ANEAU is a newly launched collection of quilts, made in collaboration with Purkal Stree Shakti Samiti (PSSS), a women’s foundation in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. PSSS is a program that helps women in the rural community become entrepreneurs by teaching them to make handmade quilts and textiles. It also provides the women with nutrition, healthcare, transport and a day care centre for their children.
ANEAU’s first collection (available from its online store) is a small range of quilts for the bedroom, bathroom and nursery. Quilt designs are a mix of colourful and bold geometric patterns with pastel colourways and patterned appliqués. The colour pairings used are unexpected; it’s no surprise to learn that the creative director of the brand, Anna Westcott, is also a fashion-design consultant who has worked with brands such as YEVU and Electric Feathers, and with industry leaders such as Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski (the current creative director at Hermès) and Pat Blue of Jac+ Jack.
“I was working for a while in New York and when I came back I was in between jobs and had the luxury of spending time with my beautiful grandma,” says Westcott. “She was mad about textiles and loved making quilts for her nearest and dearest – she passed this love of the craft onto me. I began making them for friends and friends’ babies.”
The name ANEAU is an amalgamation of her and her grandparents’ initials, and in French anneau means “ring” – a reference to the group of women in her family as well as the circle of women in PSSS collective.
The quilts are designed in Sydney, and Westcott works at an easy pace, preferring to spend time in the development phase rather than being on a fixed schedule of collections. “I wanted to start a lifestyle brand so I could work across disciplines and have more of a holistic approach to making – to not be confined by a singular path. With ANEAU I knew I wanted to take slower, considered choices; the brand is as much about the product as it is about exploring the sequence of stories that weave us together.”