Meet the Maker: Alexandra Cook

Meet the Maker: Alexandra Cook
Hi! I am Alexandra Cook, a London based freelance illustrator, textiles and jewellery designer.
I have a background and degree in fashion and textiles being a graduate from Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion. I essentially started this project-turned-brand straight after uni, but my god, has it come a long way!
 

Brief Beginnings:

After studying my BA for 3 years I realised that perhaps the fast world of fashion was not entirely my cup of tea. I still love lots of aspects about it but internships were a bit too soul destroying for me. I thought “there must be another way?!”. I worked hard at my other passion, illustration, to become the freelancing illustrator I am now. Well, lets be honest, I threw myself into it... At the deep end, not knowing how to swim..
I splashed about, gasping for air for a while, nonetheless this didn’t deter me! Freelancing can sometimes be a constant uphill struggle. However it is those exact uphill struggles that make the little life wins all the more exhilarating. By working as a full time freelance illustrator and also by having my brand I am able to fill the different voids of work that freelancing challenges you with and juggle the best of both worlds. Not exactly the 9-5 we’re all more used to but that’s just how I like it.
 

About ALXNDRA:

I wanted to create a brand to help fix the cravings I kept getting, turning my flat 2-D illustrations into physical products.
I started small with little ghost enamel pins (still my best selling mascot character in my store!) and was amazed by the response I received. I still remember, sitting in that high street sandwich cafe with the over-priced envelopes my boyfriend and I picked up from a stationery store (because I was definitely NOT prepared) packing 80-90 enamel pins from the orders only the day before! I wrote out every single address in awe looking at how far and wide we were sending these ghost pins out across the world!  Now I had sampled a taste and I wanted to see how far I could take it.
 A few years later and many, MANY product experiments along the way, here I am with ALXNDRA. A more fully-fledged season-less textiles and accessories brand. With an East meets West aesthetic drawing inspirations from Japanese culture and "Kawaii" to create unique pieces. Still a work in progress but more on that to come!
 

My Ethos:

Everything I design, I design thoughtfully. I care about how sustainable it is; how it was printed, if it was eco-friendly and with longevity in mind. I wish to create unique things with a slow fashion ethos. Fast fashion doesn’t consider this. It shouldn’t matter how long it takes to create something beautiful, I don’t worry about these things. As they say good things take time. I’d rather make something you treasure than any kind of quick fix materialism.

 What is a Season-Less brand?

Being “Seasonless” means ignoring the traditional fashion calendar timed to spring and fall collections, instead opting for a more personalised calendar. Individual products or capsule collections are released whenever the timing feels right. This is then allowing the maker to create better products without the pressure or rush to release at the “correct” times.

 How does Slow-Fashion Work?

Slow-Fashion is an awareness and approach to creating fashion that considers the processes and resources needed to make better products. It particularly focuses on the sustainability aspect of these processes. For the maker, it considers that in order to create better garments, realistically it takes more time as it values fair treatment for people, animals and the planet. For the customer it involves buying better-quality items that will last for longer, opposing the fast fashion trends that increase on global landfill waste.
 

Why Japan?:

It feels like I have always been influenced by Japanese culture but I guess it probably stems from watching anime as a kid as it seems to be the case for most westerners. I suppose some would call me a Japanophile: a person who has an interest in japanese culture, possibly could be looked upon as slightly obsessive but I would say that’s a harsh estimation if you do not know the person directly!
 My feeling is because the culture is so different to ours in the west, it’s like there is always something new to learn about it. Japan became a dream destination for me and I finally was able to experience a two week trip back in 2016 and it definitely surpassed all my hyped up expectations! It was spring, it was beautiful and two weeks was not enough! I have since visited various parts of japan two more times and it never disappoints. I have accumulated a handful of incredible friends out there too which is a wonderful excuse to visit and be able to see new sides to a place that can be viewed differently as a anti-tourist. There are invariably new things to discover, whether it is the food, local traditions or the multiple temples and their tales. It intrigues me and regularly stimulates my project work.
 

Other Inspirations?:

Even if Japanese culture and folklore might take up around 85% of my inspiration brain space, that still leaves room for a few other things!
  •  Greek and Roman antiquity
  • Modern and vintage photography
  • Fashion and street style
  • Music
  • Gallery and museum trips
  • Various modern artists and painters (too many to list)
  • Children’s books & graphic novels
  • & My illustration contemporaries

 

 

Photograph of my David Bowie "Ziggy Stardust" album on Vinyl.
 

More on Freelancing:

I have been lucky enough to work privately for small clients and also be involved in bigger projects such as fabric print design for designer Sabinna, band merchandise for multiple independent musicians and many enjoyable collaborations with some great independent companies and artists (Family Store Brighton, Super UnofficialBlack Water Studios etc). I am also a published illustrator with card and stationery company Whale & Bird with some of my designs having been stocked in shops such as Paperchase and Scribbler.
To view more of my illustration work, you can, via my portfolio on Behance: click here.

Is there anything you would like to do more of?

Yes! The ultimate curse of a creative is that we are never satisfied. I would love to:
  • Create more fabric prints/textile designs for other brands.
 Such as Swimwear or maybe another slow fashion brand!
  • More collaborations with other artists or brands.
Whether this is within my own brand (which will definitely happen) or ultimately other companies. Collabs are one of my favourite types of projects to work on and I would love to expand on this within the textiles or illustration sector of my work.
  • Create more scarves.
My mother has always had a passion for textiles and beautiful fabrics so I guess it got passed onto me. Turning a collective of beautiful colours, lines and mark making into fabric is always so satisfying. The way the fabric flows adds that extra dimension to my drawings. It’s so exciting to see that outcome and scarves are such a simple translation of this notion. I can’t wait to do more of this.
  • Complete a graphic novel. 
 

Contact Alexandra: 

If you would like to contact me for any of the above you can:
  • via my Contact Page
  • or alternatively send me an email via alxndracook@gmail.com
Please feel free to contact me for commission work. Whether you are a company or just an individual looking for a unique gift! I am happy to answer all emails about possible illustration requests. I also offer wholesale on select items. You can email me for any wholesale enquiries via the contact options above.
 

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ALXNDRA Collaborates: Yoyo The Ricecorpse

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