Anet Abnous and one of her trademark scarves

Anet Abnous Creates a Legacy of Her Own

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LOS ANGELES — When I first met Anet Abnous, the founder of Anet’s Collection in 2018, she had already earned the title of “Scarf Lady” in the community, with her artistic scarves occupying valuable shelf space in many stores. She had also co-curated Manhattan’s first Armenian female art exhibition in 2007.

So, I carefully choose a cobalt-blue and raspberry-pink scarf by imagining her critique.

“You are a small-scarf woman then,” Abnous said, turning a keen professional eye to the effect.

During the last four years, Anet’s Collection has become a mainstay in more than 12 stores, including museum shops in the U.S. and a showroom in Europe. Recently she has expanded the brand  collection by going into jewelry, leather goods and other accessories.

Her passion for fashion started long before she immigrated from Iran to the United States with her family in 1996. Her father, Marcel Abnous, was a tailor in a province near Tehran and owned a suit factory, a business that he built from scratch.

During the apex of his career, the Islamic Revolution took place in 1978, and the factory was burned to the ground the revolutionaries. “No one was wearing a suit after the revolution. It was considered Western. I was only 4-5 years old but I remember all that,” said Anet Abnous.

Marcel Abnous and colleagues in Iran

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After losing the factory and laying off many of his employees, Marcel transformed the business into a fashion boutique where he sold women fashion pieces imported from neighboring countries.

“We all grew up in it. We did as much as we could, you know, as kids. I remember going to the bazaars to buy from wholesalers. I remember doing a lot of things with my mom to basically run the boutique. I was a very artsy kid. I loved drawing and I would always dream about doing fashion and probably taking over my parents’ business,” Abnous remembered.

That dream took her to the Al-Zahra University in Tehran to study fashion design. Anet remembers that she had to wear a headscarf and even gloves to cover her nail polish — very inconvenient especially during the hot summer days. As a graduation assignment, Abnous had to design a headscarf.

“And being of course influenced with all the Western fashion, I kept thinking ‘I came to school to study fashion. Why do I have to design headscarves?’ I hated the headscarf, you know, being covered all the time,” exclaimed Anet.

Ironically, years later, the scarf became her calling card for the world of fashion. When the Abnous family moved to New York in 1996, Marcel started to provide alteration services at Bergdorf Goodman, the iconic department store. Anet was adamant in continuing her career in the fashion industry but her father didn’t want her to go through all the hardship that he had gone through.

“I think, that he was also thinking about the ways he developed his business and how torturous it was, not realizing that in America it’s different,” said Anet.

Topics: Fashion
People: Anet Abnous

Anet eventually was accepted to the Queens College-CUNY and earned a degree in fine arts. In the meanwhile, she started to work in a hair salon in Manhattan as a color specialist. “It was creative, something close to fashion,” she adds.

In 2008, after successfully laying a foundation as an emerging artist, represented in art galleries in New York and Rhode Island, Anet with her family moved to Los Angeles to follow her dream in fashion. Here, she had her very first solo exhibition featuring paintings with mixed-media and acrylic. Later, these same artworks became Anet’s Collection’s best-selling scarfs.

Anet Abnous

“The one painting that I sold in the exhibition in 2007 has Armenian girls dancing on it with their hands up. So, I used that painting in a mill. I thought, it’s rectangle, like a frame. I used that as a base of the scarf and added Armenian letters using the colors from the painting all around it. Little did I know that it would become a hit product to this day! I sold more than 5,000 of those scarves. That scarf got me into retail stores. That scarf got me into doing collaborations and fundraising events with so many organizations, SOAR [Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief] being one of them. Just everything changed after that. Pretty soon I got the title of ‘Scarf Lady’ in the community,” said Abnous with a laugh.

Anet’s Collection didn’t stop here though. As a female owned and led business that positively impacts the community, Anet was selected to become a member of Female Founder Collective, founded by a renowned fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff. Very recently Abnous received a Women’s Entrepreneurship Certification from Cornell University through the Tory Burch Foundation Grant. This grant helped her to launch her jewelry and leather goods collections reflecting her Armenian heritage and history with unique designs and patterns.

Unfortunately, Marcel Abnous didn’t see her daughter succeed. He passed away before Anet’s Collection entered the market. “I wish he could see this,” Anet added emotionally, “He was the greatest influence in my life.”

To check out Abnous’ collection, visit https://anetscollection.com/

 

 

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