First-class honours in Fashion and Textile Design with Enterprise from the University of Portsmouth, former Clothing Technical Assistant at Debenhams, freelance designer and art teacher – budding fashion designer Alexandra Marin.
Inspired by the traditional Romanian costume, her SS17 Roots collection made it to the New Designers 2016 exhibition where it was admired by fashion professionals from all around the world.
Despite her startling success, Alexandra is humble, sweet, polite and proud of her origins. She grew up in Bacău, a small city in the region of Moldavia, Romania and started to attend a Fashion Design course alongside her studies at the age of 12. And indeed her efforts paid off.
She obtained her first Fashion Design Certificate with a maximum score in 2011. This certificate was proof that she can do anything she dreams of. So, Alexandra kept with the hard work.
“This year I was awarded with the John Lay Traditional Media Award Awarded for innovative hand-embroidery. I feel so proud of myself. Those sleepless nights at university paid off eventually.”
When asked about where her main inspiration comes from, she says from literally everything: “Culture, surroundings, reading, movies, people, attitudes etc.”
Alexandra also loves reading stories behind established or up-and-coming companies in their ‘about us’ section or watching ‘behind the scenes’ videos of successful designers who are not afraid to show the reality of the fashion industry.
Given the diversity of styles, characters and themes, having a muse is far too restrictive. However, her final year collection “Roots” had a specific source of inspiration – Alexandra’s rich Romanian heritage.
Distance from home played an important part, too. Distance from the traditions of childhood, especially those days spent in her Grandparents’ countryside house during the winter holidays when neighbours, dressed in the traditional costume, would come to sing carols at their door.
“I think I had to be away from it in order to see its true beauty, but also ever since I have decided to study fashion abroad I knew, some way or another, that I will dedicate my final year major project to my culture.”Although it is hard to stay away from the captivating and graceful Romanian costume, she didn’t want to make her garments heavily folkloric. Rather, she started from a refined icon of beauty. Her collection is a sophisticated mixture of simplicity, elegance and occasionally intricate hand-embroidery. When it comes to fabrics, they have to suit what the project is about. Alexandra admits her weak spots are the neoprene and the velvet.
After the hand-in, she presented her “Roots” collection at the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries Graduate Show 2016, which was followed by a static exhibition. Alexandra then found out that her collection was going to be displayed at the prestigious New Designers 2016. After the collection came back from London, it was exhibited in the Fashion and Textile studio for a while.
“The studio still has a pretty large scale poster of one of my outfits and some smaller ones with the rest of the collection.”
At the present moment, Alexandra is concentrating on making her breakthrough into the fashion industry. She’s trying – emphasis on trying – to stay away from undertaking other projects.
Fashion always renews itself, so the work of a fashion designer never ceases. It’s about keeping up to date with new technologies and techniques. That being said, she is working on a commercial work portfolio, teaching a bit of Illustrator and Photoshop for fashion students and, occasionally, taking on art or sewing projects.
A typical day of a fashion design graduate starts with coffee and toasties – all these in her new flat. When not teaching or creating, Alexandra focuses mostly on applying for jobs, preparing for interviews and generally refraining from becoming the next Martha Stewart.
Recently, she discovered that sometimes dressing herself can be more challenging than creating. She loves both bright and neutral colours. Her outfit choices vary according to the occasion and, most importantly, on how her hair looks.
“It definitely depends on how my hair looks – if I am having a really good hair day I take full advantage of it. What I can tell from looking through my wardrobe is that I don’t have many prints – something has to really stand out in order for me to buy it.”
She hopes in 10 years time to have finished her dream house and have her own brand in London. But promises not to forget those closest to her – her parents. Eventually, she would like to start up a business in her home city for her parents to look after.
For additional information, check out her webpage here.