‘Armchair’ nostalgia’, a term coined by anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, refers to the fondness we feel for things that never were, or things we’ve certainly never experienced. It’s also what served as the departure point for Parsons MFA Fashion Design and Society graduate Annaliese Griffith-Jones, a designer who seeks to playfully “distort memories through objects, creating something unusual.” Rich with universally ‘nostalgic’ motifs like wallpaper prints, and familiar silhouettes, her work serves as an abstracted tribute to the decor of her grandparents’ house, as well as to the 1960s and ‘70s, eras that passed long before the designer’s birth.
When it comes to how her design journey started, however, her memories are more concrete. “I’ve been designing as far back as I can remember, I must have been absolutely tiny when I started. My notepad was fluffy pink and my designs were absolutely abhorrent!’ laughs Annaliese. Years later, ‘abhorrent’ is no longer a word with which you’d think to label her work; though you might argue some of that notepad’s joyful kitsch lives on in the eclectic, bright patterns that distinguish her designs.
“Being in an environment like New York allowed me to really experiment; there were no restrictions placed on me or what I was supposed to be. I could take more risks and keep things playful.”