On Thursday night, Julianne Hough helped her friend and stylist Anita Patrickson celebrate her new custom sandal brand Amanu, while Patrickson returned the favor by donating a portion of evening’s proceeds to Hough’s charity Love United.
“It’s our first fancy event,” giggled Hough. “Our first gala,” joked Patrickson.
They were joined by friends Abigail Spencer, Brooklyn Decker, Cassandra Grey, Samantha Ronson, Louise Roe, Fuschia Kate Sumner, Natasha Bedingfield, Nathan Turner and Hough’s husband Brooks Laich.
Patrickson, who hails from Kenya, introduced Hough and Laich to Africa, where the two vacationed in 2016 and honeymooned a year later. While there, they were inspired to create their nonprofit Love United, and decided to partner with Charity: Water to help build clean and sustainable drinking water wells there.
“We fell in love with the people, the environment, the whole way of life. We realized how grateful we are for the necessities that we have and we wanted to find a way to bring those basic resources to others,” said Hough.
She recalled interviewing Patrickson for the stylist job years ago. “One thing that made me want to work with her was her values and her viewpoint on fashion and that she doesn’t want to be wasteful. She is always coming up with new ideas on how to better serve our planet,” said Hough.
“Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil,” said Patrickson. “Even as a stylist, I have constant guilt because we are Fed Ex-ing boxes overnight all the time. I wanted to do something that was going to take away from the problem, not add to it.”
She had fallen in love with a pair of custom sandals she had made in Capri and decided to launch Amanu in Los Angeles to bring the same eco-conscious, high-touch experience directly to local consumers.
“We cut only the leather we need and we reduce chemicals from glues because we have cobblers making them with nails and brass tacks. Everyone is getting fitted so returns aren’t there, and every sole can be used collection after collection. We use vegetable dyes for the vachetta leather. There’s a long way to go, but there’s things off the starting block which I feel good about,” said Patrickson. “The great thing is people are getting exactly what they need rather than compromising on fit or color and it’s a great value [retail prices range from $160 to $275] because we cut out the middle man.”
She added that she’s working with a software company on fit station that will scan a customer’s foot so that a 3-D rendering can be stored to create repeat purchases.
As for the by-appointment studio at 605 North West Knoll Drive in West Hollywood, “We have the space until Septermber with the option to extend, and we’ve had several offers to do pop-ups in the Hamptons. Sydney would be cool, I’d love to do Capetown, and what I really want to do is pop-ups in safari lodges in Africa and train someone in the community. They could sell one or two shoes and that would help feed their family. I’d like to do that as a nonprofit branch giving back to my homeland.”
Patrickson also wanted customers to “have an emotional connection to the shoe and the cobbler.” Said Hough, “I feel like it brings back the fun of what fashion is supposed to be.”