Alice Waese is both a designer and an artist and illustrator who creates beauty in the form of hand-crafted pieces: from a unisex, ready-to-wear line to artisanal jewelry encrusted with gems. Her brand stands out for its timeless, consciousness and visual exploration. Experimental surrealism has almost become part of the DNA of the label. Within the framework of her last SS16 collection, we talked to Alice about such an essential inspiration and her timeless designs.
What is your personal and cultural background? What brought you to the fashion industry?
I was born in Toronto, my father is an artist and my step mother is a milliner, so my upbringing was a balance between fine art and craft. Both were presented as equally important, I think this combination became my culture and helped to spark my interest in studying fashion.
Describe your designs in one word.
Since you studied Fine Art, how would you say your connection with art and surrealism influences your design work?
Art and design are really linked for me. I make tiny sculptures as jewelry, and my drawings are always embroidered or printed onto the collection. There is no real separation between my art practice and the collections. I am always inspired to make the design based on my own art as well as the works of other artists.
Why do you believe a timeless concept is so important in our times of fast fashion and constant trend flow?
I believe something that is precious or valuable shouldn’t have an expiration date. I think the seasons really promote disposable fashion. Not only is it a concept I am not comfortable with, but it is also environmentally disrespectful. It implies a type of wastefulness and a mentality of constant need for newness.
Did you face negative feedback and criticism? If yes, is it pushing you forward? What’s your opinion on that?
Of course there is always criticism, and I think it should be taken seriously. Really looking at it, I like to see if this feedback can help me to grow, whether it is something that I can agree with or not. To me criticism means someone is taking the time to look at what I’ve done, and that in itself is a compliment.
Design-wise, would you say your collections reflect your personal style?
Yes, for sure, I always design for myself first. I don’t know how else I would work. I do all the fittings on myself too.
Your recent SS16 collection takes inspiration from nature. What inspires you on a daily basis?
Nature is always inspiring me. I do like to find inspiration in art, poetry, and traveling, as well as the more mundane everyday things. Those things that get overlooked in daily life, like the pattern on the shell of a pistachio nut or the center of a flower.
Do you have any big long-term plans for the future?
Lots of them! Nevertheless, I’m trying to live in the moment (smiles).
Alice Waese SS16 fine jewelry is exclusively available at Hostem in the UK.