In Conversation with Alexis Corry
Fashion Designer & Founder,
Lex & Lynne, Pennsylvania-USA
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have established a boutique in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in the US and am currently in the sixth year of owning my boutique. We carry designer lines and womenswear, in addition to that, I have designed my womenswear line, which is the Lex & Lynne knitwear collection. Everything is ethically handmade in Mexico. We create opportunities for women to fulfil their craft from their homes in a very easy environment. It’s been work in progress for six years now. We are now expanding to selling wholesale to other boutique owners and selling online to more buyers. Everything is small batch production so it is limited quantity and limited styles. We focus on easy silhouettes and easy wear.
Which past experiences would you say have shaped your work, design sensibilities, & aesthetic?
In launching my brick and mortar boutique, my knitwear was always a part of it. It was a small scale when we began, but having a boutique and selling online, we fell into the fast-fashion world and selling designer names. Seeing a lot of waste in the mass production segment, after a couple of years made me want to scale back and focus on a more conscious consumer. To become more conscious myself in terms of my buying and also how I can change the buying in my store to help people buy better. So we decided to expand my knitwear line and focus solely on like-minded designers. Offering a more unique product, something that’s different, handmade, heirloom quality and will last a lifetime.
What is your personal philosophy in life?
To become sustainable, and to create more jobs and opportunities for women and men to thrive in their environment. We do not displace anyone who is making our garments to factories. They are taking the materials home, they are with their families and we believe this is an attribute to sustaining their cultures and traditions. Through my travels, I’ve learnt how important that is. That’s our mission right now through my knitwear.
How would you define your personal style?
I’m always travelling and I’m always on the go so it’s pretty casual. I like to be comfortable I’m usually in one of my knits and a pair of jeans. I tend to favour the boho style, but it’s pretty casual and relaxed for me.
Can you tell us more about your travel blog?
We started writing this a couple of years ago on our honeymoon. I am also a web designer so I was able to create a blogging website for us. It was meant to share our itineraries with family and friends, to share some photos on there. But it has grown quite a bit. Between my boutique, my knitwear line, the blog, meeting more designers who are doing this sort of thing and visiting different locations that have their craftsmanship, materials and resources, it has become a big part of my business now. So when we travel a lot of the time now we are looking for more materials and people who can add another element to this collection and that’s where I see it going in the new year. It’s been a really fun adventure.
What inspires your work?
My travels inspire my work mostly. I travel all over the world with my husband, we have a travel blog that we write together. We started that a couple of years ago and I think that’s when my knits started to change and became a little bit more colourful in a way. just drawing inspirations from experiences and culture or landscapes, especially in terms of creating styles that are easy to wear and travel in, things I wanted to have when I was travelling. Also carrying peoples’ stories, visiting different parts of the world and everything about it, nature that’s what inspires my work.
What is your vision for your work?
We’re focused on investing in global communities. I want to grow my knitwear line, utilising other varieties of materials, going beyond the knits. Right now we’re working on our sandal line, it is natural leather handmade in Italy. So defining specific craftsmanship in specific places. That’s where I see it going, expanding and having more shoes, accessories and other types of clothing. Investing in these different global communities, focusing on their crafts, materials, comfort zones and sharing that with people.
Who are your favourite designers?
There are a few designers who I feel have inspired my knitwear line to grow who I’ve been working with since I opened my boutique. Ariane Dutzi is a Mexican handbag designer, she creates handbags out of repurposed and recycled materials. She is also really passionate about creating opportunity and empowering men and women to work together and learn about entrepreneurship. Not only enabling them to provide for their family but also to strengthen their community. She has been a huge influence on me. Another one is Maria Korovilas who’s a ready-to-wear womenswear designer based in Los Angeles. She focuses on slow fashion and the unique processes of garment making. Everything is handcrafted and made-to-order. As a designer, she is focused on not having things made in bulk. She’s been a huge inspiration to me and I’ve worked very closely with her for years. Another one is Joyce Smith, she is a jewellery designer. She is very inspired by tradition, rituals, symbolism, nature. She’s based in Los Angeles and all of her jewellery is made from recycled gold, silver, and different metals working in a lot of gemstones. She practices the lost wax carving technique. Her main focus for selling to consumers is connecting the consumers with her jewellery through emotion, guidance, strength, whatever they need versus following fast fashion trends.
So these three designers have influenced my work and inspired me to continue this knitwear line and expand it. forced me to challenge myself to create new styles, trying different things and materials and to see the bigger picture with the consumer. Knowing that it needs to move in a conscious direction and there needs to be a connection between the consumer and what they’re buying.
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
I would have to say the Faroe Islands. I went there for the first time five years ago and I have gone back every year since. It’s a very remote destination, it’s located between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean and it’s a little archipelago island. They embrace their history, culture, and tradition. Local craft is everything to them including where everything comes from, it’s all local because they are so remote. It’s a very untouched environment so it has all the elements which I find to be very inspiring which is why I continue to go back. It’s a place that has taught me a lot about cultural sustainability. For the Faroese, it’s out of necessity because of how remote they are from everything. For example, their main commodity is sheep and sheep farming, so textile is a big part of their tradition as well. That’s how I was first inspired to invest in specific global communities and utilise their main resources and try and create a unique product that tells a story that the buyer feels connected to.
Your favourite book, film, or music, that motivate & inspire you.
My favourite book is ‘The Heart of Darkness’. Music I would say is Bob Dylan.
Tell us something about your brand.
Our concept for the brand is to focus on creating heirloom quality unique styles but also to try and keep them seasonless. We work with a lot of natural cottons, that’s how we started. It’s a garment that’s meant to be worn all year round and we have everything from turtlenecks to tank tops and dresses to tunics. They’re meant to be layered, worn differently, and in every season. With my travelling some time I’m in multiple climate conditions and it’s good to have a solid sweater that is machine-washable, machine dryable, as well as washable by hand and you can lay it flat to dry. It looks pristine but also you can wear it in all sorts of weather conditions. You feel comfortable in all climates and you don’t need anything more or less. That was the main idea. We have since expanded into wool and angora. We still believe in small batch production, everything is handmade. We also want to inspire people to buy better and to be more conscious about what they’re buying. These are knits that are going to last a lifetime as long as they are well taken care of. We want people to feel like they’re making an investment in what they’re wearing versus just buying things that are on-trend. We focus on easy effortless sophisticated styles.
Also, most of our knits are one size so they fit a variety of body shapes and sizes and look different on every single person. The one-size-fits-all mentality is nice and easy for everyone. You don’t have to feel like you can’t wear something just because your body shape doesn’t match the model or the size is not available. This concept has been great for us, in my store everybody has loved it. We’ve seen it on a variety of sizes from Size 2 to Size 12, and it looks great on everyone.