Janel Dyan

Women Crushing It Wednesday

#WCIW: Anna Sui

Committed to Culture. Disruptive Artist. Life-long Passion for Fashion.

Anna Sui knew from the age of four that she wanted to be a fashion designer. She started making her own clothes shortly after and made it a self-imposed rule that she would never wear the same outfit twice in one year. Upon completion of high school, Sui attended Parson’s School of Design and began her lifelong love affair with New York City. While she didn’t finish her degree, she was able to put together a portfolio that would launch a career that has been going strong for forty years. In fact, she has been so successful that this Spring she was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Parsons — the very school she dropped out of.

Anna’s success comes from her seemingly bottomless well of creativity, her sheer passion for her craft, and her genuine curiosity about the world around her. Stylist and long-time friend Bill Mullen said in a NY Times article, “If you call Anna up and say, ‘Let’s go to this’ — it could be anything — and she’ll automatically say yes. Her interests are so completely wide-ranging, it’s beyond. It could be some kind of mothbally, cobwebby old thing, or it could be some full-on nosebleed street culture helium thing and, either way, Anna’s there.”

Whether it is art, music, film, or some eccentric muse she met on the streets of NYC or London, inspiration and pop culture always abound in Sui’s collections. Her designs are filled with color, light and humor which made her a staple in the NYC Soho scene since she opened her first shop on Greene Street in 1992 — long before Soho had become the high-end shopping destination that it is today. 

Anna has also been active in helping out her community and world whenever possible. Since 1996, she has partnered with Citizens for Justice and Peace, the World Wildlife Foundation, the Orangutan Monitoring Project, and the Japan Disaster Relief Fund on a number of causes. Most recently, she worked with Vans to design shoes that would be sold to benefit high school arts programs. 

Today, Sui’s runway shows continue to surprise and delight, and are always a highlight of NYFW. For her commitment to culture, her disruptive designs, and her lifelong passion for fashion, Anna Sui is this week’s #WCIW.

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