As Styled By | Ann-A-Porter
As part of our 'As Styled By' series, we spoke to Anna of the fashion and lifestyle blog, 'Ann-A-Porter' about her inspirations, motherhood and core values.
Hello Anna! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Anna, I’m 32 years old and I live with my family in Berlin. I come from Kyiv, Ukraine, but we've been living abroad for a while. It all has started with Sweden; where I studied my second MA. Then we moved to northern Italy for a while, then I got a job in Munich and this is how our German story began. We've now been living in Germany for six years.
How did you get into fashion? Why did you start ‘Ann-A-Porter’?
When we came back to Kyiv from Italy, I decided to try something I always had an interest in; how do fashion shows work, how do designers come up with collections, and what’s behind a fashion week. So I took a job as a project manager at Mercedes Benz Kiev Fashion Week and got to know many talented Ukrainian designers. This is when I decided to start my own blog to express my passion for style. When I worked in PR with influencers in Munich, I got a chance to see what the digital style world is about. As I was working full time and was a foreigner in a new city, unfortunately or luckily I had neither time nor energy to pursue my hobby. I became a mother in 2016 and shortly after we moved to Berlin. When my daughter started daycare, I finally got myself together and decided to bring my passion back to life – it was ‘now or never.” So here am I now, a young mum living in Berlin pursuing my passion in style and I couldn’t be any happier.
Many people think that ANN-A-PORTER comes from my personal name, Anna Porter. But it’s not! It actually comes from prêt-à-porter, which means ready-to-wear. Since I wanted to share my personal style journey, I thought this name might fit, so I took the “a-porter“ part and just added Anna in the beginning. My full name is Anna Zlobenko, so it definitely has nothing to do with it.
What inspires you; both creatively and in life?
There are so many things that inspire me in life, but first and foremost it’s people. I love people, love hearing their stories, sharing energy and experiences. I love spotting stylish people on the streets of Berlin and everywhere I go – it inspires me. When I see a stylishly dressed person, it’s like they’re telling a story of who they are without saying a word, I love it!
Sometimes in order to get inspired, I would simply get a coffee and croissant, sit on a terrace and observe the life around. Just to be present in the moment. Inspiration is like a synergy of what you’ve seen, where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten, who you’ve talked to if that makes sense.
Book stores, fashion photography, interior design, vintage shops and time on my own - all of these are my sources of inspiration.
What advice would you give anyone interested in starting a fashion blog or looking to create content?
First and foremost to answer the question ‘why you’re doing it? What’s your inspiration? Why? Is it to share outfit ideas, to promote sustainable fashion, to tell what minimalistic style is? Knowing what’s your 'why' is very important and brings the most value, particularly as the market is so over-saturated now. It took me around 2 years to figure out what’s my 'why', it might not be as easy as it seems, but it is essential to accelerate your growth. I’m a great believer that content is key; so I’d highly recommend training & educating yourself in content creation. Quality is what wins long-term. Focus on what you value personally, try to reach the best quality level and be persistent - that’s it...Ah, and be kind!
How do you juggle motherhood with your career?
Oh I still haven’t figured it out yet. It’s definitely not easy and it’s a lot about going with the flow. At first, when I figured out my working routines, I tried to stick to it as much as I could, but it all crushed if something went wrong. Therefore I learned that there is no such thing as balance. There are periods when work is in top priority, there are periods when motherhood is in a bigger priority. For example, it's the summer holidays currently and I’m spending all the time with my daughter and having no time to work at alll. But it will change in August and it’s fine, it’s life, you go with the flow.
Are there any core values that you apply to your work and life?
Oh absolutely! I am always trying to stay honest with myself in everything I do.
I’m quite a straightforward and transparent person and I try to apply this in my work too. I will never advertise a brand I personally never tried or don’t like. My goal is to create value with my work and I genuinely believe and hope I inspire my community to dress up better, to be kinder and to live a more sustainable lifestyle. So yes, my personal values are my work values too.
What does womanhood mean to you?
Good question. Womanhood to me is like sisterhood to me - I genuinely believe that when women support each other, greater things can happen. There is nothing more powerful than when women support and inspire each other, I’ve experienced it myself. Women are truly incredible and I’d love to see the world appreciating it more in every aspect of our lives.
What are your go-to pieces this season and what are staples in your wardrobe?
Oh, this summer it’s all about puff sleeves or puff dresses – I adore them! I love combining feminine with masculine, therefore my staples haven’t changed over the past several years; my summer style is about sporty sandals, denim or black Bermuda shorts, white men’s-like shirts, flowy pleated skirts, straw bag, and puff sleeves and cropped tops.