In fashion, nothing is static.
“You have to keep changing in order to keep current,” says Anne Namba, president of Anne Namba Designs. “You can’t just rest on your laurels.”
It’s a mentality that has allowed her business to thrive, surviving in an industry that for many others is nearly impossible even to break into.
Her philosophy has been a simple one: “If you’re going to spend your time doing it, then do a good job – you might as well do a good job, or the best job that you can do.”
This year, Namba will celebrate 25 years in business.
To say a lot has happened in the 15 years that have passed since Namba first appeared on MidWeek‘s Sept. 22, 1999, cover would be an understatement.
Twelve years ago, she opened a studio in Kakaako. Accessible to the public six days a week, it functions as a retail store for Namba’s designs.
She also has received numerous accolades, including the Roselani Medallion of Excellence from the National Society of Arts and Letters, and the Woman of Distinction honor from Girl Scouts of Hawaii. In June, she will be recognized by the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles at its annual gala. Namba says it is the largest Japanese-American cultural center in the nation.
In the meantime, her newest collection is slated to be unveiled March 4 at a private event. A departure from screen printing and the use of any black, Namba instead used digital printing to create detailed and colorful floral patterns.
“It so intricate and detailed, and all very beautiful colors,” she says. “It’s an ombre from purple to blue to turquoise.
“I took a big gamble on it and, so far, the reaction is phenomenal.” Namba’s busy schedule doesn’t stop there. She also will travel to Washington, D.C., to be featured in its Cherry Blossom Festival in addition to working with cosmetics company Trish McEvoy and coordinating her nephew’s June wedding. She also will design costumes for Hawaii Opera Theatre’s The Mikado this summer, and has shows between now and May in various locations throughout California.
“I’m just all over the place,” she says.
She continues to present benefit fashion shows, and completed two last week with Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Hawaiian Humane Society. Working with the latter organization is especially personal for Namba, who recently adopted a dog from the society.
Namba continues to draw inspiration from many things (don’t be surprised to see a future line of pet wear) and applies herself to the fluidity of her craft.
“(We are) constantly analyzing and trying to be creative and stay ahead of the game,” she says.