DESIGNER PROFILE – ANNA BENAMIviews: 0
What should everyone know about you?
AB: I am Anna Benami, a senior-level fashion designer with 11 years of experience in designing collections that are coherent and wearable, and appealing to the customers in global retail setting. I am lucky to have gained experience of all aspects of commercial fashion creation process, working with all varied apparel categories for contemporary women, young men and kids, and succeeding in creating brand concepts with record sales.
I love exploring new opportunities in contemporary fashion and design, and challenging myself and constantly learning new. My career highlights are summed up in this Creative Resume that I shared on Slideshare. It is a great place to see my handwriting, my career success stories and what I would like to do in the future.
How would you describe what you do?
AB: I help companies generate thriving brands by creating thoughtfully designed wearable collections with good balance of creativity and commercial appeal. My focus in design work is in the end product and making it look as good as possible. I make constant effort on understanding how the design, color, fit and material choices are interlacing with production and pricing of each product, keeping in mind the strategic goals of the brand. In addition to fashion design I have also done styling for commercial clients, as well as other design projects.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
AB: I didn’t choose to be a designer, it chose me.
I love creating new and making people feel good on my outfits. To me being successful in business includes not only creating value for others but also enjoying what you do. Making garments that are well-thought-out and well-made, meticulously designing each garment to look just as great on each person as well as on a rack; crafting the perfect fit, silhouette and every detail; giving the people the best quality and style, that creates a desire on the consumers; it inspires me.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
AB: I completed two different fashion degrees, Bachelor of Fashion as well as four-year Clothing Technician Degree in Helsinki, Finland. Having both those degrees made me more versatile designer, understanding also the fitting and patternmaking aspect of the garment. From very early on I have also been active on making my own design projects, sewing and made-to-measure tailoring. That is how I got hands-on experiences and learned more about making the cut. After the graduation I was lucky to get hired to the Design Studio of Stockmann Plc, a north Europe’s biggest department store headquartered in Helsinki Finland. There I grew from assistant designer to a senior designer over the years. I was given a lot of opportunities, responsibilities and creative freedom, traveling the global markets and production, and there I learned the craft of commercial fashion design and as well as the business of fashion.
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
AB: The best part is absolutely the creative freedom and possibility to create something new and succeeding on it. I feel blessed to turn something I am excited and inspired about into a form that will make a positive impact in peoples lives and to the world.
The most challenging but also rewarding part is making the designs come to life, fitting all those pieces of the puzzle and making them come together as a perfect product.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
AB: My strong points are in understanding branding and concept development as well as design with broader perspective. Also, I have done a lot of graphic design, fashion marketing and trend research during my career. I think I would still be involved with style, fashion or design in some way. I know I have a lot to give and I am always interested in new challenges and learning new skills.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
AB: People usually don’t see the work behind the cloth, the steps it takes to make a piece of garment and also understanding how interconnected and global all pieces of a puzzle are.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AB: I want to be inspired by designing responsible & sustainable creations, to learn and grow every day, and to become a more efficient and effective designer, as well as better human being.
What sparked your interest in design?
AB: Many things combined. The inspiring work of my talented friends, following catwalks and brands like Acne Studios have always inspired me, as well as my teachers, mentors and idols, and the amazing people at I have had pleasure working with. But most of all, I feel fired-up and energized when I work with fashion or design.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
AB: During the years working as a designer I have become more strategic and able to see the big picture. The collections have become more coherent and commercial. I have become more business minded and analytical, and I handle stress and difficult situations better through better time management. I value good work-life balance and well-being. Wellness is essential to keep my mind clear and focused.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you enjoy wearing?
AB: Personally I love minimalistic contemporary style, good fabrics and quality, and harmonious colors. I also like to have a little quirky design element to the style, something that makes it interesting.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
AB: I am intrigued by active wear, performance fabrics and treatments, and functional minimalistic detailing.
Also I like the idea of “Responsible Innovation”, so that sustainability would not be some glued-in thing, but be weaved into the design more naturally. That is what the customers are expecting of us.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
AB: To take it easy.
As a designer you are driven by passion, you love what you do and want to show what you can do. This passion sometimes leads young designers to overworking and stress. I have learned from those experiences that I can work hard and passionately, but by knowing my limits and handling my time better I can offer much greater benefits to the company and so much more innovative design. Creating good work-life balance, loving what you do, taking care of your health and well-being is essential in dealing with those everyday stressful situations.
What advice would you give to young designers?
AB: Give yourself time to learn and grow. Find a mentor. Take care of yourself and value your time.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
AB: I recently immigrated to Washington D.C. area in the U.S. and now I would love to find my dream job, where I could use my skillset and original designs to bring value to a company’s bottom line and create something amazing.
What’s your motto?
AB: Always up for new ideas!
Anna Benami is known as one of the most comprehensive designer talent, mastering the whole product cycle from idea to reality. She is providing companies with exciting original collections that bring value to their bottom line and make positive difference in the world. She is originally from Helsinki Finland, now living in Washington DC area. Being a native Finn has given her that Scandinavian sense of style, strong work ethic and a northern European perspective. Her signature style is combining contemporary & minimalistic style and thoughtfully designed details, and transforming it into compelling wearable collections with sophisticated handwriting.