LONDON, United Kingdom — British television presenter and model Alexa Chung is poised to launch her own namesake fashion label, building on her successful collaborations with other brands and her personal reputation as a style icon.
The 32-year-old will step into the role of creative director at the helm of Alexachung, a contemporary-priced ready-to-wear line that will hit retailers in May 2017.
Chung said it was only after she had worked on a number of collaborations and creative projects with other fashion labels that she built the confidence to pursue her own business, which will sell denim, daywear, eveningwear, shoes and jewellery, as well as special products.
“I feel as though I’m kind of prepared to do it now. If it had been any time sooner than this, I either wouldn’t be responsible enough or have been able to take on this kind of feat,” she said in an exclusive interview.
The move comes as several other personalities, from Victoria Beckham to Karlie Kloss, have more directly harnessed their fans and followers to launch their own businesses, as opposed to entering into partnerships with major retailers or simply promoting other people’s products.
“I just wanted the freedom to sort of make my own world, without someone else’s brand’s brief to stick to," said Chung. "That was so fun, but there are certain boundaries that come with doing something on behalf of someone else, [you] kind of have to keep within their design remit.”
Chung has previously collaborated with clothing brands AG Jeans and Madewell. She has also worked as a creative consultant with brands like Marks & Spencer, Superga and Eyeko.
“I see this being the culmination of a lot of hard work for a decade and this being the resting place for all of those ideas and to continue kind of developing and growing that, just in this one home base space,” she said. “Also I feel like I need to get it up and running whilst I’m still young enough to have the energy and still be in touch with pop culture enough to make something that is actually relevant to the audience today."
Tapping into the zeitgeist is something Chung knows a lot about. A contributing editor to British Vogue for seven years, Chung’s widely popular sartorial choices, trendsetter status and role as a muse to many fashion brands has helped create a halo effect around her projects. When British handbag maker Mulberry created a bag inspired by her in 2009, it posted a 79 percent increase in its sales the following year. Both her Madewell and AG Jeans collaborations also sold out after their debut.
Chung will oversee a six-person design team, whose professional backgrounds include time spent at luxury fashion houses, as well as in other industries including music and art. She has appointed Edwin Bodson, the former head of atelier at Haider Ackermann, as managing director. Bodson was previously responsible for overseeing the commercial and product development for the Haider Ackermann’s womenswear pre-collections and its e-commerce offering.
Chung's first collection will be sold at selected luxury retailers like Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette, Matchesfashion.com, MyTheresa and SSENSE, as well as via a dedicated e-commerce platform. The brand will focus its launch activities in London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong, aiming to introduce some form of special project in each city in its first year, and Chung is eager to ensure the positioning of the brand is relatively accessible.
“How we present is going to be something we need to really think about. I know how the fashion industry stands today and how it’s changing very rapidly. I want to make sure that we are offering something that is exciting and unique and new, but also the point of this brand is that it connects to everyone,” she said. “I’m not making something that has got a crazy high price point. I want to make sure its something that is speaking to just everyone on the street.”