You create unique sportswear, dresses, accessories, shoes, neckties and tees. What inspired you to start designing?
I guess I was inspired by my parents my dad had a hobby of drawing on everything and my mom could sew…they were my first initial introduction to fashion and art! But at 10 I knew hands down I was going to be a designer, I wanted a job I would love and that I wouldn’t hate when I woke up in the morning! And I absolutely loved clothing, color, unique patterns, styling, and just everything! God made me just for this career!
Where did the name Anara Original come from? Is it a legacy or ode to someone special?
One day I pray that AO will bean extraordinary legacy for my family and children! Anara Original is me Sara A. Crawford. I combined my middle name Ann and first name Sara to create Anara and the original was added because I was created in an original image.
You coin your style as vintage and urban mixed with art. What led you to go in the direction of vintage?
Well, there wasn’t one thing that led me to this direction. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes things just come to me. I look back on things I created in college and to now and I can see the growth! I love artsy designs and beautiful colors so I thought clothing could be my canvas and why not add this element of art to my collection. I thought it gave a more personal and customize appearance! Something like a special gift just from me. Modern. Clean lines are nice, but having an old spirit myself I love the classic image and detail of vintage the combination of these things together just seem so original and different and that’s when I knew I had finally created the image i could brand and be so very proud of!
You make unique vintage button rings and gorgeous brooches. Were you just experimenting when you came up with the first prototype?
Yes and No I was inspired to create something. Before my mom mom Katherine B. Ross passed away she gave me a box of fabric and buttons. I had no clue what to do with them because I usually don’t design with a lot of button detail in my clothing. The buttons were so beautiful the modern ones and the vintage ones also. I put them away and one day it just hit me make rings, I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but after some experimenting, I had a winner!
When women wear your clothing and accessory pieces what do you want them to feel, experience, be?
I am an albino African American so I have always felt like I naturally stand out because I am so uniquely created. And that’s the feeling I wanted to invoke in every piece of clothing or jewelry I design. I want women to feel unique, to feel comfortable and confident, and to feel as if they can express themselves freely! Those are as the things AO STRIVES for every woman to feel and experience.
All artists draw their inspiration from somewhere. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I’m inspired by so many things pop art, color, vintage , but most of all music! I have always said if I wasn’t in fashion I would hands down be in the music industry. The 70’s and 80’s color stories and the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s is classic vintage styles that are timeless.
Is there anybody in the fashion world that you admire? If so, who? And what do admire about them?
There are so many people to admire in this business, but two that stand out to me that have inspired me would be June Ambrose, Celebrity stylist, author, and designer. I can remember some of her first videos like Missy Elliot and to she how she has grown in the business from then to now with a book, reality show coming in March, a sunglasses and turban line, it gives me hope. By watching her I have learned persistence, hard work, patience, and owning my craft in God’s time everything will fall into place! Fashion is no an easy road traveled. Also, designer Tracy Reese; she began her line many years ago and her father helped her financially and sadly her business couldn’t sustain, but she tried again (stories of struggle and patience speak to me) and as you can see Tracy Reese and Plenty by Tracy Reese are do well. It was all about the timing! Stories of inspiration that I reflect on often help me stay grounded!
If you could see three people wearing your rings or brooches who would it be?
Wow! This is a very hard question because I would love to see many people wearing my rings and brooches! But if I have to narrow it down I would say Solange Knowles, June Ambrose, Meryl Streep–brooches. And I have to cheat, my two bonus persons Rhianna and Michelle Obama–brooches.
Where would you like to see your brand in 5 years?
In 5 years I would hope for the brand to be carried in high boutiques and department stores not just local an online outlets, dressing A list celebrities, obtaining a feature in essence and in style magazine and showing during New York Fashion Week!
Visit the official website at www.AnaraOriginal.com