The footwear cycle never sleeps. With FN Platform approaching in Vegas next week, Footwear News has been scouring the trade shows for great talent, unusual talent — new talent. Meet Alexander White, a designer from London who has worked for the likes of Kurt Geiger and Erdem. White is launching his own label this spring and is busily working to develop an international presence.
Here, the designer talks to FN about going out on his own and who has inspired him along the way.
1. How did you come to launch your own label ?
AW: After graduating from university, I had planned on starting my own footwear brand. I enrolled at Cordwainers to learn how shoes are made and then went on to work in the design department at Kurt Geiger. It was during this time that I realized that there was a fairly untapped gap in the market for an accessible luxury footwear brand with prices lower than the average high-end designer, but still maintaining excellent quality of material and construction. During this period I had the vital pivotal moment in deciding to pursue this dream: I had been traveling to Hong Kong and met Sandra Choi at the airport; she invited me to come to the Jimmy Choo offices in London, and we spoke about what I wanted to achieve in my career. She is so incredibly passionate about design, and she was very encouraging and supportive of my plans.
2. You’ve worked with some of London’s brightest design talents, from Giles to Erdem. Can you talk about anything you learned during this time?
AW: I adored every moment of my time at Erdem. It was such a huge insight into the fashion industry, and I learned so much. I think the most important thing I learned while I was there was how to be creative yet commercially viable at the same time. It’s arguably the most important lesson one can learn in design, because as incredibly creative as one might be, without the financial support of the sales, one can’t explore, experiment and grow as a designer.
3. What inspired this collection? What are the key styles?
AW: The collection is influenced by the idea of a heartbroken woman who escapes from the city and ventures off to explore a foreign land. She finds a new passion for life; she is optimistic again. I’ve always had a fascination with print and texture, and this season we’ve created a vibrant floral print, which works particularly well on our Aziza open-toed cutout bootie. Our Anastasia sandal/bootie hybrid in animal print and the Abyssinia lace-up sandal are other key styles for the season.
4. What has been the most challenging part about starting you own line?
AW: I’m a creative person: Every morning I wake up, make a cup of tea, and my first desire is to design. Running your own company means that designing isn’t always the first thing that needs to be addressed in the day. So, I’d have to say that the biggest challenge has been learning how to balance all the different tasks, and making sure I devote enough time to each.
5. What’s next for the label?
AW: I think the label offers something really special. So we’re really focusing on developing the brand and gaining a larger presence internationally.