Currently in the midst of organising groups to act in opposition of Trump’s agenda, we were lucky to catch Portland-based, LN-CC stocked designer Alexa Stark and get a glimpse into her conscious universe.
Alexa Stark’s clothing is a reflection of the complex age we live in, creatively balancing the practical and the spectacle in women’s design. With strong material references to sustainability, the label embodies its founder’s concerns for social justice, politics and the environment out of belief that creating awareness is a designer’s responsibility. And Alexa has a lot to teach. Currently in the midst of organising groups to act in opposition of Trump’s agenda, we were lucky to catch the Portland-based designer and get a glimpse into her universe.
What motivates you, as a designer?
– It would be a cop-out to say everything, but it’s true. I find pleasure in the subtle moments of life; a friends smile when she laughs, watching the wind blow through a forest from one section to another, crowds routinely commuting to their jobs in busy streets, and quiet corners in loud bars. And those moments arose me to contribute to the beauty of life. But what motivates my work to speak for the environment, women and small business’ is the fear of becoming complacent. I believe it is a designers’ responsibility to create awareness, whether that’s through the product itself or the message told through marketing. Art and design has the power to present to the world social justice, environmental and political views because it is in appearance to the eye or mind in every moment of our day. Through the power of social media and publications we can be seen and heard. It is our responsibility to use these tools to teach and my tool is fashion.
What is your design process? How do you get inspired each season?
– It usually takes a while to warm up after closing on a previous season. It’s not that I am at a loss of ideas or motivation but more that I need to allow myself a moment to just be. Designing is a taxing job, with not only aesthetic responsibilities but also ethical responsibility. I don’t want to make anything ugly or thoughtless. Sometimes my process is asking myself why am I doing this? Three or a thousand times a day while watching the light change from morning to night. Then suddenly I find myself waking up in the middle of the night to write and draw. From there I make clothing.
Your Instagram bio reads “Women Unite”. How does that message translate into your designs?
– I create and craft my designs with a team of amazing women and men that support female unity. My business is part of a community of businesses run by self-made, independent women working to achieve their career goals and support their families. My designs are an outward expression of the female resilience and strength I want to cultivate my life and world.
Portland seems like quite an up-and-coming place for conscious fashion? How does it compare to New York?
– I moved from NYC in 2011 in hopes to find a community that lived consciously. I wanted to find a city where sustainability was in all aspects of life. Portland is that city. Through I travel back to NYC for sourcing, sales and marketing quite a bit, I am still inspired by Portland’s way of life and it’s crucial that I am tied to both worlds.
It is a tough time for fashion, but it is in the early stages of change. I believe these changes will bring forth new opportunities for smaller brands like myself and things will only get better if I keep moving forward. I am all about the slow grow! I look forward to seeing where the next collection takes me.
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