Alexa Galler launched her collection Eighteenth with manipulating angles on T-shirts. After winning the Ecco Domani Award, Alexa developed a full collection for fall 2012 offering a complete RTW line.
You launched your collection for Spring 2010 with just 6 t-shirts and have already evolved it to a full RTW collection. Did you look at your first collection as a trial in production?
I actually thought I would just be designing T-shirts for the rest of my life. My showroom recommended that I expand the collection and one thing led to another. Now I’m addicted to making “real” clothes.
For Fall 2012 the line includes signature T-shirt styles but also features wool coats and dresses. Is this the direction the brand is heading to moving forward?
I hope to continue making full RTW collections. I get to more fully express certain ideas and be more creative and experimental. Plus, now I have pants to wear with those T-shirts!
What were you inspired by this season?
The collection is called “My Dad’s Hair.” I took his uniform of khakis, polo shirts and JC Penney suits and put them in “hairy,” textured fabrics. I exaggerated the silhouettes and used asymmetry to evoke this idea of a daughter wearing her dad’s too-big clothing.
You are a recipient of this years Ecco Domani award. How would you compare your collection to some of the others that won?
What is very cool is how different all the winners are. Correll Corell make beautiful, soft dresses and knits. Haus Alkire, I’d say, is for the cool, edgy working woman. I’m a T-shirt and jeans girl with a sense of humor.
In what way to you think it will benefit your brand most?
I certainly have gotten more press and recognition since the award. But I think the experience of developing a larger than usual collection and putting on a fashion show made me a better designer, which ultimately is the most beneficial.
Is there an Ecco Domani alum that has been an inspiration for you?
There are three: Rodarte, Siki Im and Matthew Ames. Rodarte are masters of combining the unexpected and creating looks that are simultaneously edgy and pretty, refined and unraveled. They see beauty in the weird, the ugly and the wrong. I adore Siki Im’s American take on a Japanese aesthetic. I am impressed with his ingenuity as he works within his self-imposed minimalist restrictions. Matthew Ames proves that everything old is new again, or better yet, that the “old” never gets old. I see elements of Halston and Calvin Klein in his work. He celebrates simplicity, volume and silhouette over busy patterns and embellishments.
What makes your T-shirt stand apart from the others?
They are very silhouette driven, with lots of asymmetry and complex draping. With the T-shirts, the goal is never to design anything basic, but still retaining the same wearability and versatility of the good old fashion basic tee.
Which contemporaries do you see the line merchandising with?
I’d love to see the line hang with the big-wigs at Barney’s Co-op (hint hint).
Where are the pieces stocked?
Boutiques all over the world. I’ve got each corner of the USA covered.
What was your background before starting Eighteenth NYC?
I was a graphic designer and was doing a lot of freelance work for clothing lines. My claim to fame were distressed t-shirt graphics and butterfly embroideries on denim for Wal-Mart. Somehow I still caught the fashion bug and went back to school to learn how to cut, sew and sketch.
What would you be doing if you were not a designer?
Watching a lot more TV!