Alexis Barrel is a hidden fashion talent that is steadily climbing her way to the top. She burst onto the London designing scene in 2010 with the launch of her eponymous label, and her well-received SS13 collections propelled the budding designer into the spotlight as ‘one to watch’. Barrell’s South African roots, evident in her colourful and vibrant pieces, make them a must have staple this summer as the record heatwave continues to sweep over the capital.
The designer’s appeal may have a little to do with her influences from around the world as she has lived in six different cities in the past ten years, studying and polishing her craft. From Paris, where she studied fashion at Istituto Marangoni, to New York City, where she worked under couturier Marc Bouwer, Barrell has traversed many continents enriching her creative designs. The Positive caught up with the busy fashion designer to discuss her aesthetic, inspiration and future goals:
Did you always want to be a fashion designer?
- I really just discovered it by accident. I was surprised by how much I could enjoy doing something. Before that I had spent most of my time coming up with very creative ways of doing nothing at all.
Where or from whom do you draw inspiration for your work?
- Inspirations generally come to me towards the end of the previous season, when I’m dying for a change of mood. In order to consolidate my ideas, I often go on a trip. I get really involved in the concept for about three months, dressing differently, thinking differently, and noticing things I might have overlooked before. It’s a bit nuts, and then it just goes away.
Which woman, past or present, would you want to dress?
- I would love to dress Lea Seydoux. She is everything I’d like to put into a dress… subtle, unexpected, lasting, accidentally beautiful.
How would you describe an ‘Alexis Barrell’ girl?
- I’d like to say she would be someone I could have a long chat with. My collections are aimed at everyone in general. They simply exist. It’s hard to aim anything at anyone, it’s difficult to tell.
As well travelled as you are, is there a city you most identify with?
- In the past ten years, I have lived in six cities. Nowhere influences you more than where you come from, whether you’d like to think. But it’s just the beginning for me in London. I’m interested to see what impact the city has on my work and me.
Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
- I would like to have a bigger team to work with. I’d like a massive studio with a yoga room! Seriously though, I’d like things to get just a bit more organised. At the moment I am five different people. I would like to have more people to talk to about things. As for the clothes, I’d love to try my hand at menswear. I am also interested in lingerie, and some other projects I’ll talk more about nearer the time.
Check out Alexis Barrell’s SS14 collection at London Fashion Week on September 14th, 2013. http://alexisbarrell.com/