We’re still swooning over Alyson Fox‘s chic home tour from last week, and today she’s giving us a backstage pass to FOX_A, her new clothing line set to launch in early October. We met up with our favorite down-to-earth designer in her home studio to talk about fabrics, the business of fashion, and what it takes to have a design manufactured (read: patience.) Join us for a sneak peek of Alyson’s new clothing line that is — what else? — subtle. Thoughtful. And incredibly cool.
photographed by jessica pages
You’ve had so much success in designing textiles for the home. It seems natural that you would expand into clothing. Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?
It’s always been in the back of my mind. I love clothes. I wasn’t sure if I would actually go forward with a line because I’m not big fan of the fashion calendar. Seems too stressful and I wasn’t sure I could keep up. Once I removed the rules of needing to be on schedule with seasons and having things graded to specific sizes it seemed like a really fun thing to try. The line is very simple and will have an ease about it with how I release it and design it.
What type of woman will wear your new line? Who is the FOX_A girl?
Someone who is curious, playful, comfortable and ready to move and conquer things or just relax.
Tell us a bit about the line and what inspired your designs:
FOX_A is built around seven simple garment designs, and only the prints will change with each collection. I’m trying for two collections per year, but really they’ll be seasonless. My hope is to build each collection where you can wear it with past collections and things you already own.
I was very inspired by a French architect and designer named Charlotte Perriand. She was a furniture designer for Le Corbusier’s studio. Her furniture designs are timeless and perfect in my opinion. She spoke about her very simple wardrobe of just a few pieces to mix and match in some of her writings that I read. That really stuck with me. So my line grew from that. Simple garments to be mixed and matched in countless configurations.
pictured: two sample garment designs constructed in guaze
So the fabrics are a big focus for your line. What can you tell us about your direction there?
It’s lots of guaze, linen, and cotton, hand dyed to match my pantone swatches. In my past partnership collections, people were always pushing me towards these really bright, colorful designs. This collection is much more muted. It’s my real aesthetic, how I like to dress every day. Lots of blacks and navys and greys… and the prints are very subtle.
Was there one over-arching principal to your design approach?
It’s very simplified. Well-made and thoughtful, but not crazy expensive. Oh, and nothing has to be dry cleaned. That was like the number one thing for me.
A finished piece from the debut collection of FOX_A: the everyday dress in rain print
We love the shorts you’re wearing. Are they part of the collection?
Yes! My first working sample. I live in them. Most of the line has my textile prints hand printed on them, but for these I used some remnant seersucker fabric the artisans had.
What’s been the hardest part of this process for you?
It’s been a challenging process (over a year long) that’s really tested my patience. Up until now, my design process had just been me. Now I’m working with manufacturers and artisans around the world. I’ve had to be patient with waiting on fabric samples, etc. I had to let go of control. It’s been a huge personal learning lesson. It’s taught me to really let go and enjoy the process a little bit more.
What countries do the artisans live in that you’re working with? Do you plan on visiting those places?
India, Mexico and Africa. I do plan to visit. It wasn’t in the budget this first go around but I hope with a near future collection. I would like to get more experimental with the textiles so I think that will require a hands on visit. I want to connect with the artisans who are a part of my team, and to have thoughtful production.
Do you have anything special in the works for the official launch of your line?
We’ll be unveiling my new website with an online store for the first collection in October. And I’m working with professional ballet dancers to choreograph a dance that will be performed in Johnson City at our launch event in September.
We’re still dying over the photos from your home tour last week. Seems like an idyllic life to have your studio right there, too! What do you love about working from home?
The quiet, being able to sneek bites of cheese often and seeing my husband and our pup lots.
Thanks, Alyson! We can’t wait to wear pieces from FOX_A this fall.