Alexandra Michelle, Objects Without Meaning
Alexandra Michelle has a philosophical approach to fashion. While most designers place emphasis on the identity of their creations, this member of the nouveau has devised her brand, adeptly titled Objects Without Meaning, as a line that defines clothing as an empty vessel only brought to life by the character of the wearer. Also taking an unusual stance on seasons, this innovator prefers to rework and reimagine rather than scrap the past and start over. Alexandra is doing something truly unique, and we love that, so today, Lisa Says Gah stops by her light-filled studio in downtown Los Angeles for a chat and behind the scenes look at Objects Without Meaning. Enjoy!
LSG: Hi, Alexandra! Can you walk us through your path? What initially drew you to fashion?
I started making clothes at a very young age - I think I was about seven years old. My grandmother was a dressmaker, so most of my time spent with her was learning how to use a sewing machine and make patterns. I fell in love with creating and making. When I was in high school, I decided to turn to the arts. I explored fine art - drawing, painting, sculpture, but I found that it was too abstract, and I wasn’t satisfied. So I changed my focus to textiles and fashion design. That's when I knew I found what I was meant to do in life.
LSG: What prompted you to pioneer Objects Without Meaning?
I started working in fashion when I was 22, a very long time ago… I spent a lot of time learning and strived to understand how it all worked. After ten years in the business, I decided it was time to step out on my own and start OWM.
LSG: Who do you imagine wearing your designs?
I’ve always had this vision of what a woman’s wardrobe should be, and that is effortless and refined. I like women who do not aspire to be conventional. I like progressive women, women who are themselves, with strong personalities and who are independent thinkers. Today I think women want to dress for themselves. They don’t want to be an object of anybody else’s desire. Girls no longer care about walking in heels or being conventionally beautiful. I find it very refreshing.
LSG: How does environment influence your collections?
I’ve always been interested in my everyday environment in the sense of culture, such as our daily choices of how we live, how we decorate our homes, the food we eat, the music we decide to listen to. For me, culture is all about what we choose to consume, and style is an expression of that.
LSG: Do you work alone? If not, tell us about your team.
I could never do this alone! I have a small team but a good one. I want everyone I work with to feel that we’re building something together and that it depends on all of us. It’s about creating team energy. When you succeed, you share the glory, and when you fail, it’s the responsibility of the whole team to correct the flaws.
LSG: What inspires you?
I’m inspired by movies, art, and culture. Style is about personality and movement - expressing something.
LSG: What themes are influencing your work right now?
I’m interested in how clothes are worn in ordinary life by regular people. Clothing is so intimate; it’s about how we want to be seen. That’s what is influencing the collection and always will be.
LSG: Can you tell us about your process of designing a collection?
I rework the same garments season after season. The idea of having to renew myself every six months is crazy.
LSG: Materials obviously play a huge part in your line. Can you tell us about why you choose the ones you do?
I have always been interested in fabrics. I’m drawn to natural fibers and textures. I look for functional materials that feel and look comfortable. I want to communicate a feeling of being stylish but also very natural and effortless.
LSG: Describe the first year of going independent.
I made a lot of mistakes, and I learned from them all.
LSG: As a business owner, what advice would you share with someone interested in starting a company?
If you want to endure as a designer today, you have to be business savvy.
LSG: What are a few things you love that have nothing to do with fashion?
Music, food and nature.
LSG: Tell us a little bit about your routine. Five things for a stress-free day?
Spending time with my son
Diffusing lavender oil in the studio