Best Of

Best Fashion Designer Who’s Still Her Own Boss


When people hear the words “Anna” and “boss” associated in the context of fashion, they’d be forgiven for immediately thinking of Vogue‘s editor in chief. But alas, even Anna Wintour must occasionally yield to powers above her within Condé Nast’s corporate hierarchy. Anna Sui, an independent fashion designer from the get-go, has no such limitations. Since debuting her first collection in 1981, the Michigan-born Parsons grad has kept her eponymous label a fully self-owned entity, a rare feat in today’s fashion industry. From her first official show in 1991 and the opening of her first Soho boutique a year later, to an expanded line that now includes fragrance and cosmetics and a roster of retailers worldwide, the designer has deftly held her own throughout the decades. To call her an industry rock star would be an entirely appropriate sobriquet, given her enduring love for music — Britpop, soul, glam, punk, grunge, you name it — and its various influences on her richly layered collections. Indeed, Sui has never felt compelled to subscribe to minimalist or normcore aesthetics. No, this is a designer who marches to the beat of her own drum — and that’s a good thing for anyone who takes pride in being a trendsetter, regardless of the style.
Laura Neilson