Helen Anthony makes daring looks with vintage flair — and now, the label is releasing its new “Pandemic” collection exclusively through its crowdfunding campaign.
Launched by designer Naeem Anthony in 2014, the label’s name honours Anthony’s grandmother, Helen, who helped Naeem develop the skills he needed to eventually create the bold, striking pieces produced by the brand today. By blending styles from around the world and inspiration from decades of fashion history, Helen Anthony creates eclectic looks of exquisite quality.
Schön! spoke with the creative team behind the label to get a better insight into its history, its “Pandemic” collection and what the brand has in store for the future.
First, can you give our readers a brief introduction to Helen Anthony and what the brand stands for?
Helen Anthony is a brand that represents the diversity of global fashion. To achieve this, we have begun to embrace unisex designs into our collections that intertwine with our existing menswear and womenswear collections. Naeem Anthony, the designer behind the brand, has sought to adapt the Helen Anthony ethos and reflect the changing social attitudes towards sex and gender, tailoring and designing clothes that deliver a more individualistic experience. It is a great way to challenge old attitudes and embrace social change.
Throughout the history of Helen Anthony, what stands out to you as “pivotal moments” for the brand?
There are always milestones that you’ll never forget. One of the most memorable was taking part and showing two collections at Milan Fashion Week as well as being able to carry my beautiful daughter after the shows on runway. My daughter is a huge inspiration and motivation for the brand. It was a privilege. It is such a great show and has such prestige. Whilst we were celebrating this achievement, we were told that we had been invited back for a second time to showcase our new collection. It is a real accolade and a fantastic endorsement of the passion and energy we put into our designs. From this, we have showcased in Paris, London, New York and Pitti Uomo Florence.
Introduce us to the “Pandemic Collection”. What inspired this series of works?
It has been a troubling time for the whole of the UK, and there are many great professions that are often overlooked that have kept this great nation going. It is with thanks to them that I have been able to make the most of the lockdown and reassess some of the more simple things in life. I realised that time and space are in themselves, and I began to reflect on the joy of taking your time over things, enjoying a slightly slower pace of life and just kicking back and relaxing. It is this that inspired me to create a loungewear collection which was comfortable and affordable whilst retaining a feel of luxury and style that runs through the DNA of Helen Anthony.
Besides the obvious, why did you title this collection the “Pandemic Collection”?
It is the pandemic that forced everybody into a different way of life and, for many, into a different way of thinking. It has touched and impacted the lives of millions across the world. We consider Helen Anthony to be a global brand, and we like to incorporate different cultures and events into our work. The pandemic is something that cannot be overlooked and is unlikely to be forgotten, and our collection is a reflection of that.
What traits define a Helen Anthony wearer?
I don’t think it is possible to ‘define’ a person who wears Helen Anthony. We don’t define them. We feel that many of our customers are fluid about who they are and want to be and would rather avoid being pigeonholed and defined within a set of parameters. In the same way that our collections and eclectic patterns seek to step out from the mainstream, we feel that a person who seeks to be identified with the brand would rather remain undefined.
There’s a vintage inspiration in a lot of your work. What period of history would you say inspires you the most, and why?
There is something about every era that we can bring forth into our work. There is so much inspiration that you can go through the decades tenfold and still find something new. Personally, I take a lot of influence from the silhouettes and shapes of the ‘70s, such as bell bottoms, midi-skirts and large collars as well as the bold colours and patterns.
What do you think is in the future for Helen Anthony?
For some designers, it is purely about the money. However, I am one of a breed of designers who have retained a passion for creativity, and my main focus is to keep designing, creating and working. It is a great feeling to see your brand being showcased to a global audience. I can walk down the high street and go unnoticed, yet my pieces and designs have been adorned by some of the biggest celebrities of our time. It is this that keeps me going and the Helen Anthony brand alive. I have the help and motivation of some great people and close friends who have supported me in many different ways, helping me get this far. I am also imminently appreciative of my sponsors, investors and the fashion industry for recognising my unique identity and work. Together, as a team, I feel that the future is bright, and there are many more opportunities and challenges that we must prepare for along the way to help the brand grow and achieve its full potential.
all clothing. Helen Anthony
photography + direction. John Rowley
art direction + casting. Naeem Anthony
videography. Justin Kirschner + Salo Schoonwinkel @ redplayback.com
styling. Cara Natalie
models. Emily Unkles @ Established Models, Giuseppe Surdi + Paula Soares @ Select Model London, Oliver Nicholson @ Next Model
hair. Shukeel Murtaza @ The Only Agency
make up. Lisa Valencia
photography assistant. Luke Johnson
styling assistant. Lucy Woodham
hair assistant. Sandra Hahnel
retouch. Alex Piñero