational fashion designer after the jump.

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The Working Wardrobe: Tell me about your background.

Anni Kuan: I was born in Taiwan and moved to the US when I was 12 years old.  I came here on a cargo ship because at that time, it was the cheaper way to get here.  I financed my design education through college by working as a waitress and a loan of $5000 from my brother. I started my own business in 1986.

TWW: Who is the woman that you design your line for?

AK: I design my line for women who love the idea of unique designs produced in small batches. She is also a woman who enjoys the impeccable fit and quality of my designs along with the simplicity of easy dressing.

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TWW: What are the challenges of being a designer in NYC?

AK: I see this more of an advantage than a challenge. I have one-on-one interaction with my fabric mills here and can easily get samples made. Another added bonus is that most retailers come to the city.

TWW: What are the challenges and also what are the benefits of producing your line in the city?
AK: I can oversee production frequently in order to control quality and prevent mistakes.  The biggest challenge is to get my factories to deliver on time and meet the deadlines.

TWW: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

AK: I draw my inspiration from the city of NYC, traveling, food, art and films.

TWW: How do you master impeccable fit?

AK: Through the development of efficient master patterns from the last 27 years that I’ve been in business. As a designer, I understand where to pinch in for slimming effects, where to let out the ease for a better fit and how to work with fabrics on certain styles.

TWW: What are your top three favorite trends for spring? What tips do you have to help women incorporate those trends into their work wardrobe without sacrificing style and professionalism?

ORANGE: The color orange is my favorite color besides avocado.  I even had my couch re-upholstered in orange. Orange is definitely a color to be added as a sprinkles, not splashes.
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WIDE LEG PANTS: If you are tallish then covering the sandals are great. If you are small like me, then crop them above the ankle. Wide leg pants are the best in solid colors such as black, navy, grey or taupe.
CROP TOPS: If you just had to follow that trend during working hours, then please wear a cardigan and keep the buttons buttoned.

TWW: What are the top 5 items staple items that every woman needs in her wardrobe?

TWW: How can a woman reinvent her work wardrobe without it looking contrived or forced?

AK: No no’s on loud prints, short mini skirts and gypsy/hippie style.

Best of List:
  • Best brunch spot?Dim Sum at Golden Unicorn
  • Best after work cocktail and where to get it? Basil Gimlet at Allo’onda
  • Best after work activity? Massage
  • Best weekend activity? Art
  • Best handbag? Chloe
  • Best shoe? Camper Right Nina’s ballerina flats
  • Best accessory? Good vibe crystal bracelet
  • Best beauty product? YSL rouge volute lipstick color #6
  • Best date spot? Eleven Madison Park Restaurant
  • Best borough? Manhattan