After completing a tailoring apprenticeship at the Bavarian State Opera, Anja Rabes enrolled in Theatre Studies in Munich. She then was an assistant costume designer to Axel Manthey, Johannes Grützke and Anna Viebrock, and worked in a team with Jossi Wieler to create her own costumes. Rabes also worked on dance theatre productions with Verena Weiss and Carolyn Carlson.
Since 1994 she has collaborated regularly with directors Jossi Wieler and Stephan Kimmig, designing costumes for theatre and opera performances at the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin and the Salzburg Festival. In 2002 Anja Rabes designed the set and costumes for Wieler’s productions of 'Winter' by Jon Fosse and, in 2004, for Paul Claudel’s 'The Break of Noon' (which was invited to Berlin’s Theatertreffen festival). She created the costumes for the Mozart/Da Ponte cycle staged by Wieler/Morabito at The Amsterdam Music Theatre in 2006. Recently Rabes designed costumes for Stephan Kimmig’s productions of 'Mamma Medea' by Tom Lanoye and Schiller’s 'Mary Stuart'. In 2008 she designed the set and costumes for the world premiere of Elfriede Jelinek’s 'Rechnitz' at Munich’s Kammerspiele and, in 2009, for Samuel Beckett/Peter Handke in Salzburg (both directed by Jossi Wieler). Anja Rabes lives with her two children in Hamburg.