Friday, May 16, 2014

A Brief Interview with...Anna Cohen

Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the Knitting world.
You can find Anna here and here on Ravelry. 

Anna is a mainstream fashion designer who has worked in Italy and the United States for major fashion houses as well as developing and launching a line of sustainable women's apparel. She is a graduate of FIT in New York and Polimoda in Italy. Anna's designs have been featured in Vogue, Elle France, Nylon, WWD and the New York Times. Since 2008, Anna has been working with the historic Imperial Stock Ranch, helping to develop woolen yarns and fabrics, to create the in house Imperial Knits Collection of hand knit patterns and to build a line of women's apparel featuring woolens that were developed on the ranch. This line, the Imperial Collection by Anna Cohen, will launch in Fall 2014.

Where do you find inspiration?

Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
I didn’t want to look at other designer’s work before I got an education in design. I then learned that looking at other’s work is a very critical part of the process. Artists of many kinds learn from the masters, try to copy them in order to learn the craft. Once  they are able to do this, they then have the skills and vision to be able to create their own style. 

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
Because I am a fashion designer with a specialty in knitwear (apparel production knitwear) and barely hand knit, I work with a technical interpreter to write the patterns and then we have various different test knitters test the samples. We work with between 1 and 4 test knitters in a season.

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
Follow your heart and your mind. Shifting your relationship with a hobby into a means of income is an important consideration. If you are not business minded in one form or another, it is likely best to keep your hobby a hobby. If you are driven and inspired and have great ideas for how to build the business, and you can ask yourself if you would be motivated to do it if it weren’t about knitting, then I say go for it. The fire in you needs to be balanced between the business aspect and the creative, otherwise I suggest not to taint your creative outlet with a costly and in many cases difficult journey.

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