A menswear designer and creative from Australia, Alexandra Hackett who you may know well as Mini Swoosh, currently resides in London pioneering to close the gap in unisex streetwear with her brand ALCH, which ranges repurposed Nike items, turning them into killer one of a kind pieces.
With one of the most innovative designs for the recent Nike Vote Forward competition, it's clear to see why the world (including us!) voted in hopes for Alex's "Air Max Mini Swoosh" submission to win, so that we could all have the chance of wearing that magical white, black and pink Air Max amalgamation on our feet one day in real life.
Recognised as one of Australian's future icons, we caught up with Alex to talk about her designs and what she's been up to, and we're telling you now that you best make sure to keep an eye on this Honey's movement, cos we have a feeling you're going to be seeing a lot more from her very soon.
So how was ALCH created and what is the concept behind the brand?
I think the brand element is only really one part of ALCH, mostly it just represents everything I do as part of my studio work. My whole practice revolves around the process of deconstructing and reconstructing objects, textiles and fabrications, to create functional apparel.
What inspired you to start re-creating sportswear and what is it about men’s fashion that intrigued you to start designing?
I majored in mens sportswear design at university and whilst I was there I was working part time at a Nike Factory Outlet, so it definitely stemmed from both of those experiences. What I love about sportswear is that it's incredibly honest, every construction technique, fabrication selection and design line has a function for the wearer. Technically speaking, I work from mens pattern blocks, with mens silhouettes however everything I do could be considered unisex.
Could you tell us more about your most recent drop and the ideology behind the pieces?
My latest drop on my online store was two of the pieces I'd created as part of my MiniSwoosh work, a gilet and matching pair of dungarees created from deconstructed Nike duffel bags. It was an incredibly limited run, made-to-order.
You're definitely environmentally aware, why do you think reusing materials is so important?
One element of my practice that I'm really interested in is extending the lifespan of pre-existing products and textiles through the transformation of them into new garments. I think consumerism is such a huge problem especially in the fashion industry so I try to focus wearability and functionality to elongate a products lifespan.
What was it like being a part of Nike's Vote Forward 2017 competition? Could you tell us more about the design?
My Air Max design was an amalgamation of nine of the original Air Max models that showcase visible air. It combined design lines and elements from the Air Max 1, 90, 180, 93, 95, 97, Plus, 360 and 2015, creating a new model that pays homage to the past. The tongue was inverted, featuring a visible size label.
Working with Nike on a project of this scale was an incredible experience and hopefully only the beginning of future collaborations with them.
We hear that you're also at Footpatrol, how is it managing multiple jobs?
I think working multiple jobs is kind of the norm if you live in London. There's definitely been times when I've been working 3 jobs as well as trying to run my own practice. I'm lucky enough to now be able to work full time freelance in my own studio but I still work weekends at Footpatrol - a top tier sneaker store in Soho. I love the team there and I think it's really important to keep in touch with the whole scene, especially from a retail perspective.
Well, we have to ask - what's are some of your favourite sneakers in your current rotation?
My favourite sneaker is always changing, but at the moment it's probably my pair of the Nike Air Max Plus "Silver Bullet". Right now my rotation consists of these as well as the CDG x Nike Dunk High, Nike Air Zoom Spiridon "Black and Sport Red", Nike Air Force 1 Mid Jewel "Silt Red" and my Air Max 97 "Metallic Gold" which I was lucky enough to get my hands on before the release!
Do you have any advice for women in streetwear today, who would want to branch out like yourself?
Streetwear is quite a male-dominated industry but I think there's something unique that females can offer. I think the key is really to establish your point of difference and capitalise on that.
And any tips for when it comes to staying focused and driven in an industry that’s so ever evolving?
I think the trick is to be inspired by things outside of the industry, then you will always have a unique perspective. My personal mantra is "be your brand, be your biggest fan". Besides, if you're ever feeling unfocused or disheartened, I highly recommend binge watching Nike advertisements on YouTube. There's nothing more inspiring and you're probably going to to want to go for a run after so really it's WIN-WIN.