Annahmol, founded by Annah Chakola, is a brand that was born out of the founders’ love for creating eclectic pieces that narrate age old tales. The brand gives life to vintage finds and traditional craft ensuring livelihoods for local communities.
Annah’s is a story that is as fascinating as the products that she creates, not limiting herself to one sphere but free to explore wherever her creativity takes her. She takes us on a beautiful journey of nostalgia, imagination and creating a life of meaning.
(Annah Chakola, Founder of Annahmol)
I grew up in the small coastal town of Kochi, Kerala. It was a rather breezy childhood by the water, my father was truly a special person that filled our home with music, art and culture. Anyone with an artistic inclination that passed through our sleepy town somehow ended up at home. I'm going to claim that my father was the original biennale in Kochi. This gave us, a rather large view of the outside world, though I never left India till I was 17. My mother grew up in a military background, she was instrumental in showing me ways to be creative with food, etc without burning a hole in the pocket because she grew up with a military income. We had people passing through our house a lot, she had to whip up full meals in a minute. She made it look so effortless.
I don't recall really getting clothes from department stores growing up. We worked with a few tailors locally who would sew all our clothes from simplicity pattern books using deadstock from my father's soft furnishings store. Always unique! Looking back between these two opposite parenting styles, it could either have been one crazy show or you learn to take the best parts of it all and now looking back I think I took the positives in all of it.
I have always been acutely aware of the social hierarchy in India and I was very sensitive to it, I would have to say I started my upcycling journey with that looming over me. As I've gotten older I find myself laughing at times as I look into my storage closet full of glass bottles and empty pickle jars, etc. I'm reminded of my grandparents and how they used to save everything. Saving things like bottles actually inspires me to cook a lot so I can pass it on to my friends and clear space.
I moved to the US right after high school. Living alone in another country far from your family and that too moving at a vulnerable age of 17 leaves you a lot to figure out yourself and it teaches you to be resourceful and count your pennies. And... I discovered thrifting, garage and estate sale, my favourite thing to do. You see a whole world of used goods that are in perfect condition. I actually started my business initially by repurposing garage sale bits and bobs into jewelry.
Annahmol - the brand
Annahmol is a line of handcrafted jewelry, clothing, bags & accessories for the stylish and self-actualised woman. For each product, the stones and fabrics are carefully hand selected and each piece tells a unique story. By preserving the raw essence of vintage textiles and vibrational semi-precious stones, each piece is transformed into wearable art by artisans' hands whose traditional craftsmanship is preserved through sustainable partnerships with Annahmol.
I try to delve into my creative purpose through my creative process. It means meeting my needs for my work and personal life consciously without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. We do this by creating things that have a clear path from sourcing, production, the environmental effect all have a positive impact that can stand the test of time.
I like to live with a balance of old and new and it translates into my creative process a lot. I like to incorporate old narratives into contemporary pieces whether it be using antique pendants or with my small apparel collection which is 100% upcycled from saris. I love that a sari once worn by an aunty sometime way back when is now a dress waiting for its owner in some boutique in Portland, New York or Kochi. I love that intrigue. I don't like selling to be honest, so when I shoot, I like to weave beautiful tales through images and there is no better way to do it so easily than using pieces with their own stories. This way you are capturing a feeling more than just the product.
( Annah capturing a flatlay for Mothers Day )
Let's just say I'm that girl that stops at the side of a highway cause I see an interesting broken branch and now it's perched on my wall. I love playing with the idea of something that was made for a certain purpose being reused for something completely different.
It keeps things intriguing. It's in my blood. Can't shake it off!
The Drawing Room Project
The drawing room was the first project my partner and I did together and we realised we have beautiful synergy together. He thinks on a macro spacial level and I like to fill those spaces so it's really a perfect balance. The main structure was by pioneer Kerala architect Ramesh Tharakan, the vision and styling was done by us. I haven't taken up another project in a long time because of “Annahmol” but I have helped a lot of people transform their existing spaces into a more holistic space. I love doing that, working with what people already own and helping them shift a few things to bring about the energy. We don't realise how much energy we have been blocking just by how we place furniture or home accessories. I am now jonesing for a big fun project.. Anyone who wants to hire a wild maximalist for a restaurant project filled with upcycled and vintage treasure,
I'm your gal!
(Drawing room, Kochi)
Vision of the brand
I've been exploring a lot of ideas over the past year as to what direction I would like to go, being in quarantine of course has amplified this into high gear. My strength lies in connecting to small makers and giving them a platform based on the traditional skills they already have and build on that. Designer Vivienne Westwood once said, “In order to do anything original you have to build it on tradition.” I see the power in that. What I have not been able to convey in a fluid manner to my customers is the stories and people behind everything I do. It's a small artisan business through and through and I want to highlight these stories more through videos and interviews. I'm planning to spend just as much time doing this as I will creating. I want to explore working more in Kerala with our natural materials and grow at a very grassroots level with the existing structure to see where it takes me. I see Annahmol being more of a lifestyle brand, showcasing anything that intrigues me and not just stick to one lane.
Exciting times!Find Annahmol products here-