HUMBLE ANVI BEGINNINGS + ONE HECK OF AN AMAZING JOURNEY

MUSE | MICHELLE VAWER

MUSE | MICHELLE VAWER

A few years ago I started a handmade recycled t-shirt scarf and accessory business named Wanko Wanko. What began as temporary venture to help fund my baby bunny Bambi's leg surgery by selling my products to friends and family, grew to several retailer carriers, including Whole Foods Market and Olive Boutique, and orders coming in from all over the world. It was just so much fun to create something that people loved. I would see people wearing my scarves and accessories out to lunch, at the mall, etc,…and really…there’s no better feeling for a designer. To see someone wearing your designs, to think that they woke up that day and decided, “I want to wear this,” well…I fell in love with that feeling. I also loved the challenge of having to continually create new products and designs and to keep people interested in my brand. So after about a couple years of success with Wanko Wanko I decided to retire the brand because I wanted to pursue something bigger, a clothing line. Hence was born ANVI.

The adventure to starting ANVI clothing has been about THREE YEARS (holy moly!) in the making. I feel as though I went to college all over again, except this time for fashion, design, and manufacturing. And I've just submitted my final project and I've got my fingers crossed that I did well and will graduate. How did I do? Will I be successful and pass? Will they even like what I made? LOL. 

I give so much props to all the designers out there. We really do wear our creative heart on our sleeve. As much as it is amazing to have that freedom to express yourself through design and art, you can't help but feel SO VULNERABLE. Like standing in a room full of people, fully naked...here I am. What do you think?

We create and then execute (with everything on the line....heart, soul, tremendous amounts of time and money...reputation) and hope to god people will love (even if just a little) what you've created. The struggle is real! LOL!

Starting from the beginning, I literally had no education or background in fashion design or manufacturing, only the determination to learn. I began with reading fashion school textbooks and "how to" manuals, researching design and manufacturing, and asking as many questions as possible to anyone who would listen in the industry. I even traveled to textile shows to learn about fabric, which is a whole other realm, let me tell you!

I honestly thought in the beginning, "Being a clothing designer would be so much fun and glamorous and seriously, how hard could it be?" Welp! I sure learned quickly how DIFFICULT IT REALLY IS. It's not just about designing your dream line (that's the fun part). First, you literally have to build an empire of knowledge and be (or learn to be) an expert in textiles, design, sewing, financing, sample making, sourcing, pattern making, grading, manufacturing, graphic design, costing, marketing, website building, public relations, social media, accounting, and event planning. It's crazy!!!

And then after all this you have to do your costing. How do you price each piece to ensure that you make some kind of profit after all the costs...trim, fabric, production, labels, hang tags, branding, shipping, packaging. And this doesn't even include all the time and money you've put into everything else to get to the point of (*heavenly "ahhhhh!" music) . . . THE GARMENT.

Remarkably everything in my collection is priced under $100! I’m very proud of that. Did I also mention that everything is MADE IN HAWAII?! I am even MORE proud of that! I am so happy that I have been able to support local in terms of production. It costs extra for sure to manufacture in Hawaii due to higher labor costs (versus in places like, the mainland, Indonesia and China), but I think it is totally worth it to support local. I am so proud and excited to be a part of the growing fashion community here in Hawaii. We have so much local talent here, it’s incredible! Not to mention amazing resources like The Cut Collective and Hawaii Fashion Exchange. For crying out loud, we now have Hawaii Fashion Month! So awesome.

It's crazy how far I've come, and I definitely didn't do it alone. I have my mom Roxanne Vogelgesang to thank for helping me from day one when everything was just an idea. Endless late nights sewing, pattern-making and sample making. Coming with me to textile shows and teaching me about fabric and everything related to design. She really is a master at her craft. Love you mama!

Susan, for basically taking me under her wing and helping me bring my collection to life! Without her encouragement, background, expertise and connections, there's no way I would have successfully produced my line. I feel like certain people are really just meant to connect at some point in your life, and I am so thankful that she came into mine. She is crazy talented at everything she does and I am so lucky to have her as a friend and mentor.

Also special thanks to my hubby for being the most encouraging and supportive husband one could have! Thank you for loving and accepting me and all my crazy ideas!

Mich Vawer for being my muse. For agreeing to do a last minute photo shoot for someone you barely knew, for all your enthusiasm, love, and for making my designs look like pure gold! You are absolutely stunning inside and out and I'm so lucky to know you!

Daniela V for helping bring my vision to life with insanely gorgeous photos! To Lady Slider (Tara) for helping design my amazing logo, it couldn't have been more perfect. To Sam at 3rd Shore Ave for helping me bring my branding to life!

To ALL my friends and family, thank you for all the love, endless encouragement, enthusiasm, and support. You guys are my rock, the legs that keep me stable and strong in order to keep running and striving to live a life I love.

ANVI has been a labor of love for sure and I'm continually thankful for the journey.

With that being said (*inhale, exhale) I am beyond excited to announce that you can FINALLY SHOP our limited edition PASSPORT CAMERA ANVI COLLECTION, ONLINE at WWW.ANVICLOTHING.COM ✖️ Happy holidays!! NOW GET YOUR SHOP ON, HAHA! 💋