Benjamin Alexander on preparing for his NZ Fashion Week debut

Designer Benjamin Alexander will make his NZ Fashion Week debut this month. Image supplied.

Benjamin Alexander will debut his eponymous label on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 with the talented designer looking forward to showcasing his thoughtful collection. He’s a familiar face to many New Zealanders after winning the first season of Project Runway in 2018 and Benjamin has been busy developing his own brand as well as learning the ropes in Bauer Media’s fashion department under the direction of PRNZ judge and fashion director Sally-Ann Mullin.

The self-assured young designer first came to our attention at a presentation for his Whitecliffe Master of Fine Arts programme on Fashion and Sustainability back in 2017. His considered approach to fashion and sophisticated aesthetic has continued to develop since then and it’s fair to say that Benjamin’s clothing is intelligent and oh so chic. The creation of his own label was a natural next step for the designer and with his immense potential it’s exciting to see where his future will take him.

We caught up with Benjamin to find out what prompted his decision to show at NZFW 2019, what we can expect to see and what NZFW’s focus on sustainability means to him.

What made you decide to do NZFW this year and what are you most looking forward to about your solo debut?
I honestly just felt like it was the right time to put on a show. The best feeling in the world is when the first model walks so that is probably what I’m most excited for.

Can you tell us a bit about what to expect from your show and what inspired the collection you’ll be presenting?
This show and collection is about our home, our friends and our family. It isn’t inspired by one particular thing, rather moments in time and the people around me. The show itself is really intimate.

NZFW is focused on sustainability and diversity this year, what does this mean for you and your label?
Consideration and respect are the biggest things for us. We create clothes that don’t jeopardise the ability for those in the process, or for the environment, to be valued within themselves and their community. Since day one and coming from a sustainable masters programme, the idea of sustainability hasn’t been something we have had to consider or incorporate into the brand because it’s always been a massive part of who we are and how we operate.

Every designer needs a supportive team to help them get everything done, can you tell us about your team and the people and partnerships that are helping bring your NZFW show to life?
We have great people around us that have helped shape and inform the business. Partnerships and collaborations are really important to me as they build a more solid and engaging story around the brand and what we do. In saying that, they physical team at Benjamin Alexander is myself and my sister, Alishia. We have both worked really hard to get to this point and we’re really excited to expand and bring people on board.

Being a designer is something that I have always wanted to be. I can’t explain how, when or why, it’s just who I am.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I would say my personal style is quite classic, but I like to mix things up like wearing a shirt with some really old jeans, a couple pieces of antique jewellery and a great pair of Gucci loafers.

Where can we find you when you’re not in your workroom and how do you relax?
I love interiors and art, so I’d probably be out hunting for pieces to buy for the house.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I think our upcoming show will be the highlight so far.

What is the first thing you’ll do after your show ends?
We’re hosting a public showroom the following day at the same venue where you’ll be able to purchase five looks from the collection as well as a few other secret things I’ve been working on, so we will be preparing for that.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
Skinny jeans.

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