She is drop-dead gorgeous and stylish, and constantly divides her time among four of the most inspiring cities in the world: Vienna, Montréal, London and Paris – factors that I’m sure contribute to her beautiful designs. Alexa von Canisius may be a new player in the fashion design world, but her background as a boutique owner/buyer and style blogger gives her a unique edge over other fashion designers. She understands what the buyers are looking for and what drives the consumers, what they like from a collection and why, important knowledge that has guided her in creating a collection with a strong commercial appeal.
Englave: Where are you based?
Alexa: Vienna mainly, but also in Paris, London, and Montréal
Englave: Describe your brand in 3 words
Alexa: Glamourous, feminine and elegant
Englave: What unique characteristic do you incorporate in all your collections?
Alexa: I usually get inspired by colours, texture and fabrics.
Englave: What is your creative process when coming up with a new collection?
Alexa: First I need to select fabric, then I can start the creative process. Without fabric, I cannot be creative!
Englave: What is your proudest moment, your biggest achievement?
Alexa: The first time one of my pieces was worn on the Hollywood red carpet, which was then voted as Look of the Day by OK magazine and went viral! It was a thrilling moment!
Englave: You started as a buyer/boutique owner before going into fashion design. How has that helped you in the design process?
Alexa: Extremely, because I have experienced the other side of the business. As a store owner, you select the brands, go to trade fairs, and make a buying budget and know your sell through. As a designer you know exactly how to access the buyers, and you also know that your product has to be commercial. So as a designer and shop owner, you have the commercial sense, that a normal trained fashion designer would not have. So the business background is indeed a plus and totally essential.
Englave: What triggered you to dive into designing a collection? How are the challenges different from being a buyer/boutique owner?
Alexa: Designing my own collection was a natural progression from being a boutique owner. Its also something I always wanted to do, and it has been a passion of mine since I was a child. The challenges are very much similar because as a designer launching a label, you are also an entrepreneur. So you face the same risks with investing money, time, and of course the biggest challenge is to make sales and obviously have a profitable collection – which is the same if you are business owner of any industry. You have to chase your potential clients, close deals, negotiate, market your brand, work on PR, and finally sell your collection. Which is why it is so important if you are a designer, to have a solid business background and solid retail experience.
Englave: Where do you get your inspiration?
Alexa: My mood, magazines, reading material, fabrics
Englave: What is your biggest struggle and wish as an emerging designer? Alexa: The biggest struggle is to get your first foot in the door, and be bought by a big boutique who normally would be interested in stable well known brands.
Englave: What is next for your brand?
Alexa: to enter the Canadian market and Russian market.
Englave: Which designer do you want to collaborate with most?
Alexa: Karl Lagerfeld. He is a genius.
Englave: Where can we purchase your product?
Alexa: online www.alexavoncanisius.com and in selected multi brand shops in Austria, Dubai and soon to come in Canada.