ANZ Is the Cult Label That Wears Its Middle-Eastern Influence On Its Sleeve
When I asked Ainy Naim, the designer behind ANZ, a ready-to-wear label specializing in knitwear, if she thought fashion had a responsibility to be political, she responded: “I think everyone in this day and age, with the way the world is, should be informative. I think it’s always good to be an artist in that way — there should always be a message in your work.”
ANZ was launched in 2014 after Ainy started designing cardigans inspired by Saudi Arabian, Jordanian, and Palestinian fashion, and demand went through the roof.
In shape, the cardigans resembled farwa coats — popular in Saudi Arabia and Jordan — while featuring a traditional Palestinian print often found on keffiyehs — a kind of head scarf which protects against dust, sand and sunburn.
Ainy says the inspiration came from both growing up “in a multicultural environment,” and from growing up as a tomboy.
“I love easy clothing,” Ainy explained. “It comes out of the comfort element where you can kinda dress up and look cool but not be too much. It’s just a throw-on piece.”
Which she suspects is partly why celebrities like Kanye West, Desiigner, and Alicia Keys are fans of her designs.
Plus, there’s the cool factor.
“People have described it as a cult, like a fashion cult,” Ainy said, with a hint of pride.
Check out ANZ’s new Spring 2017 Collection, modeled by UK R&B singer Vanessa White.