04 Apr David Alford blows into town

Fashion week blew away and now it returns to blow us away
Fashion week has returned to the Mother City after literally blowing away the fist time round. Not letting weather interfere again the new venue, Salt River studios, will provide a rough, edgy and raw charm for the perfect comeback. All 36 designers who missed the opportunity to showcase their latest collections are ready to return to the runway and once again The Wire will make sure you have front row tickets to all the action!

DAVID ALFORD made history as the first Zimbabwean based fashion designer to showcase at New York Fashion Week and now he is set to tick MBFW Cape Town off his bucket list on the 7th of April at 17h00

Alexander McQueen was the reason he became interested in fashion and today a successful designer himself, David Alford relates his love for drama, theatre and all things fantasy into eccentric designs. Having debuted only three years ago at the 2015 Harare International Festival of the Arts, Alford’s brand has seen a meteoric rise with runways shows across the globe! We chat to him about his collection inspired by the Great Barrier Reef (straight from the runways of New York) which he will be showcasing at MBFW Cape Town 2017

Tell us about your new collection?
“On the Precipice,” sees me taking the brand in a new direction both technically and aesthetically. We have explored many new avenues such as underwater photography, embroidery and digitally developing and crafting our own prints to name a few.  From a personal perspective, it seemed the appropriate time to put forward a proposal of where I want the brand to go, especially as the collection debuted at New York Fashion Week 2017.
What inspired your collection? And where do you usually draw inspiration from?
My previous collections have all been quite autobiographical and evoked either monochromatic or gothic moods, so it was definitely time to show that we can do other things.
“On the precipice,” took form after reading an article on how the Great Barrier Reef is dying, which resonated with me as I have always been drawn to water and underwater creatures. I wanted the collection to be a symbol of the fine line that separates life and death and portrays the process of disintegration. I began by looking at the texture and internal structure of coral, which is almost identical to that of bone marrow. I wanted to feature print as the key thing and actually craft it myself. I began to look into creating the images of the coral into kaleidoscopes that would envelop the body so the final print almost removed any direct affiliation with the coral reef and turn it into something detailed and interesting.
What goes into preparing for a Fashion Week and how far in advance do you start planning?
There is so much that goes into preparing for a fashion week. I spend perhaps 2% of my time actually designing, the rest goes into managing my team, PR, photo and video shoots etc.  Time is usually minimal (we had 10 days get everything for the NYFW collection together, I am still not sure how we did it!).
What criteria do you use for selecting models for your show?
I like a strong look – a girl who is clearly independent and resolute. Perhaps the most important thing is that they must be performers as I believe a runway to be a stage where your collection should be ‘performed’. A fashion show should be a spectacle as an element of theatre goes a long way!
Which designer are you looking forward to most for Fashion Week?
It is my first time at MBFWCT so I am intrigued to see how the SA designers interpret fashion.
Describe your design ascetic?
Intimidating, powerful, slick, structured and confident.
What are your favorite colors, patterns & prints to work with?
At the moment it would have to be the material I used for this collection. It was a technically challenging print to execute because of the accuracy and understanding needed in order to have the final product correlate with the print.
What are the concepts that most interest you and how does it feed into your work?
An underlying theme that runs through every collection it the human curiosity to understand or accept the cycle of life and death. My collections have always featured elements of defense, armour, and disintegration. In nature I often find things appear more beautiful when falling apart and fabric is the perfect tool to recreate that as you can change its structure and appearance so easily.
You were the first ever Zimbabwean-based fashion designer to show at NYFW! Give us all the deeds?
New York was incredible!!!! Never in a million years did I think I would showcase there! I began designing again in Zimbabwe solely to keep busy and never considered it would turn into what it has. It filled me with confidence and affirmed my belief in my work. I’m not a particularly confident person and I express my feelings and my thoughts through fashion.
Which designer would you like to collaborate with?
Iris Van Herpen – if you know her work you will understand!!!
What decade should you have been born in and why (from a fashion perspective)?
If I had to relate my collections back to an era it would tie in very well with the whole Sex Pistols, punk, space race themes from the 70s and also the psychedelic look that was continuing/ developing on from the 60s.
Current obsessions?
I am looking at everything linear at the moment, art, architecture, prints etc.  I don’t know where the obsession came from, perhaps it’s building up to a collection, we’ll see…
You’re stranded on a desert island and can only bring five things from your closet — what do you grab?
Oh wow! First, would have to be my Louis Vuitton bags (there’s no way I’m leaving them behind!). Then my baggy drop-crotch pants, Timberland boots, camel coat and finally my silver glitter covered shoes (they’re just too amazing).

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