‘It’s not about price,’ says Anna Garner when I ask how she gathers things for her chic, new website The Garnered. ‘I never want to be drawn to things that are expensive just for the sake of it. I’m interested in quality and longevity – it’s got to be individual and unique’. And Garner definitely practises what she preaches; when we meet for coffee she looks elegant and understated in a vintage red jumper, 3/4 length trousers and Marni boots. Having had a long career in buying, as fashion director at Selfridges and Joseph in London and Henri Bendel’s in New York, Garner has an eye for a bestselling design and an aptly named ecommerce site to go with (surely the most chic example of nominative determinism, ever?). The Garnered acts as a beautifully curated showcase for homewares, jewellery and accessories, ceramics and ‘craftsmanship of all kinds’. It’s launch coincides with the mood for a more considerate kind of consumption and slowing down, ‘I love investment pieces that transcend age, that people could pass down from one generation to the next. Pieces that tell a story in their own right’.
We had a quick chat about getting The Garnered going:
TNMA: Can you tell me a bit more about the selection process when choosing designers and items for the Garnered?
AG: ‘I try to look at everything as a balanced portfolio. I’m not interested in flash-in-the-pan trends. Quality is a prerequisite – It’s about how pieces are made, the whole process, the skill and craftmanship as well as the pieces themselves. Some of the designers have been doing it for 30-40 years and some are straight out of college, so it’s not about experience, it’s about belief in the designer. I guess it does come down to gut.’
TNMA: Is sustainability part of your ethos?
AG: ‘We don’t promote ourselves as an ethical site but we try to be ethical in our practises. To show an awareness and responsibility. All the pieces we sell, tell a story in their own right; a lot of our products are handmade and so really individual. We are going against mass production. The passion of the designer is what’s important to me, what they are pouring into their designs that make it very personal.’
TNMA: Do you think the internet has made trends less important?
AG: ‘The thing about trends – well, it was about being in the know, back in the day. Being on the front row at shows, being the first to know six months ahead of everybody else. The fashion industry was privilege to that insider information but now everyone has that information at their fingertips, on the same day. There has definitely some value lost in trends’.
TNMA: Individuality is more important than ever, do you agree?
AG: ‘It’s great that people are celebrating who they are, that’s what fashion is really about. There are many aspects that are good about slowing down, people are buying better, buying things that are more meaningful and made to last, as opposed to throwaway. Style needs to be a very natural thing, an extension of your personality – a spontaneous affair. What you feel in that moment and how you want to express yourself that day. Everything is very global now and because of that we are celebrating individuality more. There’s a lot of freedom and that gives a wider choice to buyers.’