/  2021.07.27.  /  

“It has to come from the heart”

Anna Amélie interview

What started as a small workshop of high-quality leather bags became one of the most unique and easily recognizable design brands in Hungary. In the past 10 years founder Anna Oláh has expanded her business to create the world of Anna Amélie, a brand that is as much personal as it is universal: fuelled entirely by its creator’s instinctive vision, Anna Amélie turns its back to an industry obsessed with mass production and instead speaks to modern audiences looking for a brand with a soul. We talked to Anna to find out how she found her own voice throughout these years, and where she plans to take Anna Amelie in the future.

We’d like to congratulate you on the 10th anniversary of Anna Amélie! How did you celebrate the occasion?

Thank you! We will celebrate our 10th anniversary with the long-awaited opening of the first ANNA AMÉLIE Store in Irányi Street, Budapest. The event will take place as part of the Design Week programme schedule, I hope many will come to join us for the occasion!

We didn’t have to deep dive in the history of Anna Amélie to see that it is a truly personal, almost familiar brand. Who are the people closest to you that inspire you the most?

It is my family first and foremost. My mother is an amazing artist, my father taught me to appreciate the utmost power of creative thinking, and I always looked up to my designer brother for his perseverance and commitment - I think he is the most innovative thinker in our family. I miss him dearly, as he lives in the Netherlands. I also have to give a shout-out to András, a.k.a. “Mr. Waldron”, my collaborator for six years. He is my colleague and my right hand man, a person we’re always on the same page with.

You mentioned how you grew up in a family of artists and creators: your mother is a painter and a leathersmith, your father is a goldsmith. What did you learn from them about the creative process?

Wow, this is very difficult to answer, I think I could write a whole book about this… To make it brief: I learned that the most important thing in life is to enjoy what I am doing day by day, and to make work a commitment. It has to come from the heart.

You stood up for the values of “slow living” many times before. What does this notion mean to you exactly, and how can the Anna Amélie brand be a true representation of it?

Each and every bag is made by myself and my colleague, meaning that all of those bags are unique and one-off. We are strictly against serial production, as we hope to create valuable products for both short-term and long-term use.

People around the world got a taste of “slow living” due to the well-known circumstances of the past one-and-a-half years. What were your main, professional takeaways from this isolated period of our lives?

I really looked at social isolation as a golden opportunity to show just how creative I thought I was. I had a strong initiative to prove that I am capable of going through with it. It was a test that many of us, including the brand, passed with flying colors.

Your popular drawings are an iconic part of the Anna Amélie image. Why do you think people are so enamored by your artwork?

I never stop thinking about this myself, and I am yet to come up with an answer. But part of it must be that it comes from my heart and it is very instinctive. People must be able to pick up on this.

Visitors of the last S/ALON BUDAPEST had the opportunity to witness the Anna Amélie experience in person, as you were creating artwork for one of the installations live at the exhibition. This year, you are planning to introduce your brand new HOME collection at the event. Can you tell us something about this project?

Our previous collection revolved around the bedroom. At this year’s S/ALON BUDAPEST we will present our latest HOME collection where dining and all its accessories will be in focus.

What does “home” mean to you?

It’s Greece, without a doubt - the place where my mother lives.

Going forward, what can we expect from Anna Amélie in 2021?

One thing that makes our brand exciting is the fact that even we don’t know sometimes. Along with our signature bags, our clothing line is expanding nicely - and we hope to include some timeless pieces in the collection. We are also planning the addition of lifestyle products… but let’s not reveal anything too early.

Meet the stunning art of Anna Oláh in person at this year’s S/ALON BUDAPEST, where the greats of Hungarian and international design await you for an unforgettable weekend. Let’s meet at the Budapest Aréna between September 24-26, and don’t forget to follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates from the world of design!



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