MILAN — Behind the new label Alexa Fairchild is a family project.
“Alexa has always been very drawn to fashion, as you can imagine — she grew up in it, she came to fashion shows, she was exposed and we had all different Fairchild generations talking about fashion constantly,” explained her mother Erin Fairchild, co-managing director and chief marketing officer, of her daughter, the granddaughter of legendary WWD chairman and editorial director John B. Fairchild. “We asked ourselves, how do we change the value chain? We are trying to break the system in a positive way, and it’s important to have a clear point of view.”
The collection is for all ages, gender-neutral, seasonless and Made in Italy. In addition to building the brand, “the idea is to create a community, which we call ‘Freedom Tribe,’ a tribe with like-minded values,” said Alexa Fairchild, creative director and co-managing director. “Anyone that feels left out can be part of the tribe,” she said during a visit to Milan from the family’s home base in Brussels. Natasha, Alexa’s younger sister, is currently studying film and digital production at Regent’s University in London and has taken on the role of visual manager.
To deliver this message of inclusion, the two siblings and a group of friends were filmed and photographed in Comporta, Portugal — a seaside location where the family generally spends their summers — riding horses and quad-bikes or surfing on the dunes in a video available on the brand’s web site and across social media. The original musical score, “Prayer,” was created by another friend, Tessa Dixson.
The brand’s target customer is varied, multisized and multiracial, and both Alexa’s mother and her grandmother, who is 72, model the looks. Life outdoors is one of the messages conveyed by the brand. Alexa is training to participate in the Tokyo Olympics’ dressage competition, and her sister Natasha is an avid surfer, a passion shared with their father Stephen Fairchild, who has worked with Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Valentino, and today is senior vice president and chief creative officer at Pandora. He acts as an adviser for the Alexa Fairchild brand.
The project has been in the works for a year-and-a-half and a launch event is planned for early 2018 in Brussels.
Mario Rosetti, director of operations, is based in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, and is in charge of logistics and quality control. This is in line with the brand’s focus on sustainability as all operations are done in the same area. “Normally, products would travel from the factory to the warehouse to a distribution center, but all that has been cut out and nothing transits through Belgium,” said Erin Fairchild.
An artist in San Benedetto, Yvonne Rosetti, paints all T-shirts by hand. There are also a number of limited jewelry pieces made in ceramics. Others involved in the project are Giovanni Grelli, who works with Alexa on the designs, and project manager Tara Perraudin. Serge Van Oudenhove is the group’s business adviser and the company works with Lars Dyhr, at Copenhagen’s creative agency Low Studios.
The Fairchilds are building an e-commerce platform for alexafairchild.com as part of the self-financed project. “We are looking at having bricks-and-mortar distribution but we feel it’s important to understand who we affiliate with,” said Stephen Fairchild. “We eventually plan to work with multibrands and third parties,” he added. Erin Fairchild projected sales of 1 million euros in the first year.
Prices range from 100 euros for a T-shirt to around 390 euros for cashmere sweaters. Pants retail at between 220 and 399 euros, while a shearling jacket’s price tag is around 1,500 euros.
The idea, explained Erin, is to have new products available every two or three weeks.
The collection includes comfortable sweaters, technical and practical leggings and form-fitting pants and outerwear, as well as accessories, ranging from beanies to scarves or gloves lined in silk. The lineup includes a Tyvek tote in two different sizes. Committing to ethical fashion, the knitwear, which includes sweaters, beanies, scarves and gloves, is made using Cardato Cashmere, a recycled cashmere produced in the Prato, Italy district. Environmental impact is minimized throughout the entire production cycle by carefully monitoring the consumption of water and energy.
Stars are a recurring symbol, “representing the sky and freedom,” said Alexa, and come in Comporta Blue, black, Obidos yellow (from the recurring color in the village of that name in Portugal) or white.