Introducing Anna Lemley
Pittsburgh Fashion Week kicks off this week. I’m especially excited this year because of the more sophisticated, tonal shift toward a designer focus. We have some seriously talented people creating unique fashion right here in Pittsburgh. And while I understand the allure of moving to a fashion-centric city like New York, I believe we have a real opportunity as a community to amplify what these creatives are doing in their hometown. Before I tumble down a hole on this topic, let me just point you to Style 412 for more information on where Pittsburgh’s future in fashion is headed.
When I found out how PGHFW would be structured this year, I immediately started researching the designers. Anna Lemley in particular stood out to me. I love a clean, simple aesthetic and Anna hits that note square between the eyes. I had to get to know her more and I think you should too. Her point of view is particularly strong, especially for someone so young. She’s going places, people. Keep an eye on this one.
Her collection will walk the runway for PGHFW this Thursday. Watch my Instagram stories for BTS footage. In the meantime, get to know Anna.
TERRA: Where are you from? What PGH neighborhood do you live in?
ANNA: I am from Belle Vernon, Pa. It is about 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh.
T: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
A: Growing up I always loved sewing with my grandmother and just creating things in general. I never thought I could make a career out of
it though, until I was about 17. It was that age when I was looking into careers and colleges and it just clicked one day that this is
what I would be most happy pursuing. I wasn't exactly sure how to make it work, but I knew that I wanted to be in the fashion industry.
That is when I decided to go to FIDM Los Angeles and begin this journey to become a designer.
T: What was your first job out of college?
A: I actually just landed my first job out of college recently, I am an Assistant Technical Designer for a local company. It has been a great opportunity
to help further my knowledge in pattern making and construction.
T: What did you wear to your first interview?
A: For my first interview I wore all black: black trousers, black top, and a black jacket with a statement necklace. That's really my go to
outfit when I want to feel strong and confident. I stick to a very dark color palette daily, so for interviews or events I like to just elevate
my usual looks to help maintain a sense of comfort and normalcy.
T: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
A: Be confident and take more chances. It's very easy at a young age to lack confidence in your work, which I definitely struggled with. There were many opportunities that
I passed up in the beginning purely because I did not feel I was good enough to participate. This industry is all about putting yourself out there and doing
new things, and over the years I have truly learned to embrace the vulnerability of being a designer.
T: What is your biggest professional fear?
A: Failing. I think it's a common fear for anyone, but especially for designers. What we create is the key to our success.
It is such a personal and emotional process to create a collection. The thought of showing it to others, for them to not understand or appreciate it
can be a lot to take in sometimes. But I also think that that uncertainty is part of what drives my passion. I put everything I have into my work
so that at the end of the day I know I am creating pieces I can be proud of. If I can take pride in the work I showcase, I can accept the failure that may
T: What is your favorite part about being a designer?
A: The freedom and creativity. I love being inspired by everything around me and having the ability to create new things.
But above all, starting from a simple sketch, going through the pattern making process, and creating that final garment is such an incredible feeling of
accomplishment. I have such a passion and love for the apparel design process and each step that it takes to create a garment.
It is a very arduous path to get to that final garment, but to see that final piece makes it all worth it.
T: How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
A: I want women to feel comfortable and confident in my clothing. My garments are pieces that can be easily worn and a staple to any
wardrobe. I want them to be those go to pieces that any woman can throw on and feel her best.