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So What’s New? Designers, Ideas and more August 3, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Giveaways/Offers, So What's New?.
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alexandracipparone[1]Hi Everyone, and welcome to the first installation for my new weekly feature, “So What’s New”. For this  piece I hope to introduce you all to a new and exciting designer/company/idea, showing you some of their products, designs and inspirations.


For my first installment I was lucky enough to be approached by Alexandra Cipparone, the founder of wonderful clothing line ALEX&RA. Many of you will have already come across this girls wonderful work on Etsy, where she sells her lovely clothing to delighted customers from around the world. She is now launching her own specific Internet shop, and I though this would be a great opportunity to ask her a few questions!

Me: So – how did you get into designing?

I found my love for fashion design in high school. My oldest sister Noel took a sewing class and I signed up just to be like her. Turns out I was actually really good at it! I ended up being the girl who cut up club t-shirts and made them into cute tube tops and off-the-shoulder tops. I’d even embellish them with all sorts of gems. I guess I just saw them as blank canvases and used my creativity to stand out from the rest.

Me: Did you ever expect the success you have ended up having?

I never thought that I would be at this point! I started this line as a way to kill time between jobs and after just a few weeks came to the realization that this is all I ever want to do. It’s turned into a great experience. In just a short amount of time I have learned so much about design, selling, customer service, and branding.. and I love it all! It is a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, I am just so honored by the support I’ve received from fans and customers. They really keep me going! Now I’m excited about the future and planning my next moves. I want to take this brand really far and I think it’s off to a great start.


Me: What are your inspirations, principles etc? Is there any concept your designs are based on?

The main concept behind my line is to highlight the beautiful city of San Francisco. Everything about this city inspires me. I love feeling like a tourist in my own town.. constantly looking up at the beautiful buildings, feeling dwarfed by its majestic bridges, and taking in the incredible amount of diversity of each of its neighborhoods. Even a short stroll around the block gives me so many ideas. Besides that, I am also influenced by art, vintage finds, and unique fabrics. I think my designs are so different because I don’t surround myself with the usual sources of inspiration. I want to build a unique brand that sets girls apart from each other – not just another brand with just another skirt. My customers deserve something better.


Me: And your aspirations for the future?

It takes so much to build a business that it’s daunting to look into the future! Of course I want the brand to grow and expand. Ideally I would see the line being sold in high-end boutiques and exclusive online shops but I still want to maintain the handmade aspect of the work I do. It’s important for me to have a personal touch and a custom fit. That definitely won’t change. In the immediate future, I plan on launching a new collection at the end of August (to coincide with my launch party in San Francisco) and a line of bridesmaids dresses by the end of the year. I have a lot of aspirations for this line – I just have to find  the time to do it all!


Me: Finally, who are your favourite designers?

My favorite designer, by far, has to be Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni.Her work is absolutely phenomenal to look at. She focuses her designs on the construction of each piece. Every item is made in the most innovative of ways. It’s unconventional but brilliant. This excites me as a patternmaker because I value sculptural, wearable clothing. I look for thought in the clothes I buy. I want to wear clothes that push boundaries of fabric and sewing. To me, that is what fashion is about and that is what I hope to eventually achieve with ALEX&RA

Check out Alex’s work online at her new website, and see what you think of the cute clothing on there. I have even managed to wangle you a 10% discount – simply mention this article at the checkout and she will refund you the value!


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