Canadian Founder of Unisex label “AL.X” Alexandra Watson talks to XWHY about getting into fashion, living in London and guys in Calvins
So you’re not from around these ways are you?
I am from Waterloo, Ontario, a little University town outside Toronto. I graduated with a BA in Anthropology at Wilfrid Laurier, while teaching myself the intricate basics of sewing. I started designing and sewing my own pieces, and realised I wanted to see what kind of opportunity I could find in a bigger city. I left Canada for London two weeks after I graduated University. I actually applied for my UK visa without ever have visiting before hand! I craved adventure and I knew it was waiting for me in one of the world’s fashion capitals.
How have you found this fair city of ours since you arrived?
London is the most expensive city I’ve ever lived in. I tend to judge this based on how much a grocery store prices a jar of olives. Regardless, I love becoming more aware of different cultural practices around the world, and London has me constantly surprised at it’s interesting custard-focused traditions. It’s allowed me to refocus my designs and establish a network of people that support my business.
What’s your favourite spot in London?
My favourite spot in London is by far Tooting Market. Don’t tell anyone but it has the best fabric stalls,and authentic Indian jewelry. I love it for it’s authenticity and undiscovered quality. I know a guy that has the best septum nose rings, and grey jersey supply.
What do you miss most about Canada?
I miss Tim Hortons and my backyard ice skating rink! I plan to move to Canada in March 2016 to establish my brand in Montreal, Quebec. I can’t wait.
So you have a clothing line called Al.X, how do we go about pronouncing that?
I launched my own brand in 2015 working from the South London studio I share with my musical love, David of Dems. It’s printed as AL.X but pronounced as Alex. 🙂 We have a really creative space that works for band practice and sewing new creations! I’m sure my sewing machine will be featured in his new album.
Did you start AL.X prior to coming to the UK?
I launched my site in February 2015 while working in London. I’ve always been teaching myself new techniques, and really challenged myself when I quit my retail job and decided to start my own thing. I also did an internship with Luca Michele, working as their design studio assistant. I loved making patterns for their LFW show, that was a great learning experience! I also got a lot of experience doing bespoke custom designs for music artists. They want cool specific things, and I love helping them get it! I want to do more work with performers, it’s exhilarating making a one-off masterpiece!
You’ve gone for a unisex line, is this where you see all fashion heading in the future as gender lines become more fluid?
I love making oversized comfortable clothing that anybody can feel great in. I also love making adorable lacy things for women, so it’s a nice balance for the tomboy and inner princess in me. I love a relaxed look, that is achievable with just a couple of my unisex basics. One “samurai slice tank”, plus one “soy capp” and your set.
Outside of fashion what are your major passions?
In my free time I am exploring new cities, drinking rose and eating all of the avocados and hummus. Traveling is a huge inspiration for me. I want to sip soy cappuccinos, and peruse through fabric markets in every city I can. Eating and drinking in new cultures enriches my soul, driving me to create something completely exclusive to my perspective.
If you had to wear one designer/ brand from now for the rest of your life, who would it be?
I’m so obsessed with the brand Free People. It’s such a huge lifestyle inspiration for me.
What fashion tip would you give to all the men out there?
I think guys look incredible in silver rings. Ya, I like them in silver rings and Calvin boxers.
First thing you drink in the morning?
The first thing I drink in the morning is a soy capp!