Part-time harpist, educator, occasional snowboarder, and driving force behind phannatiq, Anna Skodbo takes a “clothes for people” attitude to designing. Attracting people from the likes of musicians Kate Nash, Harper and the pavement population with her city inspired textiles. Unique prints include fly tipping inspired by waste around Walthamstow, where the phannatiq design studio is based.
Committed to responsible employment, sustainable manufacture and dressing in a way that transcends the call for a seasonal wardrobe cull. Phannatiq questions fashion’s status quo.
I am inspired by her respect for social and stylistic individualism, and now armed with her local guide to a good day in Walthamstow to share with you. Here is my interview with phannatiq Anna.
It’s a shame that it’s even a talking point, but given the rarity with which they appear in fashion campaigns, I have to ask about your decision to cast women over the age of 40 and women of different race and size to model your collection?
Because we make clothes for people and people come in all ages, shapes, ethnic origins and sizes, not to mention having different clothing needs. There’s no point trying to sell to them using only one example over and over again. We still only use about 6 models so it’s still not ideal, but hopefully it helps a bit towards people being able to see themselves in the clothes.
On our online shop, we try to have as many examples of different shapes in our clothes as possible along the bottom of the garment page so people can see for themselves too.
Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo silk dress in London print
organic cotton & bamboo mix dress in London print
Did you always produce clothes in sizes 6 to 20? Why do you think more designers don’t make clothes in sizes above a 16?
I really can’t speak for other brands as I have no idea what they are going through. We have evolved over time. In the beginning we thought we had to conform to fit in and then a few seasons in I was like, “fuck this shit!” and started putting my fingers up at the whole thing bit by bit. Starting with banning photo retouching of any of our photographs- what you see is what you get- and then becoming more diverse with our model choices. This inspired our sizings.
What is it about London that inspires you?
Everything really, its vibrancy, its diversity, its unashamedness and of course the shit bits 😜
fly tipping print inspired by waste in Walthamstow
Where would you send someone looking for a day in Walthamstow?
Oooo there are so many awesome things in Walthamstow! If you like drinking there is Ravenswood Estate up by Shernhall street. In what is essentially an industrial estate you’ll find Wild Card Brewery who brew the most excellent beers, and often have some really great musical acts and DJs; opposite them is Gods Own Junkyard, a museum of neon light and bar, Mother’s Ruin, a gin palace, not to mention a host of street food. You practically don’t need to leave for the weekend.
Otherwise I love walking around Lloyd Park and visiting the William Morris Gallery, The Marshes are beautiful, as is Hollow Pond if you want to pretend you’re not in a city.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have shared with yourself when you started seven years ago?
Having a working knowledge of the intricacies of companies house and HMRC is helpful, even if you outsource your accounts, knowledge is power. Going with your gut is important too as there is so much conflicting advice about and every business is different and has different needs, much like a child.
How would you advise people looking to make more sustainable wardrobe choices?
Buy mindfully. Ask yourself, do you really need this? The biggest eco friendly thing you can do is reduce everything you consume. This makes a much bigger difference than anything else. I realise this goes against capitalism and having a business, so oops :p
Oeko-Tex 100 certified bamboo silk crop top & fly tipping print skirt
How did your Steiner school education and growing up with adults with learning disabilities influence your approach ?
I think in some ways growing up with adults with learning disabilities, I’m more aware of how unique everyone is and that it’s ok. I feel very privileged to have spent such a large part of my childhood with people who make you see the world in a different way, who may have struggles with some things we take for granted but equally bring so much to the world in other ways we won’t have considered. It’s humbling. It has in some cases even made me question the status quo. As in who are we to decide what is the correct way to experience something/react to something/achieve something?
Which is your favourite phrase of your 3D printed necklaces?
That really depends on my mood, however I have actually been called a Leftoid Sanctimonious Cunt on Twitter, so probably that one.
You have created a strong following of celebrities and particularly musicians that have worn phannatiq. Does it increase sales? And is all celebrity endorsement good for the brand?
That’s difficult to say. My customers come from all over the place. I find it really exciting to see people in my clothes no matter who they are.
Responsibilities follow you even further when you have your own company and it becomes harder to define work time and you time, because the business is you time too. What advice would you give someone just starting their own business and what is the first thing you do when you get a moment for you?
Moment to myself??? You can kiss goodbye to any social life! I sleep when I have time off mostly. I had my first holiday in 5 years last January and went snowboarding.
What do you have coming up for fashion weeks and beyond?
We are working on a really exciting project for fashion week in September so definitely keep an eye out! As for beyond, who knows….
©Photographs courtesy of Phannatiq