After launching her brand in Manhattan, Anna McCraney returns to the south to help aspiring fashion designers make their dreams a reality.
Anna McCraney was the inaugural winner of Bravo’s Isaac Mizrahi “The Fashion Show.” The Savannah-based entrepreneur walked away with $125,000 in prize money and the clout that comes with beating some of the best fashion designers in the world. Additionally, her reality show victory propelled her into launching Blank Canvas Development, a five-year old company that helps anyone from aspiring entrepreneurs and designers to brides create custom apparel.
“I had my own line and had been working in fashion for nearly two decades. My store was on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. Then Hurricane Sandy devastated the business, so I started doing a lot of freelance pattern-making,” says McCraney. “I took on more and more work before I realized I was sitting on a goldmine of contacts and relationships with sewers and manufacturers. I’d been in New York for 18 years, so moving to Savannah was a challenge at first.”
As McCraney puts it, Blank Canvas Development happened organically. The company has grown quickly and helped launch the Birmingham, Alabama all-natural baby line Snuggle Me Organics, a bridal company with 52 stores in the southeast, Maison D’Olenzo, a boutique in Miami opening this Fall, and many other thriving fashion lines.
“We hold the client’s hand through the entire process. Sometimes all they’ll have at first are pictures of other apparel they like or hand-drawn ideas. We do the technical drawings and pattern the blueprint for the garment,” explains McCraney.
McCraney beams with pride as she explains that 100 percent of the sewers and manufacturers Blank Canvas Development works with are based here in the United States.
Ten years ago, Anna McCraney was the first to win Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” winning $125,000 to start her own brand and have her designs sold in retail. Now the Savannah-based entrepreneur runs her own company, Blank Canvas Development, where she guides others through fashion design and production.