The skills for time-honored craft and a passion for design lie deep within Ani’s DNA. Her grandmother taught her the handwork to create a Bebilla, a traditional Armenian needle lace, at just age five. She began learning draping and patternmaking from her mother and aunts when she was seven.
For the past 20 years, Ani has transformed her heritage into a thriving career in the fashion industry as a designer and creative leader. She has worked closely with skilled artisans, tailors, textile artists, and developers worldwide, making many lasting friendships with her supply chain partners in the process.
She frequently traveled to India to work hands-on with makers throughout her career, and this gave her a profound respect for the intricate craftsmanship in the garment production process. On one of her early trips to a factory in India, she learned that one of the artisans, an 80-year-old man embroidering a jacket by hand (and foot), was the only surviving member of his community—and that the technique would be lost forever once he was gone.
His powerful story ignited Ani’s desire to collaborate more directly with the network of supply chain partners she had met over the years. In 2021, she established Mari and Fatou alongside her children Maryam and Fatimah as her way of passing down the craft of her maternal lineage and continuing the tradition of generations of women before her. The brand’s commitment to close-knit, small-batch production has created bonds with her production partners that extend beyond the factory—they’re part of the Mari and Fatou family.
Through this hands-on approach to creating beautiful, authentic products that last a lifetime, Ani is committed to building an ethical brand rooted in sustainable practices and, in turn, building community to bring about lasting change in the industry.
Mari & Fatou is Ani’s way of coming full circle, melding her family’s multi-generational traditions with her playful yet sophisticated design aesthetic.