Designer, New York City from the small town of Duvergé, Dominican Republic
Why I love him: I describe his clothes like this: a bold fantasy. From the vibrancy of the prints to the tones and hues of colors he uses, his clothes exude a take-no-prisoners enchantment that also looks like a million bucks.
When was the first time you noticed that fashion was something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?
It was very rare, growing up to have store-bought clothes. My mother made roughly eighty percent of my siblings and I clothing. I clearly remember her crocheting booties, sewing, and embroidering since I was a toddler.
What made you want to pursue design vocationally as opposed to it just being a hobby?
I’ve always had a profound appreciation for fashion, having such a talented mother. Then as teenager I began modeling and traveling to Milan and Paris for fashion shows, for designers such as Versace Homme, Versus by Versace, Oscar De La Renta, Frankie Morello…the list goes on. I knew then that fashion was in my DNA. In 2003 I presented my first collection at Fashion Week in Phoenix, Arizona. My mentor and fashion illustration instructor, Alina, really gave me the confidence. She realized that I was self-taught and was only in her class to increase my illustration skills.
How much influence did your mother have on your career as a designer?
I watched my mother create patterns with chalk and muslin, although this was not a career path that she wanted for me. This was not a male profession in her opinion. Regardless, my desire to learn triumphed. I gathered every book on pattern-making for fashion design, even the Readers Digest “complete guide to sewing” I found at a thrift store. I read, studied, sewed and never stopped.
When you begin designing new garments, what is the starting point for you?
I always enjoy sketching my ideas on paper, although I often find textiles I love and the fabric will dictate its direction. Then I will make a pattern on the table, or by draping. But I always make a flat pattern of my final design for reference later.
From season to season, how do you keep yourself from burning out?
I’m continuously inspired by my surroundings, be it nature, old films, Parisian couturier’s…literally everything. I am always excited to make new collections. But it’s my husband mainly that centers me and my thoughts regarding future looks, because sometimes I can be all over the place.
The internet has changed the fashion industry in numerous ways. How have you utilized it and social media to get your work and your brand to a larger audience?
My popularity, thus far has been very organic. I use all social media outlets (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) as well as my own website to promote myself. I have been approached from individuals who have seen my work there, or on a referral basis.
Fashion blogs and style bloggers are front row at Fashion Week, something that didn’t happen ten years ago. Ten years from now, what do you hope the fashion industry looks like/is headed?
I am really excited about the possibilities that technology holds. I just saw a mirror that analyzes body form for weight-loss. Hopefully soon, three-dimensional, 360 degree cameras that can do a full body scan and give me custom measurements, so that my clients around the globe may be better served without a single fitting.
FAST FASHION FACTS
My aesthetic in five words: Luxury, Victorian, Caribbean, classy, gypsy.
My client is… A confident, fun, modern, jet-setter.
My dream client is… Yang Lan, Jennifer Lopez, Amelia Vega, Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, Madame President Clinton! They’re all so amazing, I couldn’t choose just one!
For more on Alexander and to purchase his designs, head to http://www.alexanderacosta.nyc!
Header photo: On Viktoria Buryeyeva: Chantilly Lace long sleeve beaded gown with gold rose detail. Photo by Zach Singh.