Monday, February 5, 2018

Why Alexa Chung's New Label is One to Watch

British writer, model, host, and designer Alexa Chung launched her very own fashion label in May of last year. The label's nameALEXACHUNGis particularly fitting not only because...well, it's the designer's name...but because every piece looks like something that could've been pulled right out of Chung's own closet.

Fashion fans have viewed Chung as a style icon for years nowamidst her many career feats, she's always been an "It girl" known for her grungy yet sophisticatedly British style. Because of this, it's safe to say that much of the fashion world knows and understands her aesthetic, and her collection proves that there's a market for those who'd like to dress like her.

These people can try to mix girly and eclectic pieces to recreate her style, but nobody can do it better than Chung, who has evolved and refined her style throughout the years in a way that's allowed her to master it to a tee. She has something unique and uncopyable: a trademark aesthetic and an ability to radiate it in anything she wears. Her consistency in this, even amidst personal style evolution, backed by years and years of curation and experimentation, gives Chung her own tool belt and compass for navigating the industry. And now she's using these tools to bring brand new, self-styled pieces directly to consumers!

In fact, the ALEXACHUNG brand is possibly the most visible connection of personal aesthetic to professional creation the fashion industry has seen in some time. The "girl" the ALEXACHUNG brand seems to design for is very much reflective of Chung herself: eclectic and grungy yet girly and classic, always with a bit of British flare. 

Her debut collection for the brand (Pre-Fall 2017) exhibited a beautifully exciting mix of these accents in a way Chung has mastered better than anyone: she paired knit collared shirts with leather mini skirts, a floral dress with sparkly platform boots, and graphic t-shirts with the words "Screw You" across the front paired with flats and midi-length denim skirts.
Chung is knocking it out of the park. The debut collection was amazing, and the Resort 2018 collection that just dropped is a strong continuation of the established aesthetic. 

It'll be interesting to see where this conceptualization approach leads the brand in the future, though...what's the longevity of a brand based so closely off a designer's personal style?

Although Chung isn't obligated to show during every season of the fashion calendar, could the brand keep up with the demand to constantly pump out new merchandise? Chung has taken on a new role in which she must consciously channel her personal clothing preferences into a collection of new will this affect the expression of her own personal style?

While it's interesting to anticipate the future of ALEXACHUNG, something tells me that Chung is going to provide answers that will make us wonder why we even questioned her in the first place. She has no reason not to show us exactly what she can do, which, with her 18 years of witnessing the industry from the inside, might turn out to be much more than we think. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

If You Could Assemble Your Dream Style Tribe, Who Would You Include?

Last month, published an article detailing streetwear's migration from a trend-focused sphere to a tribe-focused sphere. Writer Emily Farra claimed that 2017 street style became less about any particular piece(s) and more about embracing the "lifestyle" accompanying said pieces. The biggest street style stars picked their favorite trends and pledged allegiance to a tribe, whether it be the print lovers, "the suits,"  or the "less-is-more dressers."

I know this isn't necessarily what Farra meant, but the term "tribe" in relation to fashion made me think about who I would choose if I were to assemble my very own army of style powerhouses. There's something quite intriguing about that reminds me of my dad trying to collect all the best players for his fantasy golf team. Now I'm thinking about what my team would look like...whose style has influenced me over the years? What would happen if I could round them all up for one day of together-ness? One powerful walk down the street? One iconic photoshoot?

In no particular order:

1) Michael Jackson from the early 80s
Best piece: Red jacket
Skills: Ability to bring clothing to life through dance and performance
The Thriller video was the first video I had ever watched on YouTube and Michael's red jacket (as well as the similar jacket in the Beat It video) was the first fashion item I truly lusted over. I would dream about wearing it to the barber shop with my dad, and it seemed to represent power and confidence.

2) Sara Paxton as Aquamarine
Best piece: Blue highlights
Skills: Innovation, leadership, fearlessness, mystery
Because Aquamarine was my favorite movie growing up, I saw Aquamarine as the ultimate dream girl for a solid chunk of my life. Not only did her dual identity as half mermaid, half human lend an aura of mischief to her character that was palpable in whatever she wore, but she also managed to make anything seem exotic and beautiful. She styled a blue t-shirt as a dress 4 different ways and created her Last Splash #lewk by ripping the sleeves off a vintage costume dress.

3) Every girl who has ever closed a Giambattista Valli couture show
Best piece: TULLE GOWNS!
Skills: Consistency in delivery of jaw-dropping drama

4) Leandra Medine, founder, CEO, and EIC of Man Repeller
Best piece: Endless supply of sunglasses
Skills: Understands fashion as a nuanced concept with no rules
I physically can't talk about fashion or writing or the joys of life in general without referencing Leandra. She's brought a completely new element to the industry by conceptualizing fashion and the human interest in it in such a unique way, and she'll always be my biggest inspiration career-wise. She saw a gap in an industry she loved--a humorous-yet-intelligent-and-honest-writer sized gap--and filled it with grace, innovation, and creativity. I'll join any tribe she's part of. (Photo by Krista Anna Lewis, btw!!)

5) Aurora in the last scene of Sleeping Beauty
Best piece: THE COLOR-CHANGING DRESS! Her dress changed from blue to pink and back again as her fairy friends argued over which color looked best.
Skills: Ability to dance freely despite her dress continually changing color

6) Alexa Chung
Best piece: Grunge haircut and black eyeliner
Skills: Master of eclectic and grungy style with a constant presence of British sophistication, has used this aesthetic to pump out three incredible collections for her own label, ALEXACHUNG

7) TLC from the 90s
Best piece: Baggy pants with crop tops
Skills: Impeccable execution of baggy-cool aesthetic; unwavering commitment to the art of group outfit coordination

8) Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Best piece: Met Gala outfits in 2013 (Ashley in vintage Dior, Mary-Kate in vintage Chanel), 2016, and 2017
Skills: Small yet mighty; masters of messy blonde waves, smoky eyes, long coats, and piercing stares

9) A leopard or two
Honestly, I'd be thrilled if a leopard or two or three or four would be willing to join. They're born with a statement coat that unites them with a built-in tribe all around the world. Humans are out here working tirelessly to recreate leopard print into fabrics and textiles while these cats are stunting every day in a look that's uniquely theirs. It'd be an honor to walk alongside them (can you imagine, I don't know, each member of TLC walking a leopard?).

10) Grace Kelly in her wedding dress from her marriage to Prince Rainer
I believe that each outfit we wear can create a different version of ourselves, for better or for worse. To me, this version of Grace Kelly in her wedding dress radiates grace and elegance.

I guess I'll stop at a nice, even, double-digit number, even though I could go on and on all day. Who would you make sure to include in your own style tribe? I'd love to know! Feel free to comment down below and keep this wonderfully ideal fantasy going. Ever since I've started thinking about it, it's been difficult to stop, and I want to infect someone else.
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