Aneau is a newly launched collection of quilts by creative director Anna Westcott in partnership with the Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti women's foundation in a rural village in the foothills of the Himalayas.
It started out very organically with Anna making quilts with her grandmother and gifting them to friends and family. Both her grandparents were tailors and a respect for tradition, art and quilting were instilled in Anna from an early age. Her first quilt, Swan Song, was made with her grandmother and mother, who taught her that the stories behind objects are just as interesting as the objects themselves.
With a long career under her belt working with fashion visionaries such as Hermès Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, Electric Feathers founder Leana Zuniga and creative director at Jac+Jack Patrick Blue, Anna relishes the slower, more considered approach she is taking with Aneau and prefers to spend time in the development phase rather than being fixed on a strict schedule of releasing collections.
We chat to Anna to find out more about this beautiful collection
How did Aneau start?
The seed of Aneau had been bubbling in the back of my brain for quite some time. When I moved back from New York I was in between work so had the luxury of spending time with my beautiful Grandma. She was mad about textiles and specifically making quilts for her nearest and dearest. She passed this love of the craft onto me. So I began making them for friends and friends' babies, so this is where the idea for the product was seeded.
In a broader sense, I’ve always wanted to branch out and start my own thing when the timing was right. I wanted to start a lifestyle brand so I could work across disciplines and have more of a holistic approach to making and not be confined.
What inspired you when designing these quilts?
I became obsessed – and still am - with seeing colour palettes and patterns in everything.
I spent a lot of time developing the colour stories firstly so created mood boards for each scheme/colourway. I then worked on the patterns which were inspired by shapes in architecture, nature and shifting forms fused together. I sketched for hours on end patterns on graph paper - I was inspired by this process in itself, it was very meditative.
The Eye quilt, which has been the most popular, I sketched whilst in the workroom with all the women, it kind of just poured out of me unconsciously. I think it’s always the way with design, the work you produce at the end of collections is always the strongest. Well. that’s my experience anyway…
Why did you partner with the women's collective in the Himalayas?
I had a broader vision and idea of where and who I wanted to partner with and then came across Purkal Stree Shakti. It unfolded really organically. I spent quite a bit of time working over there last year developing the product and more importantly developing long lasting relationships - I feel like I have another family there now. It's very special.
Purkal Stree Shakti translates to empowering women in Purkal Village. It is a program that helps rural women to become entrepreneurs through welfare support. This includes skill training, nutrition, healthcare, transport and a day care centre for their infants.
Are there plans to do other products besides quilts?
I’m working on developing and sampling new product right now across a few different categories which are super exciting! I’m working to my own cycle so spending a lot of time in development rather than being in a fixed schedule of collections. This underpins the approach of Aneau, a slower approach.
To see the collection, visit https://www.aneau.com