One of the things I love about being an expat is the diverse group of people you meet along your journey. Sometimes you wonder how you could have ever not met some people, and their impact can be quite profound. This normally happens to me when I come across people who I have made a major life career change, or those who have seen a gap in the market and have just gone for it. Alex Black is one of those people. She is a driven, creative, busy woman who knows her market and has filled the niche perfectly, I am thrilled to be showcasing her today.
Hi Alex thanks for chatting with me today, How would you describe your brand?
I’d describe it as future classics – my aim is for the dresses to be affordable, yet luxurious, wardrobe essentials that will transcend fashion trends and be your go to dress for years. The cotton is of a quality that will last for many seasons and they are finished to the highest possible standard – subtleties like French seams make them look as beautiful on the inside as they do on the outside, but more importantly, they feel amazing to wear because the seams are smooth against the skin. To me, clothes can’t only look good, they have to feel wonderful too.
Can you tell me more about the process involved, how do you produce and distribute your range?
I am hoping to establish a signature dress and also to update the classic shirt dress look. Every time I start to sketch, I think, is this classic? Is this simple? Is this chic? I work with a very specific cotton supplier because I know that they provide the finest possible cottons (they provide the fabric for Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren) and I work within a particular range of their fabrics that are the weight of cotton that I want to use for the dresses. Sometimes the fabric comes first, other times the sketch comes first and then I seek the right fabric. Now as I have found a cut that my customers like (that took months and months of honing and tailoring!) I’ll keep the same silhouette and change the details and fabric – I intend to add a one design each season, but mostly it will be producing the same styles in different fabrics. I’m selling through a number of shops in Hong Kong and on my own website and one other.
Do you feel like you have to be the face of your brand?
It might be hard to believe (given I used my own name for my brand), but I really don’t like bringing attention to myself. But when I couldn’t think of a name for the brand that didn’t sound cheesy, I decided to use my own name – there’s really nowhere to hide now! My thinking was that it was honest and straightforward, plus it’s a unisex name that is quite easily translatable across different languages, so it worked on a practical level. However, I do also feel that I have to be the face of my brand because it’s not a blatantly commercial brand selling only things that would appeal to the mass market – my collection is comprised only of designs that I love and I hope my customer will trust my aesthetic, my production values and ethics and know that many hours have been spent by me personally agonizing over small details to make the products right.
If you could choose a celebrity spokesmodel, who would you choose?
What memorable responses have you had to your range?
“My husband loves the dress” (I hear this all the time) “the dress makes me feel well put together, comfortable, stylish and most importantly confident.” “I can’t believe that so many different figures look so amazing in the dresses” “they will help even the most style-challenged woman to achieve an effortlessly stylish look, that moves easily from day to evening, from work to weekend.” “Prices for the dresses range from HK$1,550 to HK$1,800, which means that you can buy more than one without breaking the bank.”
Where would you like to see your label go from here?
I would like to see my dresses in three shops in each major city throughout the world.
What food, drink, song inspires you?
I adore Japanese food and I love a good Bordeaux. I’m very extreme about music, I love music, but I like to work in the quiet because when there is music on I am distracted by it, so the outcome is that I only really listen to music in the car or in the evening. I love hearing new music – so I love it when friends introduce me to new bands.
What superpower would you have and why?
I’d like to be able to fly. It think it would feel amazing to glide high above the earth and I’d love to be able to jet off to anywhere I wanted to in an instant.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You need a passion for your product, know your point of difference and stay true to it.
Can you list for me your top creative resources across any media – ie websites or blogs you visit daily, magazines you can’t live without?
I’m addicted to Pinterest, I love everything about TheLine.com and I religiously read Garance Doré’s blog. I like to see what Giovanna Battaglia is wearing whenever she’s snapped. I love mid-century modern furniture, so for the home, First Dibs is a must.
Beach or pool?
Where can we shop your range?
INSIDE Hong Kong, Landmark Princess Building, Ap Lei Chau and Repulse Bay