Talent Story – Anna Lenkiewicz

Imagine seeing a woman in shoes you’d designed, her feet tapping against the ground, her movements confident and assured. I can’t describe how it felt as I watched her pass by at Stansted Airport, wearing my shoes! It reminded me how far I had come.

As a little girl growing up on the Polish coast, I spent my childhood drawing and sculpting elephants from plasticine; crafting, moulding, rapt in my own little world. Creativity was always in my family. My mother was a photographer, my father a painter, yet my decision to be a fashion designer was unconventional. But the little girl had big dreams, and big dreams mean bold steps.

I started small, entering competitions, gaining experience and eventually made it to art college, cutting my teeth among other young designers amid the din of busy workshops. I learned so much, but yearned for more. Where else but the dirty, noisy cobbler’s workshops at the London College of Fashion could I fully discover the beauty of design? They call London the Big Smoke, but for me it was like a fire, stoking my creativity. I gained a great deal of experience. The city was alive with unique fashion, from the boho chic of Carnaby Street to the down at heel rustic charm of Shoreditch, and the rebellious canal-side stalls of Camden. Studying the city was an education in itself, but gaining experience at WGSN, the world’s leading trend authority, was truly eye-opening.

After graduation, I was ready to change the world, one shoe at a time, and worked with a number of British brands on their footwear collections. I believe each designer has that ‘wow’ moment, when they realise their hard work has paid off. For me, it was that day at the airport.

But seeing my designs alive isn’t enough. I’ve always needed fresh challenges and outlets for my creativity. London is the perfect base. Everything from the verdant parks to the bustling markets and even the night buses act as a constant source of inspiration. I observe people as they go about their day, I take walks, surrounded by beauty and architecture. I live and breathe the city. It fuels me. This, after all, is the home of Quant, Westwood, McQueen. If Dots Dash is my easel, London is my muse.