Fashion: RACHELALEX interview
As the dust (and glitter) settles post-Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia, we talk to the emerging designers that have us excited for future fashion. Carol Bowditch had a chat to sisters doing it for themselves, Rachel and Alex, who create fantastic, modern garments as RACHELALEX:
How long have you been making clothes together? Do you remember your first creation as a duo?
We started collaborating in 2012 when Alex designed her graduate collection ‘Engineered Species’, Rach worked on the prints whilst living in London. Ever since then we’ve been collaborating our creative ideas.
Can you describe your working process? Do you collaborate with designs and patterns or do you split up the roles?
In the initial stages of our design process, Rach will start to design and formulate a basis for a print, whilst I will sketch and toile garments. From there, we see if the toiles and prints work together. Once we have finalised the design and fit, the prints are then engineered specifically to the garment. It’s actually quite a fun process bouncing ideas off one another and it is rewarding to see the final outcome.
Sisters are generally disagree a lot (I have two). Is this something that you encounter when creating, or is it generally a smooth process?
Yes! When we were younger we couldn’t stand to be in the same room without arguing. As our interests evolved, particularly in design, we grew up and the arguments slowly disappeared! Living in London, as well as travelling together certainly cemented this. Although every sister has their moments!
Where did you find inspiration for the prints featured in your MBFWA feature? And what inspires your work, generally, other than fashion?
Our SS14/15 collection, ‘Fractured Space’, is a high-end ready-to-wear collection, which depicts our vision of wandering freely through the spatial realms of museums and gallery environments, viewing aspects that would often be overlooked. Asymmetric and symmetric engineered digital prints compliment bonded silks to enhance the female form. We are inspired by anything and everything, from architecture, unusual tactile surfaces, a song or an interesting phrase written in a book.
How did you get involved with MBFWA this year?
We applied for the New Generation MBFWA late last year whilst we were on the move from London to Sydney. Honestly, it was such a surprise when we received the phone call informing us we would be showing. It was such an honour and valuable experience for us to show our first collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia!
Was it stressful showcasing at such a highly regarded event?
Due to us showing in a group show with several other designers, the whole event was so well organised and executed that our main concern prior to the show were the fittings and finalising all looks were complete and looked coherent in their running order.
What tunes do you listen to when you are designing?
We love to mix it up depending on our mood. We have currently had Purity Ring on repeat (Fineshrine was our show song) as well as Chet Faker and Band of Horses. When it comes to the early hours of the morning, some old school RnB gets us through – we love a bit of Snoop.
What are your plans for the future? Long-term and short-term?
In the short-term, our focus is to consolidate relationships with Australian and International retailers for this season. We have had a lot of interest so far from the overseas market, which is incredibly exciting for our label. In a few years down the track, we would love the opportunity to branch out internationally. Last year we were invited to show at the Prêt-a-Porter Paris Trade Show in July and that whole experience opened our eyes to the international market place and how valuable it is for emerging designers to strengthen relationships with media, buyers and manufacturers from a global perspective.
You can keep up to date with everything RACHELALEX have got going on at their website.
RachelAlex interview by Carol Bowditch.