This week, we were lucky enough to interview the fabulous Anna Singh, founder of Chinti and Parker. Anna founded Chinti and Parker in 2009 with her cousin Rachael Wood. She lives in Notting Hill with her husband, two sons and dog Vinnie.
You are My Baba’s favourite designer in the world! We love everything about Chinti & Parker. What’s it like working with your cousin, were you close growing up?
Working with my cousin Rachael is fantastic. We’ve always been extremely close, much more like sisters. There are, of course, challenging moments working together and we don’t agree on everything, but there’s a compromise, and I think that our family bond actually makes this easier – I’ve worked with friends and associates in business, and the challenges are universal, but with family the impetus to find a solution is far stronger.
Do you still design clothes for children? I used to love perusing and buying lots from your children’s collections. My daughter is obsessed with my black and white star jumper, but it looks more like a giant dress on her!
Sadly, no. When we launched we had a capsule collection of babywear, which was truly adorable, however, the womenswear line quickly took off, and we decided to focus our attention there.
If you could choose three of your favourite pieces from your latest collection, what would they be?
My top spring summer buy has to be the Rainbow Heart Shirt. I challenge anyone not to fall in love with its adorable micro heart print. Knitwear-wise, I’m all for a little wow factor at the moment, so it has to be the Star Shoulder Sweater in Parrot Blue, which seems to have become my uniform along with my black skinnies. Last but not least, it’s the T-Shirt Dress in silver-grey, an easy maxi style that epitomises casual chic, and which also dresses up easily with some jewellery and an up-do.
What was the one baby product you couldn’t live without?
Not sure it’s a product, but a comfort blanket!
How do you juggle being such a successful career woman with family life, do you have a top tip for our mamas?
A strict timetable and knowing when to say ‘no’.
How easy is it to be an eco-friendly brand?
Not easy enough, but that’s the point. Our plight is very worrying, and the fast-growth shortcuts of capitalism that are destroying our earth are systemic, and hard to break. To step off that conveyor belt, you pretty much have to forge your own path, and as you can imagine it’s seldom smooth. The upside is that eco-awareness is at an all-time high, and people really are beginning to consider how their consumption choices will impact the world long-term.
Have you always been conscious of where your materials come from? It’s always so freshing to find a brand that creates such stunning ethically sourced and produced clothes. Where and how our materials are produced is a core consideration and was our starting point as a brand. The aesthetic application came second, thought it’s the balance of the two that’s crucial – if clothes aren’t desirable, then shining ethical credentials become moot.
What’s your favourite family recipe?
My mother’s dal and brown rice. I can make it, but it’s nowhere near as good, though my children don’t complain. It’s really comfort food, and the fact it happens to be very nutritious is a bonus.
Stars, stripes and hearts. Can we get a sneak-peek into the future?
We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise! What I will say is that stars, stripes and hearts are classic Chinti styles that won’t be going anywhere, though you can expect fresh takes on them, as well as some exciting new directions and collaborations come autumn.
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
I wouldn’t know where to begin!