It may have taken three years but Alexa Chung is finally where she belongs: at the helm of her eponymous clothing line. The Brit It girl has played the role of muse and fashion collaborator many a time—the names Mulberry, Madewell, AG Jeans, and Superga spring to mind—but this year marks her long-awaited debut into the realm of design.
Like Alexa herself, ALEXACHUNG (the label) is absolutely covetable and utterly It girl-worthy—think Parisian chic with a New York edge, and a very British sense of humour; a combination of prim and proper and rock ‘n’ roll that’s inspired by everyone from Jane Birkin to David Bowie, George Harrison, and David Hockney.
Below, Alexa shares with L’Officiel Russia her unfiltered views on It girls, the future of fashion, and taking charge of your own destiny.
Congratulations on your new label. Why did you decide to do this and why now?
I was quite satisfied with the collaborations I’ve done in the past. It’s much easier; you don’t need to think about production, business processes—you can simply focus on the creative aspect. But I decided that it was finally time for me to take on a new challenge.
Which of your past collaborations were the most successful?
It’s hard to say. The Madewell collection sold out in a day; my collab with AG Jeans also went very well; Marks & Spencer too—the black trench even had a waiting list. For Madewell, it was my first experience in design; I was 26 years old and I got to work with Eugene Kim, a talented designer. That is something I’ll always remember.
Let’s hear your elevator pitch for the new collection.
I would say that it is an eclectic collection with the spirit of fun and perhaps with a touch of humor. It is the quintessence of British design—raincoats, jumpers—and had the influence of different musical styles such as rock’n’roll.
If you could only buy five items from your first collection, what would they be?
The blue suit, George Harrison sweater, white denim, beige trench, and summer flower dress.
Who is your ideal client?
Brands usually envision a particular type of woman as their clients but not me. I would be delighted to see teenagers and women over 60 wearing my clothes. I don’t not know yet who my ideal client is but she’s definitely someone cool.
What do you think about the ‘It girl’ phenomenon?
I can understand where the critics are coming from. It must be difficult to watch people achieve overnight success when others have had to work long and hard just to prove themselves. But you should never judge a book by its cover. Anyone can have talent, regardless of past merit or experience. Take for example Paul Smith; before becoming a designer he worked in a store, made T-shirts, and sold them to skaters. Now he has a very successful business eventhough he doesn’t have the training as someone such as Karl Lagerfeld.
Do you feel like you have to constantly prove the seriousness of your intentions in this business?
Yes. I often use humour as a defense mechanism but I’m not going to prove anything to anyone. I will be sympathetic to different opinions but I’ve never placed much importance to what others think of me because I can’t influence it in any way.
Some people might look at your social media profile and think “Why her and not me?”
Maybe they just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. You just need to be prepared to work very hard; no one has achieved anything without hard work and taking risks. Even pop stars can’t succeed without taking the next step and seizing the opportunity when it presents itself.