To celebrate the recent launch of The BULLETT Shop, we’re sitting down with some of the most talented and fresh emerging designers who have stocked our new store with their unique wears for Fall ’13. This week, we sat down with the young and ambitious Thai export, Alax W Diamond, to talk about his collection that is quickly gathering steam. The 27-year-old Parsons drop out is fearless. When asked if leaving school to launch his new line in a foreign city was a daunting challenge, Diamond seemed unphased, citing the challenge as his motivation. This air of confidence is fittingly replicated through his line itself.
Garnering inspiration from Japanese traditional warrior uniforms and origami, Diamond’s line means to equip his customer with a tough and yet feminine strength to take on the day. Interweaving techniques in print, texture, and structure, Diamond creates a cohesive collection that is wearable, and yet startlingly intricate and well-conceived. Bright and abstract patchworks of color pepper trousers, skirts and jackets, yet upon closer investigation reveal themselves as digitally replicated and reworked neon insect and snake prints. These statement prints are expertly placed alongside more monochrome pieces, which alternatively experiment with asymmetrical hemlines and unusual proportions.
The traditional nods to Japanese culture are updated by unique silhouettes and industrial, futuristic materials, most notably, a trimming detail that appears on several outfits to look like braided leather, but is actually repeated holographic squares. While Diamond’s collection pays homage to Asian aesthetics, the collection is hugely motivated by his new love and home, New York City, and the women that he sees on its streets everyday. Constantly inspired by their bold ensembles, he designs for confidence, warning that his collection finds no friends with the timid or faint of heart.
I want to talk a little about your origins in Thailand first. I know that you left a few styling jobs in Thailand to come to Parsons. What instigated that transition?
So I actually started in fashion when I was 19, in Thailand. I started to assist a stylist for a big magazine, and after that I became a stylist myself. After two or three years I decided that New York was the place to be. I went to Parsons, and after that, I felt like being a designer was everything for me. The process, how you think about every element, how you make it, how you produce your clothes–that is challenging, and I love that. It’s in my blood right now.
Why did you drop out of Parsons early?
I got to Parsons and I took a few classes, but I decided to leave and get an intern and work with some of the companies here. And when I began to design my own line, I feel like I learned a lot more from that experience, especially working with a PR company. It feels like a real job, like it’s like real world.
When did you begin designing? Was that something that you’ve always been interested in?
I don’t know when. Seriously. But when you know yourself, you just know. I’ve been in fashion forever. It’s in my blood, sometimes you don’t know but for me it just showed up.
Let’s talk about the Fall ’13 collection. You seem to enjoy using digitally manipulated prints. How do you create these signature textiles?
We put a mood board together from different sources of inspiration. And then I start talking with my team, and we send each other some pictures, and then we choose what feels right. Like in particular, the snake print, that felt right to me. My clothes have a lot of print, but they are also very structured. I love sophisticated cuts and detail that you can see in one piece. But I try to use all of those elements and make something modern.
I know that you were inspired by Japanese culture for this collection, from Japanese warriors and origami. Have you always been inspired by this imagery?
Something came up in my process for the fall collection. I wanted something that looks strong, and when you see it you recognize these influences. I like the warrior theme, because the clothes can tell how you feel, how you want to show yourself to people. I want to show how strong women are.
You talk a lot about your clothes acting as a type of armor and protection. Who is your customer, who does she represent, and what is she protecting herself from?
For my girl, she is not afraid to dress up. That’s my girl. She wants something new. She’s not trying, but she’s not afraid to wear anything. Some people say, ‘I want to wear something simple’, but that’s not my girl. My girl feels like she’s fresh, she’s fun. It’s New York City. You’re ready for it. That’s my girl. It doesn’t need to be pretty, but when you put on the clothes you feel confident.
So who are your favorite inspirations?
Rihanna. She’s not scared of anything. I feel that she’s very confident.
What do you see coming next? I know you’re in a few stores. Can you tell me anything about your expansion?
We’re in Z Collection and we’re expanding to BULLETT! We have a lot of new stores in the works, but I can’t tell you about that yet. My friends in Thailand are actually huge fans of BULLETT, so they are really looking forward to the launch, and to be able to see my clothes online. I am hoping to expand the brand in general, I want to add a whole line of accessories.