I guess my interest in textiles and fashion was inherited from both my grandmas. One had a wardrobe that brought me hours of dressing up fun, the other was an embroiderer at Balenciaga as well as an artist. It was probably not a surprise to them that I would become a fashion designer.
My introduction to the joys of Indian textiles was during my twelve years working for the British brand East. I got to travel to India extensively, working with iconic brands such as Anokhi, who introduced me to the wonders of block printing. I felt a connection to the country and its people from my first trip there, and I have always found it a never-ending source of creativity.
Even though there are lovely Indian textiles out there, I felt that there was an opportunity to collaborate with artisans to design collections that married their craft with other design aesthetics that I love from other parts of the world, such as Scandinavia and Japan.
On every holiday, much to my son's amusement, one of the first destinations on my list is the local market, the "real" local market. I hope for an invitation to observe some artisans showing their skills. After inevitably falling in love with a particular piece, part two is trying to figure out how to bring it home: a big armchair, mirrors, hand-painted cabinets...they have all been on journeys by train, bus, plane, you name it!
I feel privileged to have travelled the world for work, finding inspiration and learning from amazing craftsmen. I am looking forward to sharing some of their stories with you.
I hope you will enjoy the journey
Many of my friends suggested the brand should be named after me, but this didn’t feel right. I felt that somehow, the collaborative efforts between us and our artisan partners who have helped us bring these beautiful collections to you should be represented.
This shared process is reflected in our name ai·no·ah, which is a phonetic transcription of my full name “Ainhoa” (in case you are now wondering, it is a French Basque name).
The sound of the name is divided into recognisable parts that, pieced together, make up a whole - a little bit like our block prints, where one block lays over another to create a complete design. Equally, the artisans and their craft, our ethical and sustainable approach and our design process all come together to present the whole story to you.