Quoi Alexander: A Designer on a UN Mission

Fashion and AI may be having a moment, but for designer Quoi Alexander returning to the original textile technology, sewing, is what he’s most fascinated by right now. “It’s something I’ve embraced. This Spring Summer 2020 season is the first collection with it in!” said the now Paris-based Central Saint Martins alum, who, ever since the launch of his own label, has been reinventing the wheel and creating clothes sans needle and thread.

It was back in 2014 that the designer, originally from California, showcased a stunning all-woven final collection at the esteemed fashion college’s end-of-year student show. Next, he went on to experiment with couture-like creations – owing to all that handcrafting – before exploring the more wearable world with pieces that featured special fusings and bonding so as still to eschew any sewing.

My brand is really a laboratory for new techniques and new ways of putting together clothing,” explained Alexander, for whom sustainability – specifically the incorporation of deadstock into his designs – has always been a consideration. It was this, coupled with his love for creating innovative techniques, that brought him to the attention of the United Nations.

The designer is one of 10 artists around the world taking part in an exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva next year which is inspired by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (these include: no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, climate action…).

They really liked the work and asked me to participate,” explained Alexander. “Sustainability has had such bad connotations in fashion and society in the past, which had resulted in design being scrutinised. It’s strange allowing myself to put that at the forefront of my work; it’s an interesting process.

As part of the project, Alexander teamed up with industry scientists to really delve deep into the subject beyond the standard terms we’re so familiar with hearing.

People really want to be green, but the system is so complicated and nuanced,” he pointed out. Case in point, organic cotton and faux fur make for just two of said complex examples. And as a designer, it’s a tricky arena to navigate. “There’s a lot of pseudo-science. It’s about research and backing it up,” said Alexander.

The UN project has been made possible with the support of the UNWTO and CIPART (collaborations interdisciplinaires promotion art et tourisme).

Meanwhile, his Spring Summer 2020 offering sees recycled goods laced together and tied together, knotted – and sewn! – in a collection inspired by video games, the future, and Alexander’s own spin on trompe l’oeil.

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