Ann Yee, originally from South Lyon Michigan, is a fashion designer with a whole lot of class and style. Ms. Yee has perfected the art of draping with her sensuous knits and customizable designs focusing on volume and proportion. Your invited to read our interview with this young genius, then we expect you to drool over her collection at annyeecollection.com. Be careful though, you might get lost in her vision of perfection.
DFN – At what age did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer?
Yee – I’ve always been into fashion for as long as I can remember. It started with sketching dresses at the front counter of my parents’ Chinese restaurant, Fortuna Inn, in South Lyon (had to give a shout-out!), but it wasn’t until early high school that I considered it as a realistic career.
DFN – How did you get started and was there ever a time you were discouraged?
Yee – After graduating from Philadelphia University, I moved to New York City and got my first job designing knitwear for a small private company. I held two more knitwear design positions after that and decided to finally start my own line in 2009 while still working a full time job. I had always wanted to start my own label, but felt it was important to gain some real industry experience before doing so. I finally decided to take the leap and pursue it full time beginning this year and it’s been non-stop since. Of course there have been some rough moments along the way, but I always try to keep a positive attitude and sense of humor—-it definitely helps!
DFN – You’re known for your art of draping and fantastic knits. What inspires you to keep your designs fresh and up to date?
Yee – Living in NYC keeps me inspired. I like to explore and really take in the surroundings–the diverse architecture and people always sparks new ideas.
DFN – Which style era is most influential to you?
Yee – This is a tough question! There is so much to draw from all the eras, even if it isn’t the most obvious detail or look. I can’t single one out, all the eras are influential to me in some way.
DFN – What boundaries do you think women should push in terms of fashion?
Yee – I think a lot of times woman perceive sexy as showing skin or wearing something so tight that you can’t breathe. I just feel sexiness can come across in so many other ways – i.e. an amazingly tailored suit or a dress that falls so beautifully along the lines of your body without showing too much. I wish more women thought outside the box – fashion would become even more interesting, and less generic.
DFN – Who do you specifically design for?
Yee – Women who appreciate fashion, understand it, and don’t take it too seriously.
DFN – With such an impressive background having worked with Barney’s, LaROK and Alice & Olivia, how do you pull inspiration from working with other brands?
Yee – I try to take in as much as I can having worked on various design teams and markets. At the end of the day, it is always about problem solving, which has been a vital part in starting a business.
DFN – Are there any other brands you are eager to work with?
Yee – I don’t have any specific brands in mind, but would love to one day collaborate with an established shoe designer.
DFN – What current trends make you cringe and what trends do you enjoy most?
Yee – A trend that definitely makes me cringe, but has been around forever, are Uggs. I know they’re comfortable, but they’re not the most flattering shoe. Current trends I’m into include long skirts, sheer anything, color blocking, and clean tailoring.
DFN – Name five basic staples every women should have in their closet.
Yee – an over sized cardi for layering purposes, a great durable leather belt (in a neutral – that can go with everything), a snood – never leave home without one in the Fall + Winter (practical and fashionable), a relaxed trouser (great versatility for day to night), a statement ring (not sure if people have jewelry in their closets, but it’s an essential for me!)
DFN – Thank you Ann for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. We really appreciate it!
Yee – Thank you! It’s my pleasure!