By Eva Whalen
1. Tell us about the inspiration for your new tie collection. Why ties?
I chose to venture into menswear, and in particular ties, because I felt it was a good counterpart to my women’s scarf collection. As well, I received great acknowledgement for my scarves and was asked on several occasions if I was interested in menswear, which I have always been. I took the steps to launch the tie collection this past fall, and I am very pleased with the outcome. The inspiration for the tie collection is derived from the work done by the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, a global grassroots campaign dedicated to eradicating Malaria through the distribution of life-saving bed nets. To learn more about the campaign visit, http://www.nothingbutnets.net
2. How did you come up with the names for your ties?
Each tie has a unique name, which will carry through with future collections. The names are inspired by the amazing men in my life, including my father, four brothers and grandfathers. Each tie is representative of the unique personality and distinctive style of each of them, who have supported and influenced my upbringing and career choices.
The DYLAN Tie
3. How did you choose malaria as philanthropic target for your designs?
I chose to support the Nothing But Nets campaign because of the undeniable need to eradicated malaria. As a college student at Parsons the New School for Design, I became aware of the campaign and was immediately struck by the growing epidemic, and inspired by the work of a small campaign who dedicated their careers to saving lives. It is such a simple and inexpensive solution. Sending $10 that will purchase a life-saving bed net for a family in need is something men, women and children can equally take part in.
4. How often will you present new tie designs for the AT Collection, or is that not something that you necessarily plan out?
As of now, there are six principle styles, I hope to debut a Spring/Summer line of ties and continue about every six months with new collections.
5. Do you have plans at this time to branch out into another design area?
I would love to venture into other areas of menswear, including men’s accessories and at some point men’s ready-to-wear.
6. Are there any menswear designers you especially admire?
One of my favorite menswear brands is Burberry Prorsum. Christopher Bailey, the Creative Director, has transformed the brand and continues season after to season to create timeless sophistication with each collection, but still manages to keep them modern.
The Robert Tie
7. Who are some of your favorite designers in general?
I am a fan of Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry, all very classic and refined, and in regard to newer designers, I like the work of Rag & Bone.
8. Who are some of your cultural style icons?
1960’s Danish (French film) actress Anna Karina is one of my favorite style icons, her beauty and effortless style transcends time. In terms of men’s style icons, Paul Newman is one of my favorites for both his personal style and socially conscious philanthropic work. His rugged yet refined style was something to be in awe of.
9. Why did you choose to become a fashion designer – were there early influences in your life, or was it an inherent talent, or both?
I believe I always had a niche in fashion and a notion at a young age that what I wore was an expression of what I felt. I remember being in the 5th grade and having to take the annual class photo on the steps of our elementary school, and unlike all the bright dresses and sweaters that my classmates chose to wore, I was in head-to-toe black. Having worn a black crewneck sweater and black skinny leg pants and flats, I guess I had an affinity for Parisian dress or at least was preparing myself for living in NYC. I began taking fashion courses in high school and continued my education at Parsons here in NYC. I knew from the start of my design studies that I wanted to take a different angle to fashion and delve into a part of the industry that isn’t necessarily acknowledged. My passion for giving back and philanthropic work is just as strong as my desire to produce great collections. The ability to merge both has been an amazing opportunity and a great foundation for my career ahead.
10. What’s your favorite era for fashion, apart from the present?
I can get inspiration from many eras. In particular, the 1920’s is inspirational to look back on, as it shows a great evolution in dress. As well, the late 1930’s and 1940’s was a time where dress needed to evolve, and a lot of designers really excelled and changed the face of fashion in those somber times. I also love the refinement and merge of womenswear with menswear seen in the 1970’s by designers like YSL.
11. How do you see fashion changing in the future?
I hope the fashion industry transforms for the better from an industry of superfluous luxury to one that is more socially and eco-conscious for a sustainable future.
12. What’s your favorite fabric?
My favorite fabrics are natural ones; I love crisp breathable cotton and luxurious silk and wool.
13. What are your ties made of – does the material vary, or are they all made from the same type of fabric?
My ties are all made of silk or silk and wool blends.
The ELLIOT Tie
14. What would you like to be doing 10 years from now?
I hope to be continuing my collections, having expanded further into menswear, excelling as a designer and social entrepreneur, as well as pursuing my work with various charities in hopes of fostering a more socially conscious industry.
15. Has there been a fashion trend that you’ve really disliked?
For menswear, I have never liked the look of oversized clothing, especially oversized suits. Nothing bothers me more than a badly fitted suit on a man.
16. What culture or part of the world is really inspiring you right now in terms of fashion & design?
I have wanderlust for all areas of the world. I am always inspired by the traditional dress and lifestyle of many regions. For my past few collections I have been really inspired by the natural elements that surround us. I can also very easily be inspired by a range of dress from the natural clothing of Kenya to the classic bespoke tailoring seen in boutiques on Savile Row in London. The more I travel, the more I become inspired.
17. Are there any movies or TV shows with fashion/stylist/costume designers that really stand out in terms of great design and fashion inspiration?
I am impressed by the work of the costume designers on Pan Am, as the clothing depictions seem spot on for the era. I am very excited to see the new Great Gatsby film and its elaborate costumes.
18. If you weren’t a designer, what else would you be doing right now?
I have so many varied interests. As well as being a designer, I am a writer and editor and hope to pursue both more. I would love to be a travel writer or photojournalist. As well, I think if I took a different direction, I would be working in international relations.
19. Where can people purchase your ties?
At this time, all ties can be purchased on the online shop at http://www.alexandrataylor.net.
20. Where can people follow you on social media?
You can stay up-to-date on all of the Alexandra Taylor Collections projects and work with the United Nations Foundation by following our twitter @atcollections and liking our facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/alexandrataylor.collections.