ANNAFORA is a design company that creates high end and ready-to-wear attire for men, women and gender non-conforming individuals. Created out of a passion and love for fashion and art, ANNAFORA is a unique design label that embodies a multitude of inspirations from ancient cultures that are presented with a modern approach. At ANNAFORA we understand that every piece in an individual’s closet should be viewed as a venture into ingenuity and self-awareness.
The brands appeal originates from inspirations rooted in art, and a multitude of different styles of music and literature. The prestigious label is owned and operated by Maida Ghide, an autodidactic designer from Toronto. With a distinct and sultry sense of aesthetic she has shaped ANNAFORA to be a comprehensive representation of present times through fashion, and art.
House of Coco went behind the brand to find out more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
ANNAFORA was launched in 2012 as a platform for me to express myself creative through the means of fashion design. What started off a simple project to let lose my inhibitions and abilities, slow developed into the business that it is today. With support of my family, friends and community I was able to grow ANNAFORA with encouragement and constructive criticism.
Whats your background?
I am an Eritrean-Canadian, born and raised in Toronto, Canada.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
So far, ANNAFORA consists of an assistant director, one head seamstress, two working seamstresses and myself, the head director and creative director.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
If I could start my business over again, I would definitely take my time building the branding aspect in the beginning.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
As a creative person I used to find it very difficult understanding more left brain activities of maintaining a business, such as financials, marketing, advertising etc. But as time progressed, I found it imperative to seek mentorship and advice with regards those tasks. I can say that I still have very challenging moments, but I’ve learnt to grasp it well and have been moving forward ever since.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
One fact about me that not to many people know is that I gained all of my knowledge of fashion design on my own. Schooling was out of the picture for me once I realized the realities of the system. Having already been taught the basics by older Italian neighbors in my community, I went into my school with a little more experience than my classmates. My journey from then on, which lasted less than a month, was the least creatively stimulated I had felt since high school math class. I then came to the realization that being a designer is not something that can be taught. Design, in any direction, is a matter of opinion, in which the creator says, “I think it ought to look like this”. I do not create based on theory or what is in season, but simply based on where experience takes me.
2015 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
In 2015 I plan on bring the brand awareness deeper into Europe and East Asia. There is a niche market growing in these places that have a deep appreciation for raw, elemental, and futuristic designs. Although I draw a lot of inspiration from history, my end creation is always an evolved aesthetic, one that invites mankind to progress positively with the use nature.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The highlight since launching ANNAFORA would have to be the positive response I’ve gotten from friends, family, clients and customers. There seems to be a unanimous opinion, and it is that there is a uniqueness and tranquility to the brand that can’t be found anywhere else. With positive responses like these, I almost feel obligated to keep going.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Although I’m not really interested in the use of beauty products, I do occasionally like to dress up, which in that case I love MAC lipsticks, my favorite colour being Film Noir and Rosebud Strawberry Salve as a lip moisturizer. I also enjoy NARS blush because the pigments take well to my natural skin tone, as I am not a fan of foundation or bronzer.
Style means nothing without a unique personality. The use of “trend forecasting” and other mediums to get the most sales out of a collection has been the biggest focus in today’s market. It is hard for the individual to personally indentify with clothing that isn’t created to move with the direction of social, psychological, and physical changes of the present day society. When there is to much focus on giving the people what is already popular, creative growth is stifled and we find ourselves in a situation where very few have the means to actually be an individual.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
If I had to choose I would personally wear my heiress three-quarter-sleeve shirt. The cotton breathes so well, I feel free and weightless every time I put it on.
Favourite love song?
My favorite love song has to be The Temptations- My Girl. I’ve been singing it since I was a child, as a way to make me feel better when I’m feeling a bit down.
Best place for a coffee?
My favorite place for a coffee is at home. Being of East African descent, my family has a tradition of preparing our own roasted beans from Ethiopia and Eritrea and enjoying it together.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Existence is key, if you can exist the longest it doesn’t matter who in the industry is in favor of you or not. Continuing to exist inherently means that you are gaining the sustenance needed to survive, from anywhere between knowledge to a small income. Maintaining your place is a sign of strength, and with strength comes seniority and power.
My biggest guilty pleasure is macrons from the patisseries in Paris and a roll of Camembert cheese. During my time in Paris I can honestly say that these were the only things I was eating, and I loved it.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
If I could spend 24 hours anywhere in the world it would have to be in Dubai. I would love to be surrounded by the modern architecture and the culture that surrounds it.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
In the future ANNAFORA will become a sustainable parent company that not only houses its own manufacturing, but will take on very select young designers who passion and drive resemble my own.
Where can people find out more?
You can find out more about ANNAFORA at: