In Conversation with Designer, Alexa Chapman
We had the chance to catch up with designer Alexa Chapman, who is known for her modern edgy cuts, chic minimalism and her attention to detail. Her modern design approach developed when she noticed a void while shopping for herself. Alexa believes music has the ability to bring so many together on an interpersonal level.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in between Nashville, Florida, and New York Did you study fashion?
I am self taught. I started my career in a totally different industry so when I decided to explore being a designer, I immersed myself in learning about construction, anatomy and pattern making. I watched endless Youtube videos and picked the brain of anyone with any kind of knowledge I could find who knew about sewing and construction!
Was there something else that you wanted to do before getting into fashion?
I was in the music industry on the business/ management side. I started a production company which grew quickly and while I loved working with artists and music, the music industry was going through so many changes and I realized I had never really explored anything else I might really love and could always go back to music. I really craved a more tactile connection with people What was your first job out of college?
A music production company I started called 8BarZ Music.
What inspired you or set you on your way to doing fashion design?
My journey began with the “Why?”. I didn’t realize the weight that question carried. Answering “why” required that I answer “How”, which ultimately wet in motion the beginning of my own brand. I wanted to understand why it was so hard to find pants that fit well and more importantly why they seemed to be universally restrictive. I love puzzles and figuring out why things work the way they do and how they can be improved upon. Did you work for intern or any other designer before having your own brand. If not what did you do before?
I worked at Helmut Lang working on clienteling and private events. It gave me a customer based view of the business which I still employ today—I always think about the customers needs before my own creative fantasies of how I think she should be dressing.
What designer have you looked up to or who is your favorite and why?
Haider Ackermann Who is the Alexa Chapman ideal woman?
That question is complicated as we don’t cater to one specific group of women. Our brand is for every type of woman (and some men who buy from us too!)—there is something for every age, shape, and lifestyle. I think the one thing that every one of our customers shares however is utilizing style as an expression of her strong sense of self and appreciation of attention to detail and a well made/constructed garments. She likes to challenge the norms and create her own identity of what sophistication means.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have an eclectic style. Is music something that you look to for inspiration?
I would have to say music. It is the one artistic medium in which I can always find inspiration. The way we experience music is both a deeply personal journey as well as the power of its unification. I find there are few other things that have the ability to bring so many together on such an interpersonal level. That to me is an amazing force and can think of no other place I’d want to start my creative process. Various types bring out different energies and in my area process. It is emotional and deeply connected with how I think through ideas and problem solve. What is your favorite part of being a designer?
That’s hard… I have many favorite parts! ….. Design is about creating solutions and solving problems as they arise. I love challenging myself.
What are some obstacles that you have encountered as a young/new designer?
Expressing my ideas verbally sometimes confuses others and sketching isn’t my strong point (to say the least). I think outside of the box and when it comes to garment construction, sometimes I have a hard time explaining ideas in my head any other way than by physically executing it. I am surrounded by people who posses the ability to make beautiful detailed sketches of designs they have in their head, seeing I am not one of them, for me everything is much more complex as I need to put myself in a certain mood and situation in order to create. Is presenting your collection on the runway something that you want to do in the near future?
What role do you think social media plays in fashion? is it an important tool for you?
I find ideas everywhere and like to expand on them in the design process. I see how big of an impact social media has on the fashion world and the importance it plays. I find it very interesting. It has created an entire new rule set to how brands operate presently and it is ever evolving how people become inspired, reach customers, and so much more. As a new brand, I am still figuring it out and hope for it to be a bigger and stronger part of my brand. How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
I am definitely not inspired by market trends. However, I do use market trends to reign myself, my ideas, thoughts, and designs in to a more cohesive collection. I am most inspired by human emotion and the condition in staying up to date.
What is in the future for Alexa Chapman?
I’m very excited with the current collection I am working on for F/W ’19. I have taken inspiration from silhouettes of 90’s hip hop trends.
To view more of Alexa Champan's work, see below.