Her designs make quite the fashion wave internationally, and after you check out her creations you’ll know why. Now Anna Karenina, better known as Anna K has her sights set on a bigger goal – turning the fashion industry on its head via blockchain.
Six years ago, Anna K made her debut as a designer at Kyiv and London fashion weeks before she even came of age. Now, Karenina, at just 22, is a regular fixture on the ‘Big Four’ catwalks. Her success is reinforced by being listed last year in two categories of Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ annual rankings. She shares with What’s On her thoughts on favourite shopping spots and brands, announces the release of a new cryptocurrency, and tells how smaller-scale fashion events such as Riga differ from Kyiv and Paris.
You’ve just returned from the Latvian capital, which hosted the Riga Fashion Week. How did people react to your collection inspired by cryptocurrency?
I had never been to Riga, so on my first day in the city, I just walked around the streets. I was immediately struck by the cleanliness. Paris or Kyiv are incomparable to Riga in this regard. I fell ill, but it did not stop me from reaching the podium. The surprise was a lot of people came to my lecture “Fashion Coin and Blockchain as a New Fashion System”. This indicated to me that people have a desire to develop and learn new things. In addition, Alisa Podolyak, ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia, came to support my show, which was really nice.
When did you get your first taste for success? How did you know you were on the right track?
The first time I felt that kind of buzz and realised I was doing the right thing was when I presented my first collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kiev at the age of 16. Afterwards, the editor of Vogue Italia, Elena Bara, mentioned she thought my show was the best. The second time I felt that euphoria was when I got on the Forbes ‘30 under 30’ list.
How did your brand enter the international arena?
I decided to make a serious transborder collection, and Daria Shapovalova invited me to Pitti Immagine (an Italian fashion event). I went there with a collection of T-shirts entitled ‘Fashion Circus’, which became very popular.
You’re planning to release the Fashion Coin cryptocurrency. Tell us about the concept.
First, I am planning an auction inspired by the creator of Etherium, Vitalik Buterin. The auction will be based on the Etherium platform and will be limited to 10 numbered T-shirts carrying the slogan ‘Vitalik is My Sputnik’. Fashion Coin will not just be a cryptocurrency. Things bought with Fashion Coin will always be cheaper by 30-50%. We’re creating a whole platform on which any girl can log-in and buy a brand of clothes. The second platform will allow anyone to become a micro-investor in a particular collection. Attending a fashion show, you can invest directly from there in Fashion Coins for the production of a collection. Thus, the designer will have money to work on designs, and an investor will take dividends from sales. The third platform is a social network, similar to Instagram but instead of ‘likes’ users will get Fashion Coins.
What algorithm of protection (consensus) will be used in Fashion Coin? Who is the development team?
We have a development team including the programmers who created the Belarusian cryptocurrency Taler (TLR). The blockchain algorithm will be similar to proof-of-stake but we call it Proof-of-love. Presale for Fashion Coin is scheduled for April-May.
Where do you buy your own clothes? How much money would you spend in a month?
I don’t like online shopping, because I need to feel things – be tactile. If we’re talking about Kyiv, then I like to shop in TSUM. It has provided the opportunity for Ukrainians to buy many cool brands such as Off-White. I spend about 3 000 USD on clothes a month. My favorite brands are Comme des Garçons and Prada.
What are you wearing now?
Anna K bomber jacket, Prada shoes, and Acne jeans.
Name some celebrities wearing Anna K?
Supermodel Natalia Vodyanova; ‘momager’ of Kim Kardashian-West, Kris Jenner; streetstyle stars Linda Tol and Eleonora Carisi.
Favorite place in Kyiv?
Vozdvizhenka is my favorite, because it does not look like Kyiv. It is like a small piece of Paris or Lviv. It is there I have my studio and my team.