Whilst working as a stylist and visual merchandiser, Anna Walker started a side project making personalised leather tote bags for herself and her friends. Before she knew it, that side project had become a full time job. Inspired by a love for clean lines, functionality and minimalist luxury, Anna produced her first accessories collection in 2012 and launched annawalkerlondon.com. Since then she’s amassed a cult following. This month, Anna’s launched her first pop-up store, bringing her brand offline and into one of our favourite spaces on Redchurch Street. We headed over to catch up and find out more.
What motivated you to launch your own store?
Being primarily an online brand I think it is incredibly important that our customers have an opportunity to see the collection in real life - especially with leather, it's such a beautiful tactile material, you just cannot replicate the feel and smell of it on a website! Also, for me it's an invaluable experience to actually meet with customers, it's so interesting to see what people respond to.
Why was Redchurch Street so appealing to you?
It's the perfect mix of luxury and creativity, there is such a buzz here!
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest collection, what inspired it?
Colour wise I'd been looking at a lot of mid century furniture and design, I wanted to use a really earthy, natural palette but inject a bit of fun with a single bright, bold tone. Form wise the collection is a gradual progression of the shapes I have been developing over the last few seasons, I'm enjoying refining the designs over time.
How have you approached the design of the store?
With a serious amount of prep! As it is such a small space I knew that the layout would be restricted. I wanted the products to be the focus so we have used a lot of neutral black and white to continue the theme of the existing fixtures.
As I would be personalising items in store I wanted the space to have a working studio feel to it so we have used lots of industrial metal racking (taken from our studio!) and grey board.
The best and worst moments?
The biggest challenge has definitely been doing the personalisation on the spot, in front of customers. It has been quite nerve racking! But equally this has been one of the most enjoyable aspects because chatting to customers has been really rewarding.
Why is personalisation so important for your customers?
I think that in a world full of mass produced items it’s nice to have something that is unique and personal to you.
When you’re out of inspiration, where do you go?
I love to be by the river, watching the world go by on the Thames is always peaceful and inspiring. I also love finding places in London that I never knew existed - I recently stumbled upon the new Gargosian Gallery and was blown away by the architecture, the space and the gorgeous Cy Twombly exhibition inside.
What can we look forward to next from Anna Walker London?
Working on Autumn Winter 16 production and planning the next pop up!
Discover the space where Anna made her idea happen here.