We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Lownes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anna, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve always been a creative person. Growing up I took tons of art classes – pottery, drawing, jewelry making – and attended creative and performing arts camps in the summer. I loved to draw and do crafts, and often had pens and paper with me. I was always daydreaming and doodling in my notebooks during school. I remember all the kids in my class would ask me to draw things for their projects because I was good at it. Instead of being outside running around at recess, I’d stay in and help re-decorate the bulletin board. That’s just what I loved. Subjects like math never came easy or naturally to me – I got by in those subjects, but they weren’t what I cared about. I also grew up dancing and was always surrounded by a world of costumes and sets. Ballet has been a huge influence in my life. My mom is an interior designer and a fairly talented seamstress, so she used to help sew costumes for our productions. I also had an extensive Barbie collection and I was always cutting up their clothes to make them new and different outfits, or taking items from my own closet like scarves and finding a way to pin them into a dress on Barbie. Fashion was always a big part of my life, and I had subscriptions to just about every magazine. I’ve always been obsessed with stuff, clothing in particular. I even used to pore over catalogs we’d get in the mail. I’d tear out my favorite pages and keep binders of the ads and pictures that I loved. Some of those images still stick in my brain. As I got older, it became apparent how important it was to do something that I loved and was good at. I realized how difficult it was to make a career out of things that did not come naturally to me. I basically went to art school so I’d never have to do math again. In addition, I realized how fulfilling a creative career could be – I need creative challenges to feel stimulated. For a long time I was surrounded by creatives, but not really doing creative work myself. It took me a while, but I finally got there!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Styling wasn’t always my career. I moved to LA and kind of ended up starting my life over at 29. I went to school in New York and lived there for almost 11 years. I worked in the fashion world, but more on the admin side – it was hard to break into the creative when you really had no experience in that realm. I moved to LA with a different job, doing project management for a small apparel factory in DTLA. The job didn’t end up being a great fit, and I found myself 3 months into living in a totally new city, across the country from my friends and family, and unemployed. I panicked for a moment, but then saw it as an opportunity to really dive into whatever it was that I truly wanted to do. I was able to collect unemployment, so I babysat for extra cash and then did anything I could in the styling world – I interned, I assisted, I networked, I joined facebook groups, I asked all my friends for resources, I met with as many people as I could – and I also took a little time to just enjoy LA! I never moved here with the intention of becoming freelance, or thinking I would end up pursuing the career I had always wanted. I guess I was just kind of prepared to coast and see how things would go. I always wanted to do styling, I just never knew how to get there. Finally I felt like I was given this opportunity to see it through. After about a year, I was able to have enough gigs going that I could make freelance work. It can be scary at times because of the unpredictability, but I do find it rewarding that I get to do so many jobs, meet all kinds of people, and can essentially make my own schedule. It’s never dull, that’s for sure!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA’s just so gorgeous – that’s the fun of living here. Driving up the PCH and having a Malibu day is one of my favorite things ever. Never have a bad day in Malibu. Take a hike, sit on the beach, get some seafood on the drive home – that’s bliss. I also really love the party scene here so my friend might end up getting dragged to a warehouse party with me. I really enjoy going out and meeting new people, all the creative characters that LA is made up of. I know it’s very popular, but I love Davey Wayne’s and Oil Can Harry’s. The crowd is always really fun and oldies/disco is my favorite genre of music so it always hits all the right spots. Speaking of, a fellow stylist throws an ABBA Night every so often at Monty Bar. I love to dress up and dance my little heart out there. I can’t wait for that to come back. Rhonda is another really fun monthly party – you can really express yourself there. Our outdoor concert venues are top notch as well – I love seeing the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl or a concert at the Greek Theatre. And you can’t beat a weekend trip to Joshua Tree – there’s something kinda magical about the quiet, eerie vibe there. Sometimes I love being in the middle of nowhere. For me, LA is kind of about just enjoying life’s simple pleasures. The sun, the warmth, the ocean, driving with the windows down.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout could go to so many people – when I moved to LA and started my styling career, a lot of different people helped me out along the way. But my biggest mentor and supporter has got to be Lisa Cameron, a stylist who I started out interning for and now assist regularly. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. So many times, you’re afraid to ask your bosses questions because you don’t want to bother them or feel they don’t have time – Lisa never made me feel that way. Starting off in styling, I had so many questions. She always answered them all with patience and kindness. She’s helped me navigate so many aspects of this world and been especially helpful when I’ve done jobs on my own. She’s always so encouraging and she really believes in me. I get nervous sometimes! It’s so rare to feel that someone really has your back and that nothing is off limits. I value our relationship so much and really look up to her. She’s just such a gem of a person and such a great friend and mentor. I love you, Lisa !
All Vulkan photos: Vulkan/Photographer: Nicolas Bates Linsey Urrea: Photographer Raul Romo Armani Jackson: Photograper Hallo Smith