For Anni Ruuth, clothes are a symbol of something bigger than just the garments we can see and feel. Yes, fashion is still a spectacle. But it never comes down to just that. Clothes affect our mood, hold our memories, and even reflect our complex personalities. With her elegant collections, Anni Ruuth makes the wearer feel powerful and beautiful, inside and out. Her latest 'After Ballet' collection shows a reverse for ballet's strict perfection, encouraging us to let go and forget the impression of an ideal world. The goal is, to simply slow down and focus on what makes us truly happy.
Words: Meri Frig
Your designs have been strongly influenced by the ballet culture. Why is that? Are there some specific works that have been particularly inspiring for your design work?
All art and culture inspire me greatly – the sensitivity and movements of ballet in particular. I love to transfer the ambience of ballet to a collection, and always find a new angle to it. Nevertheless, I am not limited by any genre. For example, I find hip hop culture equally inspiring.
How would you characterise the fashion philosophy that guides your work?
The world is full of beauty, but what is hidden behind all that beauty is another matter. I think a garment is genuinely beautiful when I know that it is responsibly produced, without oppressing anyone or anything. This means it automatically becomes beautiful, both inside and out.
"I love to find an idea for a shape or colour through being captivated by a detail, such as the surface of a green apple in sunlight."
Can you tell us about the materials you use in your beautiful collections?
I favour natural materials, such as down, feathers and silk. My design work is very much influenced by materials. But I also love to find an idea for a shape or colour through being captivated by a detail, such as the surface of a green apple in sunlight.
Your first collection was born out of ethical concerns: you started to look for more ethical options for down and feather. Can you tell us about that journey.
My collection and thesis Slow Down created the basis for my designer identity, and shed light on the problems in the down industry. The world of down and feathers took me on a journey that I hope to continue for a long time. The properties of the down and feather materials fascinate me, and I am always finding new things to be drawn into when working with these materials. I also love to bring the down material to a reimagined, more feminine concept.
"I like designers that dare to do things against the mainstream. Every designer should be a little rebellious for that matter."
Which designers or phenomena in the fashion industry do you find inspiring?
The American label Patagonia prepares beautiful down jackets from recycled down. Both, functionality and a good fit are combined in their concept. The story and the determination of designer Jeremy Scott also inspires me greatly. He has a strong vision he has held on to, even when starting as the creative director at Moschino. I like designers that dare to do things against the mainstream. Every designer should be a little rebellious for that matter.
Your brand's mission is to create a monument for the light and softness we all have inside of us. How does that materialise in the design process?
For my collections, I personally choose materials that express my inspiration, such as the white shimmering velvet resembling the fine soft down feathers of a swan’s neck. My mission is that the person who wears the garments I have designed would feel the softness and the power well up simultaneously.