Alix Higgins makes clothes for the internet

You can instantly recognize Alix Higgins’ designs by their technicolor prints and sporadically placed text. The 28-year-old namesake designer, always inspired by Tumblr, has found his niche creating clothes that play at the intersection of youth culture and the internet. Higgins’ signature aesthetic is as if your MySpace was dug up and snippets of your About Me were scanned, pasted, and printed onto long nylon reems.

Take the glitchy sunset strip, for example, which looks like it came out of a printer with a cartridge running out of ink and adorned with words like “Fairy”, “Baby” and “Immortal”. Perfectly suited amid the resurgence of the Y2K aesthetic and no doubt why Alix Higgins’ designs have been popular among the likes of Grimes and Hunter Schafer.

Nearly two years ago, during the pandemic-induced shutdowns, a photo of Higgins wearing one of his own designs in his studio became the brand’s first unofficial “lookbook.” The image prompted a flurry of orders, first from friends and then from locals in Sydney, Australia, giving Higgins the excuse he needed to launch his eponymous brand.

Growing up in a remote coastal town in Australia, Higgins felt deprived of a creative outlet, which led him to seek it out at the most extreme level; an early obsession with fashion history from the age of 10 led Higgins to pursue her own fashion fantasy. This pursuit took him to Paris, where he completed a master’s degree in fashion at the Institut Français de la Mode and worked as a print designer at Marine Serre during the brand’s rise to popularity.

Now back in Sydney, Higgins has just released her first full collection, A Gift From The Fall, for her eponymous label. The pieces feature a lot of text, with key words and phrases taken from the title of the collection. The collection’s name refers to Higgins’ experience of finding something positive in a time of so much turbulent change. “When I was preparing some of the fabrics for the show samples, my printer asked me if I was okay. He was very concerned that I was dancing on men’s graves,” he tells me, half-jokingly.

For a brand still in its infancy, there is a sense of growth and maturity in Higgins’ collection. It’s not necessarily the introduction of understated, watered-down pieces, as candy colors are still present, as are form-fitting silhouettes. Instead, it’s the move towards more classic fashion pieces, the result of Higgins’ more perfected draping and sewing techniques at IFM that allow her to merge the old with the new.

What began as an exploration of color and printed text during his diploma and master’s collections grew into a comprehensive collection. There are parallels to Marine Serre’s second-skin printed pieces, though Higgins’s seem reinvented for the more fluid and expressive consumer – those who, like him, grew up scouring the internet spending hours on Tumblr feeds.

For Higgins, hosting her first show at Australian Fashion Week last spring was a crash course in realizing a vision. Thankfully, armed with a team of friends-turned-collaborators, A Gift From The Fall has become a gift for all of us. To mark the release of the collection, we caught up with the visionary designer to understand the appeal of print, Australia’s most controversial silhouette and the brand’s future plans.

On camouflage and polka dots

“I’ve always done the gradient sunset stripe. I try every season to challenge myself and expand my vision for my brand, to see how I can maybe do things I hate, in my own way. .Last season was camouflage and I was keen to explore more militant styles. That’s where silk camouflage came from. This season was really exciting to work with. I wanted to do polka dots, this which I usually hate, but they are really fresh, lime green. [the] polka dots and camouflage, these are prints that seemed a little dated and offbeat to me, but they are also iconic and universal, so I tried to reinterpret them. In the end, I love them. »

On the muses of the brand

“It’s tricky. I’m always inspired by musicians and performers in particular. That frenetic energy on stage is the immediate starting point when I think about design. This [also] helps a lot of my friends to be quite creative in their own personal style, so they inspire me. Plus, it’s a lot of what I want to wear.

On skirts like “menswear” and speedos on catwalks

“I love wearing skirts and I identify as a man. For me, it was never a political statement. Most of my friends are gay and wear what they want. If it’s a skirt from a 2008 Prada collection with an awful sweater, so that’s it. It’s never stopped me, whether it’s menswear or womenswear. My brand is the It’s universal, because I think that’s how people dress.

When it comes to Speedos on the catwalks, my brand is entirely, unashamedly, commercial. Swim is a commercial product that sells very well to me but I also think it’s the height of sex appeal. A lot of what I envisioned for the show showed off the body so swimsuits allow me to build a figure [for] the body using a speedo base.

Fashion as a tool for self-discovery and self-expression

“That has always been my brand thesis and what fashion has been for me. It was always about communicating my identity. I don’t quite understand what drives trends and why people care so much about them. I think brand allegiance is much more interesting. I become obsessed with designers who communicate what interests me, [and] when they still communicate those same ideas a season later. My mark has always been [being] an identity tool for people, and tools that I couldn’t find anywhere else on the market.

And after?

“The Australian Fashion Week show was such a big moment for me. It was my first show, and it opened a lot of doors for me. So far, I’m really enjoying the sparkle and warmth that There will be another show, and I’ll be releasing a small collection at the end of the year. I’m also working on my band, Patamon, now that I have some time between collections. “Other things in the mix. Firming up production and brand codes. Exploring partnerships and hopefully a space offering soon. Overall, the future looks bright.”

You can buy Alix Higgins’ A Gift From The Fall collection here.

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