Friday, May 25, 2018

ECLECTIC GLAMOUR KITSCH | An interview of Alice Edgeley of EDGELEY

© Eryca Green Photography

First of all, who is Alice Edgeley? 

I live in Melbourne with my poodle Rupert, my black cat Prince, and my partner William. I'm a fashion and costume designer, sometimes I style music videos, I am a shoe fanatic and I love fashion history.

How did you first get involved in the fashion industry? 

I had been sewing and making things since I was about 8. I left school at 16 to do a costumiers apprenticeship, and then got jobs sewing and helping out for local fashion designers in Melbourne. I moved to London in 2007 to look for work in a fashion house there because there were a lot of amazing new designers flourishing at that time.

Photo by @jackiewinkelmanphotography

What lead to the creation and eventual birth of Edgeley? 

I worked in the industry for about 15 years before building up the courage to start my own label. I had worked for so many other designers and it was getting a bit tiresome not to be able to design what I wanted.

For those who don't know about Edgeley how would you describe it? And what is the ethos behind it? 

Edgeley is my independent fashion label run from my shop /studio in Gertrude street, Melbourne. I produce bi-annual ready-to-wear collections and I also offer a custom made service, creating variations on my designs and also catering for a size range from 6 - 26. Edgeley designs can be quite theatrical, and hence I also make costumes for people in show biz, like singers, bands, cabaret, drag queens, film, circus, etc. I like my creations to feel comfortable and easy to move in so lots are in stretch/jersey fabrics. Personally I love to wear and design catsuits and dresses. Garments which are easy to throw on for maximum glamour. I love there to be an element of fun, humour, cliche or camp to my designs.

© Eryca Green Photography

© Eryca Green Photography

How do you culminate/elaborate/develop the ideas and pick the final pieces for each Edgeley Collection? Can you explain that process? 

I sketch all year long, and then when it comes time for a new collection I pull out a few designs I like and start making samples. Searching for the right fabric is a huge part of the process, and can make or break a design. It's often hard to find the fabrics I want as Australia has a dying rag trade and I make really small quantities so it's expensive to import. A collection needs to be cohesive, not necessarily to tell a story but to work together and as separate garments. It needs complementary shapes, proportions, colours, fabrics etc. Also this happens every six months so it's a hamster wheel, there's not much time to ponder. You have to be decisive and motivated. Once I start organizing the photo shoot things are coming together. Visualizing them as full outfits with the hair and make up and accessories really helps me to make the final tweaks and send them off into the world.

Photo @timotitreasure

There is certainly no lack of colour, texture or exuberance when looking at your work. Where do you find your inspiration? And how important is the use of materials in the Edgeley design? 

Thank you! I love colour. I love working with colour. I also love finding new and possibly clashing or unexpected combinations of colours/patterns/textures. Materials are very important and I often design a garment around the textiles. I'm inspired by fashion history, that's always a fascination, by old films, by music, books, video clips, stylish people I see in the street, art, friends, poodles!

You have collaborated with various musicians, dancers and performers over the years. Are there any famed celebs etc. you have had the pleasure of dressing that are incredibly memorable or any that you’re dying to work with? 

I would love to dress Cardi B! I love her and I think her style is really over the top like a proper pop star. La Cicciolina, ICON, and Karen Elson I love her look and she seems really cool.

Photo @alexisdleaphotography


Where do you draw a lot of your own personal style from? Who are your personal style icons and muses? 

My mum Isobel is a huge influence on me, I love to see how she wears clothes, I love her style and always value her opinion. She's pretty kick-ass. My own style is inspired by lots of people, friends Eryca Green (photographer), Carrie Fabulous (musician and singer in the Sugar Fed Leopards and Tek Tek Ensemble) also people like Jerry Hall, Joan Collins, Nina Hagen, Pat Cleveland, Divine, Agnes Moorehead as Endora, Lady Miss Kier, I could go on and on!

© Eryca Green Photography

Favourite piece of clothing or accessory? 

My wedding ring. William Llewellyn Griffiths made this ring specially for me. I hadn't seen it until the ceremony and I almost exploded with thrills because it's so beautiful. I wear it everyday and it goes with everything, its a beautiful cushion cut diamond with pavé set yellow diamonds and rubies. I love it! William made us matching rings but his is MUCH bigger and chunkier. Here's a photo of them together.

Metal Couture

Melbourne, particularly, has a rad little fashion community. Who are some of your favourite Aussie designers, brands and stores we need to know about if we don’t already? 

I love Nevada Duffy, I actually worked for her years ago and I still buy her stuff. Nevada has a studio around the corner from mine (on Gore street), you can book in for an appointment to see her collection and get something made. Doodad and Fandango make amazing pop-art jewellery which I stock in my shop and wear all the time. I love the designer Nikita, she's a blast. Preston and Zly make amazing shoes and have a great studio around the back of Smith street and Hopeless lingerie make beautiful underwear and I love their stuff too!

. Photo @zeliarose 

How important is authenticity and individuality to you when turning your fashion dream into a commercial reality and how do you juggle it? 

Authenticity is very important to me and that's probably why I'm not rolling in money. I like quite extreme versions of things and I could water my designs down but I don't. I do not cater to beige or safe people and lots of people walk past my shop or come in and wonder who wears this stuff. It's not for everyone but the people who do wear my clothes are quite bold and know their own style. They don't follow mainstream trends or want to look like everyone else. They are individuals and that's why they come to me. They know I can make a one off version or style which suits them to a tee.

© Eryca Green Photography

Photo @timotitreasure

You now have a brick and mortar store! How amazing is that and what have you found most rewarding and/or challenging about launching into the brick and mortar? 

I won't lie, it was really terrifying for the first few years and now it's mostly an oasis for me, I love it. I love that I've created my own little world to work in. I have all my fabrics and books and sketches and samples there and people can come in and we can create together. I have had to learn SO MUCH about running a business, about retail, planning, websites, marketing, email etiquette, juggling finances, book keeping, GST, pricing structures, time management etc. There's so many more facets to running a small business than you first realize. I've learnt heaps and I run things how I want which is brilliant.

© Eryca Green Photography

Are there any projects you are working on currently you can tell us about? What’s coming up for the rest of 2018?

My current collection Goth Dork is in store now so people can come in or shop online for that. I'm also planning a one night pop-up in London later in the year. That's really exciting for me. I send lots of orders to England and it will be great to meet some of my customers for the first time face to face and for them to be able to try the clothes and see them all in real life.

© Eryca Green Photography

© Eryca Green Photography

Lastly, desert island, a bottle of vodka and one gal pal… Kate Pierson of the B52’s or Poison Ivy of The Cramps?

ah Poison Ivy! I love her and think she would have a lot of amazing stories to tell, though I might have to fight her for the vodka.

pic by @a_spicy_memebol