Design Team Interview
Posted on February 25 2021
We interviewed our design team to pick their brains a bit about our upcoming collection, Alice Alexander, and working in the fashion industry! Here's what they had to say:
What's your favorite piece from the new collection and why?
GENEVA: Donna is exciting to look at, but still approachable. It's going to be a great summer top for how light and breezy it feels.
ABBY: The Janis 2.0. I'm honestly a sucker for clothing that has volume with intent. Just enough swish to be sassy but not enough to slow you down. Also the pockets let me carry all the things I want and I could even probably hide snacks.
ITOHAN: The Donna. I love the drape detail and strong shoulder. Those elements combined with a soft knit fabric makes the Donna the ultimate piece to make a statement in and feel comfortable while doing it.
TY: It's the zippers and heavy top stitching details on the Sally Flight Suit for me. The shoulders of this are so perfect!! Additionally the silhouette is super gender neutral in my opinion so if you buy it be prepared to either share or hide it from your roommate/s and or partner/s.
How does your job description change with the new business model?
GENEVA: Now there's much more delegating to do, amongst the team and with new outside partners.
ABBY: I'm learning a lot more of the numbers around our grading rules. Since many of our patterns are going to a grader my job has been evolving to help translate what happens in the shop with the pattern to the grader for proper sizing. Where as before I was more of a cutter/sewer i'm now more of a grader/sewer. Along with my studio manager duties as well.
ITOHAN: When I first started working for Alice Alexander, my main priority was making items as quickly and efficiently as possible to get them into our customers' hands. Now with the business model changes, making our products is still one of my priorities but I now get to be more involved in the design, product development, and sourcing processes.
TY: Quite a bit and I am really enjoying it. I do get the chance to sew here in there with a samples but for the most part I have traded in a Juki for a laptop! I have been working mainly on the digital side of things like creating product mock ups and CADs for tech packs. Recently most of my time has gone towards creating new prints and I am totally falling in love with print design as a result. I am beyond grateful to be trusted to work on that part of the brand, really enjoying myself!!
How do Alice Alexander's values align with your own?
GENEVA: Respect for plus size customers and interest in what they think and want to see. Clothes that are high quality, comfortable, and fun all at once shouldn't be that hard to find.
ABBY: I believe in our heirloom piece mentality. I want to either wear this clothing piece to death across a decade, or wear it lightly and pass it down. I am really behind getting a good piece, made with intent and having it last even if it takes me a bit more saving to get my piece.
ITOHAN: Making high quality products for plus sized people, being mindful of the lifecycle for the clothing we make, paying workers a living wage.
TY: Two main things, Sustainability and Inclusive Design. First off, we really have no other option but to take the planet seriously because time is ticking and as an industry we are already late to the party. At Alice Alexander we are working towards approaching design as sustainably as possible. Next, while admittedly I am rather thin, as a very tall, long, and queer human I can identify with the struggle of finding clothes that both fit me and fit my personality. Seldom does that come in the same package. (Looking at you sleeve length of every blouse I have ever owned) I love that we are able to create pieces for a variety of body types that fit incredibly for both special occasions in addition to your favorite go to tee.
Are there design features we pay special attention to because we are size inclusive?
GENEVA: Fit-wise: bust, armhole, and bicep area. The rise of pants. Fabric-wise: We use fabrics that are durrible and resistat to pilling and stretching out. Silhouette-wise: we scale details, like waistband widths, hems, collar widths, and prints, to look great on larger bodies first.
ABBY: Versatility and specificity. Versatility because our pieces can be easily combined in multiple outfits. And specificity because everyone has that one trouble area that is a pain for them: the shoulder span on a jacket, the bust not closing, or just the sleeve being too tight. We keep those in mind when choosing how we make our pieces. Adding an inch here, a different fitting seam line there. We want you to be pleasantly surprised that you don't have your normal complaints.
ITOHAN: Being intentional about making our pieces easy to alter & tailor. Your body naturally changes and your clothes should be able to change with you.
TY: FIT FIT FIT!!! You cannot simply add an inch or two around the pattern when sizing up and expect a nicely tailored pieces. Our team knows how to cut patterns in a way that celebrates and accommodates curves.
What's a piece that you dream of making for Alice Alexander one day?
GENEVA: Sally has been a long time coming. The next dream is rib knit body suits!
ABBY: Straight leg trousers with good high hip and waist fit. Possibly a contrast yoke in the back of the pant.
ITOHAN: Definitely a 2 piece suit. I would also love for us to have the opportunity to make jeans
TY: My own secret agenda (Shhhhh!) is to to push for a Riot Grrrl-esque Capsule collection of sustainably sourced high quality leather moto jackets, a plethora of mixed plaid suiting and skirts and recycled deconstructed denim jackets and jeans. If you are into that kind of thing feel free to spam our Alice Alexander DMs with your favorite Bikini Kill songs until we all get our way.
What do you think makes Alice Alexander stand out?
GENEVA: As other inclusive, quality, fun, sustainable company's gain visibility, what stands out about Alice Alexander to me is the level of transparency, inside and out. That's refreshing. And it's truly the most humane and supportive company I've worked for.
ABBY: Caring about the end result. We really do try to adjust and grow with time. We want what you buy to be your favorite and for it to stand out in your closet. So we appreciate our customers being on the journey with us even if sometimes we have a bump. We're building the plane while were flying it- but it's finally looking like a plane!!
ITOHAN: Our ethos of making good products that fit multiple sizes well, our willingness to be open about our production process, and our customers.
TY: FIT, FABRIC AND CONSTRUCTION!!! Shout out to Geneva and Abby for being total pattern wizards! Shout out to Mary Alice for having an amazing eye and feel for fine fabrics! Looking forward to developing a strong graphic and print voice for the brand to really push our pieces further.
What celebrity/influencer do you dream of wearing our clothes? Let's manifest it!
GENEVA: Nicole Byer, Dulce Sloan, Maya Rudolph, Aidy Bryant
ABBY: Lizzo. I wanna see her slay in these duds.
ITOHAN: Solange & Achieng Agutu (@noordinarynoire)
TY: Jazzmyne Robbins, Lizzo, AOC, Megan Thee Stallion, Icon Ebonee Fierce
What do you hope to change in the fashion industry?
GENEVA: Government regulation to improve workers' rights and environmental impact of large scale companies.
ABBY: Mindfulness. Think about what you are wearing. Why do you wear it? Do you know where it came from?
ITOHAN: The mindset that things & people are disposable. The fashion industry has the power to be a positive influence but that power has been commonly used to exploit and negatively affect the people who make clothes, the people who buy them, and the environments that resources are taken from. It doesn’t need to be this way and it’s time for the companies that understand that good quality clothing can be made without exploiting people or the environment to be elevated
TY: 1) Adopt a circular economy 2) AmPlify, Promote and Pay (my own PPP plan) POC, Trans and Queer creatives and workers at every level of the industry. 3) Make gender irrelevant and expression paramount for literally every BODY!!!
As you can see, we have a great team here that's passionate and extremely talented! We are so looking forward to bringing you this amazing new collection and many more to come.
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