Meet Susan Alexandra, The Designer Bringing Rainbow-Hued Nostalgia to Fashion
Susan Alexandra’s world is magnetic. Her Chinatown apartment (and studio) is covered with her dazzling, beaded bags and jewelry in every color of the rainbow. After joining a jewelry class, Susan Korn’s kitschy, hand-painted jewelry caught the attention of everyone around her and her brand, Susan Alexandra was born. She then continued to launch her beaded bags as an extension of her jewelry line, and the brand gained a cult following that is growing larger and larger each day. With all of her production based in New York, Susan aims to build an ever-growing community and run a business that supports women, promotes inclusivity and adds a splash of color into everyone’s lives. We sat down with Susan Alexandra to hear more about her life in New York, her inspirations and a new Ready-to-Wear collection.
Where did you grow up?
What’s your sign?
Scorpio, Gemini Rising, Aquarius Moon.
What message do you want people to take away from your brand?
Joy, vibrance, and inclusivity.
How did you get into the world of fashion and designing?
I moved to NYC from Chicago with the intent of being a stylist. I quickly learned it wasn’t the right path for me. Then, I interned everywhere I could, from Jean Paul Gaultier to Interview Magazine, and learned everything I could. From there, I found a full-time job working for a Soho-based jewelry designer, which is where I learned so much about running a business, the psychology behind consumer patterns and customer service. It laid the foundation that led me to create my own business; I took jewelry classes and people were asking about where they could buy the pieces. I felt I was holding on to something greater and took that leap of faith.
I noticed all your bags and jewelry have pretty unique, vibrant names. How do you go about naming your designs?
When I name a design, I trust my gut with what the name can be. I usually name them after inspiring moments or people that surround me.
I admire that your products are handmade. What is the production process like, how did you find your team?
My production is entirely local. Each bag can take up to 10-15 hours. The production process is entirely made of women, most of them have recently immigrated to the US and work remotely. This is an unusual production process but that is what makes the magic of this brand is.
What inspires you, how did you deal with creative blocks, if you have any?
I don’t think there is a solution to moving through creative blocks but time. It is the fear of every artist to not be creative. Besides traveling and walking around the city (which are great influences), what I learned is to be compassionate with yourself and self-confident.
How does living in New York shape your creative process? What do you like/dislike about it?
It’s endlessly inspiring. The culture, the people, the different activities, it’s all great stimulus. But the overwhelming amount of things to see and do does not provide time to rest and can be exhausting.
If you could pick three people to collaborate with, who would they be and why? Alexandra Ocasio- Cortez, Frida Kahlo, and my Mum. I like to work with women who I find the most inspiring.
Do you have a favorite bag?
It’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite children, it’s impossible haha! I love the new designs but somehow always go back to the classics.
What advice do you have for upcoming artists and designers in your field?
Say yes to everything, work hard and under great mentors. Listen to the feedback. Go out in the world and meet as many people as possible.
Are there any upcoming releases you are excited about, what’s next for Susan Alexandra?
My team and I are so excited about the launch of our Ready-to-Wear next fashion week. We are working on all the samples right now, it is going to be exquisite!
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