What I love most about Annakim – even more than the exterior of her purple-painted arts and crafts bungalow in East LA, her violet hair that she dyed to match her vintage Mongolian fur, and her effortless elegance in a black and white ’40s silk gown – is the way that her outer expression directly reflects her interior world. She shares both entities magnanimously and freely. “If you want to see something, you have to start talking about it,” is the motto she lives by, whether the occasion is collaborating with us, making music or creating one of the many art projects she gives of herself to. Life is a cause for Annakim: “Everyone has freedom of choice, nobody controls another person, and I feel like it shouldn’t be someone else’s responsibility how I dress.” When she comes across people that assume she’s never felt pain because of her joie de vivre, her response is, “Pain and joy, they’re no different to me. You can euphorically be scared or happy, and it feels almost like an identical place… my eyes, whenever I laugh, always seem to cry.”
Annakim grew up traveling and, as a result, does not consider herself part of one world. To her, every person is so unique and connected at the same time that whether you’re part of a cult, in a family or married, there is the potential to have a twin or soulmate in any part of the world, no matter their seeming disparaties. As she puts it, “You can take people that are in diifferent places in the world, [who] have never met, and have a collective that could be so similar that it’s terrifying, yet their experiences are completely distinct from the people around them.” Dressing up every day is a meaningful ritual for Annakim, even if she is just an ornament in her own house. “Music is like liquid, and I feel like clothing should be more like music. It’s like a song that you love. It shouldn’t be about something that’s trying to fit in or out of the world. It should be something that’s bringing people closer to the world… it’s one of those things where it makes me not take life so seriously. I feel like clothing should be the opposite of anxiety.” We live in a society that is very addictive, she continues, “I feel like the only way I can really relate to people is to get past all of the labels. Is this person college-educated or not, sober or not, do they know fashion or not?” Instead, Annakim concerns herself with figuring out why we’re illuminated here when people are being bombed all over the world. “Every person has earned the right by being born onto this planet to be a part of it. So if you can start from that cave level, then I can hold a conversation with somebody,” she says, “We’ve all come from a whole place of viewing people on a level that has always been deeper than our current surroundings.”
Annakim has a room dedicated to her closet, filled with clothes and beautiful things that reveal her passionate world. Passion itself is her inspiration. Her friends’ closets make her heart skip a beat and she is fascinated by how people view their strengths and their weaknesses in their sartorial armor, as well as the memories that their belongings conjure up. She pulled out a printed multi-colored Alexander McQueen dress from the bottom of a mound of eclectically patterned fabrics, not because it’s a known brand, but in an effort to explain her zeal for rainbows. The colorful rainbow apparition is fascinatingly vivid, but also a manifestation of storm clouds and clashes. Annakim explains that from one’s macabre side comes rebirth: “It’s like Day of the Dead or one of these festivals where they celebrate that actual death brings on this huge rainbow of rebirth. The looping reminds me that I can’t take myself too seriously or the world too seriously…I can’t be afraid of change.” Similarly, her cobweb dress reminds her of all the things that she loves about living in Los Angeles and the insane pieces that you know had to have belonged to somebody that you would have loved to hang out with, but you’re never going to meet. “So it’s not vintage in the sense of like retrolicious, it’s vintage in the sense that I feel like it’s reborn.”
Whether in her rastafarian vampire cape and an astounding pair of psychedelic glam ’70s boots, both made by the artist Summer Harrison, or her Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs bedsheet dress with a butterfly necklace that has the gravitas of something science-fi and delicate simultaneously, Annakim has been both lauded for her “outlandish” dress and denounced for her androgyny. What she takes from these various assumptions is the craziness of it all – there’s an entire society of women who aren’t allowed to show their faces without incurring violence, yet people choose to discuss her clothing choices. For Annakim, androgyny is not about driving a wedge between people, but rather about shedding light on duality and bringing people together. Vaguely resembling Ziggy Stardust in both her handsome and fragile beauty with sparkles scattered across her face, Annakim sees the turmoil of Bowie’s fantastically beautiful character as a beacon of hope for humanity, calling people to attempt to understand those that might seem falsely foreign to us. Annakim is interested in a certain detachment that stems from beauty – to her, it’s more than just lighting and retouching.
Annakim feels that hatred comes from the same place as love, just as a treasured, cheerful hot pink ’80s Betsey Johnson gun-print dress makes you consider the fact that we live in a gun-permissive country. Furthermore, darkness and humor are not negative energy for her. She adores Rodarte’s blood dresses for their politically incorrect and intricately classical yet futuristic beauty. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was given to Annakim as a child, and she’s adapted the story as a template for her life. “People are always trying to go by this very rational harsh thinking, but it’s so detached and it’s not pragmatic eventually. It doesn’t ever lead to the circumstances that we’re seeing next.” So open your eyes and put on an embroidered ’20s tulle dress with Grecian Prada sandals, like Annakim does to get coffee and join in on her rant, or what she refers to as her creepy automatic poetry. “Aaaahh, to be a kid again and honor everything as a verb,” Annakim says. “Keep moving like a shark so that you won’t get eaten, you can actually make what you want in the world… we are jaded to think there is nothing original anymore… there’s so much that hasn’t been done, and that doesn’t mean regret, that just means you can start anywhere.”