Alexa Chung originally launched her eponymous fashion brand in 2017. The model and designer has shared her advice for those wishing to start their own fashion label. Whilst it is definitely challenging, Alexa believes having a singular vision and goal can help to boost your creativity and allow you to put all of your energy into your brand and designs. Alexa’s advice ranges from how to align your team’s vision, to the importance of the financial side of the business.
Alexa entered the world of design after years of experience that began with modelling and presenting. Alexa had previous insight into the fashion industry, collaborating with brands such as Madewell and M&S and forging connections throughout her career.
Alexa emphasised the first step is to get your name out there, which is made easier by the rise of social media. Getting your work in front of possible collaborators, or an industry insider can allow you to get started with bringing your brand to life. When speaking to Vogue, Alexa adds that the London design world is more than happy to share information from fabric sources to factories and contacts. Making one contact can lead to other connections within the industry.
Alexa shared how she makes her business work in the changing world of fashion and how to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls.
Align your vision with your team
Ensuring your team are all working on the same projects and have the same goals in mind. This can be achieved with mood boards, something the ALEXACHUNG offices appear to be decorated with. Using reference garments from vintage stores can allow the team to visualise how the final garment might look. Film and music references can also allow the team to see the inspiration for the finalised collection.
Choose your name and first piece wisely
The first collection or design a brand puts out sets the tone for all future collections and allows customers to have an idea of what your brand is about and what to expect in the future. ALEXACHUNG launched with a trench coat, something Alexa felt symbolised the British roots of the brand and incorporated the masculine tailoring that was to be used throughout all collections.
The brand is named after Alexa, which comes with added pressure. News stories reported of financial losses for the brand in 2020 appeared to be referencing Alexa as a model and who she is personally as opposed to seeing the brand as an entity in itself. Despite this, Alexa is the muse and creative mind of the brand and having it named after her reinforces this idea.
Your online presence is your shop window
Brands no longer live in a retail space alone and sell more than just clothes. They are selling a lifestyle. Alexa’s brand has numerous social media accounts including Spotify. Having platforms to convey the inspiration behind a collection means the customer is investing in more than an item.
Be a great leader
Learning to delegate tasks that may not need your input, and not micromanaging is something Alexa said she found difficult. Freeing up your time to work on being the leader of the business, and not feeling the need to approve of everything, allows your team to work at their best and results in a better final product. Allow criticism of your work and do not have a constant eye on the competition. Produce the collections you want to create.
Alexa added that building your support network is critical to the success of your ideas as fashion is not an easy industry, Stella McCartney told her that, “fashion is not for the fainthearted.” This is something Alexa has found to be true.
Alexa closed her Vogue class with the reminder that “life is too short not to try.”