I"M NOT SURE IF I'VE EVER mentioned on here that I'm Filipino-American; I guess I just figure that it's sort of a given. I'm rarely mistaken for anything else, although Hawaiian is a common one, sometimes Mexican. I have, however, never been to the Philippines outside of a summer visit when I was just two years old. I'm sort of ashamed about how little I've been immersed in my parents' native culture. Both of them were born and raised there, only coming out to California in their early twenties back in the 1970s. My only expertise is in swear words and the food-- I love filipino food. Pretty much all of it (fermented duck eggs aside).
But, I was recently excited to discover a fellow filipino and her beautiful, breezy designs. The word 'anaak' means child in Tagalog, and it reminds me of my mom calling me that when I was a tiny little adventurous tomboy. Marissa Maximo named her brand Anaak after that sort of free-spirited explorer sensibility, and I love the easy, delicate fabrics and designs she creates from that inspiration. I feel like I can live in the beautiful set she sent me to style.
I chose to wear it on a lazy Saturday in my hometown and spent it at the farmer's market with my friend and neighbor Lauren who took these photos. We also stopped by the Uncommon Plant sale at Prospect Park nearby, where we both scored some pretty green babies to add to our collections. All in all, it was a perfect Saturday. Read on for an interview with Marissa.
What, if any, are your design inspirations in terms of other designers?
I’m constantly in awe of and inspired by the traditional and indigenous craftsmanship of local artisans I’ve met in India, Indonesia, Bhutan and Mexico.
How does the place you live in influence your design aesthetic?
I’m constantly traveling, so wanderlust is the greatest influence on Anaak’s design aesthetic. I get ideas and aesthetic inspiration from everything I encounter on a trip, from textiles to handicrafts to architecture the people I meet. Each piece is designed with getaways in mind, and since I’m always on the move, that spirit is within me from the beginning.
What is your mission statement for Anaak? Can you speak a little bit about the name of your brand and what it means?
The mission statement is: Born of perpetual wonderment and insatiable wanderlust.Anaak is a collection of artfully relaxed feminine pieces ethically handcrafted by artisans in global communities.The name is a term of endearment my mother bestowed upon me and still uses to this day—it’s Filipino dialect Tagalog’s word for “child.” I love how it speaks to the carefree spirit of the clothes and how I see the world, with a permanent sense of wide-eyed wonder.
What other creative outlets do you have? Describe a typical day at work and also a day off.
I love going exploring off the grid: finding remote beaches and staying in rustic huts or camping in simple tents. Being immersed in nature and living simply inspires me. I also practice yoga on a daily basis, and this helps to focus my mind and energy and keeps me healthy. A typical day working in India involves visiting and working directly with the artisans. The artisans are located all throughout the country depending upon their specialty, and I travel to different regions to work with handloom weavers, dyers, printers, and embroideries. This may entail several hours’ plane flight and additional multitude of hours driving to reach such remote areas. In addition to working with the artisans, I love to visit local markets for trim, materials, and to be inspired by the crafts indigenous to each region. On a day off, I like to wander and take things easy. I may walk through a farmer’s market, buy fresh produce, and cook a meal for my friends and loved ones. I also can’t resist a good hammock under palm trees, reading a book or napping on a sunny day. My favorite pastime is painting. To me, it’s the most personal capture of places I have traveled and things I have seen that can never be replaced.
What's next for your line?
I am working on Spring/Summer 2016, the 3rd collection for Anaak. It will fully embrace Anaak’s lifestyle and wanderlust culture with more apparel styles and surfboard collaboration. The Spring/Summer 2016 will premiere in New York and Paris during fashion week this September.