behind the scenes of alexandra hackett's promising menswear label a.l.c.h
Known for her innovative use of unconventional materials and unique design code, we speak to the designer as she prepares to take her label overseas.
Photography Jordan Drysdale
Since we spoke to Alexandra Louise Champion Hackett last year, she's continued to go from strength to strength and is poised to move overseas to take the label and her work to its next logical step. After impressing the industry during her graduate year and balancing her label with the workload of a fashion degree, we are excited about the future of men's sportswear in her hands.
You showed at VAMFF this year on the Emerging Designer Stage. How was the experience?
It was actually my second show. I did Spring Fashion Week of my graduate year where I showed the same pieces from the collection so it had a similar feel. A lot of my stuff is unpractical in a sense, especially for the runway, so there were a lot of challenges to get over. In general, I thought it was better than my experience at Spring Fashion Week because there were only 12 of us and there was a much bigger time span invested into what music and vibe we wanted. It's a pretty incredible experience because it cost an incredible amount of money to put on a show like that.
Have any other opportunities come out of it?
I had a few opportunities in the lead up, there was a lot of press and interviews for instance. I mean, I really went into it for the experience. I've sort of already got a path that I'm following and it was essentially like a stepping stone for me.
What have you been up to since then?
I've been working on a couple of capsule collections that I will be releasing separately. I've been working on the basis of a mini range, shooting it like an editorial and selling a couple of pieces from each shoot. That's how I'm approaching it rather than just doing a seasonal collection. I'm also doing the merch for Grey Marle Music. I've been working on a lot of collabs - working on one with a pretty big designer at the moment. Yeah, it'll be big. I'm really excited, it's like one of my favourite London based artist slash designers. It's a really good collab because it allows them to enter the Australian market and for me to enter the European market. I've also been making some garments for QT. I made a garment for the "#vaporfolk #digitalnaïve #hollyvoodoo." exhibition at Lust Gallery in Vienna and I'm moving to London.
Speaking of which, let's talk about your physical expansion overseas. What's in store for you when you move over there?
I'm going in mid July. I'm doing a collab with a British designer and I'm going to be in an exhibition in Vienna. I also want to expand into the European market and then the US market. There's also a lot of designers and studios over there that I'm really interested in gaining experience with. I think there're a lot more opportunities over there in creative and art direction, which I'm into.
I guess that will be good for the expansion of A.C.L.H. too.
I see it as a separate entity. I wouldn't really consider myself as having a fashion label or brand, it's more like I am the brand. Like I do a lot of different things under my name. I consider myself to be a creative practitioner. That's just one small facet of what I do which means I'm not glued to one place.
You've been making pieces for Drink QT, FLORIA XCII and for other musicians in the past. Are you drawn to working with musicians for any particular reason?
I think it's a variety of factors. I'm really into music and it's what I do in my spare time. I've developed a lot of friendships with people in that industry. I think a lot of my work is very visual and can add to performances on stage. I'm really into unorthodox developments in other industries. So for example with QT she works with PC music and they're just doing something really different in the industry at the moment. Like bringing in art to the industry when usually art is very segregated. It's like the age old debate of fashion and art…are they the same? It's the same with music and art.
You often work with unconventional materials. Can you tell us about anything new you've been playing around with recently?
Literally, right now I just got this huge four wheel drive campaign poster. The ones that they use as banners. It has all these pictures of four wheel drives on them and I'm making garments out of them. It's sort of become a defining factor in my work. I'm really interested in exploring the wearability of non-traditional textiles within apparel and accessory design, as well as the whole notion of the body as a product, and clothing as a form of product packaging. I'm also in the middle of making a raincoat out of transparent printed umbrella wet bags I collected whilst I was in New York.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My dream collab would be to work with Nike in some alternative creative format. But I also really like the challenge of working within different industries and with non-fashion brands. I especially enjoy collaborating with publications, so working with magazines like Masses, 032c, Congrats! etc. would be amazing.
Photograph Jordan Drysdale