Fashion folk who have been in the game long enough will know of Lucas Nascimento. The Brazilian-born designer graduated with a degree in Fashion Design for Knitwear from London College of Fashion in 2008, and was quickly picked up by the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN scheme. His collections that showed during London Fashion Week, received critical acclaim: a review by Jessica Bumpus stated that he "has a particularly concise point of view when it comes to his clothes – there's a fuss-free feel to them, even though in actual fact, they're comprised of innovative layers and experimentations." 

Fast forward to 2021 and the knitwear aficionado – who'd spent the last few years consulting for the likes of Ports 1961, Roksanda and Emilio Pucci – is back with a new venture. AN-NA is the result of a joint effort from Nascimento and his partner Antonio Cordedda, who've branched out from the usual fashion business model and are making their knitwear by their own rules. Intrigued to find out more, Editor-in-Chief, Caroline Issa asked Nascimento to spill the beans on his new label. 

After having your own brand, giving that up and then doing a few years of behind-the-scenes consulting, what made you take the leap to start a new knitwear brand?
I’m extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work with incredible people and businesses over the years, from small independent brands to large scale luxury houses. I feel the additional knowledge and experience I have learned is invaluable and has given me the confidence and excitement to work on a smaller project with a more human pace. 

What was it about these styles and shapes and the unisex approach that felt right for this moment?
The beauty of these styles and shapes is how they gave us the opportunity to really focus out on the engineering and fit – something we know the right people will absolutely love – and make beautiful things for everyone. 

Everything in the collection is super versatile; we made a point of using the same samples on all the different models – irrelevant of age, gender or size – to show how fun styling them differently can be. These are pieces you can wear so many different ways and never get bored of. They are designed to be lifelong favourite pieces. 

Can you tell us more about your partner Antonio in this project?Professionally, Antonio comes from a high-fashion background (Gucci, Mulberry, Michael Kors) but he has a profoundly bold, artistic sensibility that really reflects his ethnically diverse personal background and upbringing.  Naturally we each work to our specific skill sets – Antonio really shines with the branding, marketing and operations stuff while I lead on design – but we share the same passion for detail, and we share the workload of running a brand 50/50.

How often do you want to drop new products? What's your approach to delivering new or updated pieces in an age of too much stuff? Will you only sell via your website or do you want to go into wholesale as well? 
We think there’s a natural human pace to newness, and in our case, running a business just the two of us, we take our time to get everything exactly right, for ourselves and of course for our customers. 

We will keep producing small batches with a controlled number of styles, two or three times a year, at the very utmost. It’s important to us that our customers know that they are paying for beautiful, high-quality garments, designed and made with love, and not the machinery around a fast-paced brand that sucks value out of the garments themselves. 

We want people to invest in things they love, then care for them so they last a lifetime. In this day and age, it’s a personal approach and a genuine connection that builds trust in a brand, so we are going to continue to sell directly to customers so we can maintain that rapport and integrity. 

Maybe one day we’ll go into wholesale, but at the moment we’re really happy keeping it personal. 

Can you tell us about the Merino wool you use and what made you use this raw material specifically?
Right from the start, we were looking at the fundamentals of knitwear - what was missing and how it could be made better. With years of knitwear experience, I knew that our collection had to be made from pure, undiluted, 100% Extra-fine Merino Wool because it just sings when it’s used well. 

For anyone who has doubts or misconceptions about wool, our garments prove that knitwear can feel incredibly delicate and soft against the skin, breathe beautifully in different climates and add the most compelling, contemporary, luxurious texture to any look. 

Shop AN-NA knits here.

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