GTMS Life > May 24, 2021

Annabelle Charlier

When London-based Annabelle Charlier learned that a fashion industry colleague was moving to Philadelphia, she reminisced about how impactful her Montessori experience in Philadelphia had been when she and her family lived here from 1999-2001. That school was Greene Towne and her colleague’s family is new to our school community this year. Annabelle’s family came […]

When London-based Annabelle Charlier learned that a fashion industry colleague was moving to Philadelphia, she reminisced about how impactful her Montessori experience in Philadelphia had been when she and her family lived here from 1999-2001. That school was Greene Towne and her colleague’s family is new to our school community this year.

Annabelle’s family came to Philadelphia so that her father could attend Penn’s Wharton School of Business. Her parents were committed to providing Annabelle the opportunity to continue along her Montessori path, begun at a school in Belgium, and they found Greene Towne which Annabelle transferred to as a 4-year-old. 

We were delighted to reconnect with Annabelle recently and to hear about what she is doing now and her memories about Greene Towne. “I really cherish the years I spent at Greene Towne. I believe those were the most important years of my development. I remember Mrs. Kaminstein very well. I absolutely loved her. I also remember taking black and white photography classes after school which were fundamental to me in my creative development which has now become a career path as I do fashion design.”

The Charlier family returned to Europe in 2001, settling in eco-friendly Germany, where Annabelle’s upbringing and the cultural climate established a deep commitment to environmental consciousness. Born into a textile manufacturing family, Annabelle played with leftover rolls of defective fabric from an early age, developing a profound love for textiles. Disappointed by the clothing available in stores for her dolls, Annabelle used her creative spirit, self-taught skills, and familiarity with fabric to design and create her own doll clothes. As the years passed, she became more and more keenly aware of and sensitive to the unsustainability of the fashion industry. 

While studying fashion design at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, fellow alumni include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Stella McCartney, Annabelle interned at the haute-couture house Ralph & Russo and the young London-based start up Sadie Williams and also worked in a Saint Laurent boutique to better know the high-end fashion luxury customer. Today, Annabelle is a designer specializing in mixed media and alternative printed textiles for high-end fashion as well as embroidery. 

In addition to her own work, Annabelle works full-time at Richard Quinn studio in London. A young start-up with over 60 worldwide stores secured for its second season including Bergdorf Goodman, Net-à-Porter, and Dover Street Market, Richard Quinn is the first recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design and was honored to have the Queen sitting front row with Anna Wintour at its last show and has dressed both Beyoncé and Amal Clooney. When we caught up with Annabelle this summer, she was in the final weeks of preparing the Spring-Summer 2019 collection for presentation in London’s recent Fashion Week. Annabelle shared, “I have been in charge of many aspects of this collection so I am very excited to see it come to live on a runway!”

In all of her creative endeavors, Annabelle aims to challenge traditional textile processes in order to generate innovative solutions whilst maintaining her core aesthetic values: elegance and sophistication. Above all, Annabelle feels deeply that creating textiles and fashion lines of long-lasting quality and avoiding non-biodegradable materials over the manufacture of throw-away quantity is key. “The fashion industry is the second-most-polluting industry in the world. The artificial idea of “cheap” leaves us with a false economy and a destroyed planet.” Annabelle’s aspiration is “to build my own sustainable high-end fashion empire with new environmental solutions. This is why I am interested in gaining experience at a successful start up rather than an established house.”Check out Annabelle’s graduate work at annabellecharlier.design and on instagram: annabellecharlier  Richard Quinn on instagram: richardquinn1

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