Fashion designer and entrepreneur Anna Hovet shares her thoughts on her style, Patty Blagojevich, and the best designed food in Chicago. Voted recently as the Chicago Reader’s best clothing designer for 2009, Anna is on her way to transforming the local fashion scene and making her mark in it. A native of North Dakota, and graduate of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, she now lives in Bucktown with her dog, Danny.
About Anna from the designer’s mouth
F: What did you want to be when you were a kid? Why?
A: When I was a kid I wanted to be the first female president. As a child I dreamed about changing the world and I still do. Using fashion as a platform to influence the world deeply inspires me. Not by starting trends and having celebrity clients, but by putting meaning into my special collections and using fame and profits to support worthwhile causes.
F: You mentioned in a previous interview that over-stylized outfits on music videos got you started in fashion design…can you walk us through your style evolution?
A: When I was young, watching music videos was my gateway from a small city in North Dakota to an ultra cool fantasy land filled with super cool people and crazy fashion. The clothing was ridiculous and the trends were over exaggerated (think 1997 Missy Elliot, Gwen Stefani, Spice Girls, and Puff Daddy), but they were the trendiest styles for youth. My favorite group was TLC, unique and sexy, with a tomboy attitude. By the time I got to high school I was bored with music videos and haven’t watched them much since. I’m not sure I can really define the evolution of “my style” because it is continuously changing with what inspires me, what is trendy, and what is going on in my world. Overall my style is always very youthful, edgy, and feminine.
F: Who do you think would look better on Patty Blagojevich, Maria Pinto or John Galliano? Why?
A: As a politician’s wife one would expect to see her in Pinto, but with her wacky family and thirst for attention, maybe Galliano would be more suitable.
F: In an ideal world, funsherpa would have a TV show similar to the Iron Chef, except it would be a battle between fashion designers. If we gave you copper wire as the special ingredient to create something out of, what would you create/design?
A: Copper wire would be awesome to work with! I would create a strapless dress that sculpted the wearer’s body into an exaggerated hourglass shape. The wire would be twisted and braided in different ways to create a intricate texture. It would be dope!
F: 30 years from now, what do you see people wearing?
A: I think by 2039 consumers will want sustainable fabric, so much of the clothing will be organic cottons. Americans love comfort and designers will have to adhere to these demands with stylish clothing that is wearable and easily washable (example: my cotton jersey convertible dresses, which are unique and stylish yet easy and comfortable). Also be because of globalization people will be able to get their clothing online from anywhere in the world, so people will have more access to their own individual style.
F: As a fashion designer, what frustrates you the most?
A: It frustrates that people think what I do is easy and that I make money. As a start-up company I do everything by myself: design, finances, marketing, sourcing, etc. With the start-up costs and the poor economy I will make very little profit this year so I’m living on unemployment from my previous job for now. Plus I manufacture all my garments in Chicago, which is important to me but minimizes my profit margins.
F: Your perfect model would look like…
A: Size 4, 5’10”, pouty lips, piercing light-colored eyes, huge eyelashes, and something very unique about her, maybe a cute tattoo, beauty mark – something that makes her special.
F: When you need to escape away from Chicago, where do you travel to?
A: I love to visit Grand Forks, ND. I grew up there and my family still lives there. It is a quiet and peaceful with friendly people. While I am there I spend time eating a lot, at hockey games, snowmobiling, or relaxing at the lake.
Secrets of Chicago from the eyes of Anna
F: What neighborhood do you live in and what do you do out there in your spare time?
A: I live in Bucktown and spent a lot of time in my backyard with my dog Danny. I love the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood because there are so many things to do and the people are all so interesting.
F: Best designed food in Chicago?
The Chicago-style hot dog is not only delicious but aesthetically pleasing. The color palette is great, especially the neon green sweet pickle relish. Plus the design is very convenient to hold and eat!
F: Lets say you had $10,000 to finish in a day, where would you spend it in Chicago? How about $100?
A: I’m very practical when it comes to money so I’d probably buy industrial sewing machines and fabric with $10,000. But I also love throwing parties, so maybe I’d throw a huge runway show/party! I’ve always wanted to go on a tour of Chicago in one of those double-decker buses, so I think I’d use the $100 for that, along with a map, fanny pack, and some SPF90 sunblock (I have very pale Norwegian skin that hates the sun).
F: Where do the best dressed people hangout in Chicago?
A: Wicker Park, I get most of my inspiration from the young artists in the neighborhood who invent their own style. Musicians like The Cool Kids, Flosstrodomus, Kid Sister, and Hollywood Holt attract the most creative and youthful crowds.
F: Is there anything unique in Chicago’s style that you wish the rest of the world would catch on to?
A: Mens Streetwear in Chicago is very unique – Leaders1354, St. Alfred’s, and Fashion Geek are all influencing streetwear fashion on a national level. I wish there were similar stores for the ladies in Chicago. The American Midwest in general is more practical than stylish, so Chicago could always be more style conscious.
F: We like your stuff. Where can we buy it?
A: One-of-a-kind pieces will be available this summer through my website. My fall ready-to-wear collection will be sold at AKIRA starting in September and through my website in October.
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