Upon graduating from Central Saint Martins (CSM) and Royal College of Art, Alex Mullins started his eponymous menswear brand in 2014. He soon gained recognition for his playful approach to men’s classics, incorporating tailoring, denim, sportswear and showing on schedule at London Fashion Week and latterly, London Collections: Men.
In 2019, Mullins made the decision to pivot his business and re-launch as a ‘creative studio’. This has enabled him to broaden the remit of his work to incorporate editorial direction, costume and capsule collections for men and women.
Could you talk us through your decision to pivot your brand?
I am currently exploring what it means to be a fashion company in 2019. Through an interdisciplinary approach, I will broaden the remit of my work to include design development and production for TV and film, creative concept for photography, explore sustainable textile production and develop capsule collections.
What does the move to Poplar Works mean for you and your business?
I am over the moon to be joining the CFE/LCF at Poplar Works. I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences with the community of designers and learning from their experiences too. Not only will the studio and support allow me to take risks in this new chapter of my business, but I’m looking forward to outreach opportunities, such as working with the Make for Change production unit.
What are the specific ways it will benefit you?
As my business has undergone major restructure, these next steps are unchartered territory for
me, so I need help to figure out what this new type of business looks like through coaching, mentoring for myself and support for my employees and of course the subsidised studio space so I can continue to work whilst developing out long-term logistics. Gaining the support from the CFE/ Poplar Works will allow me to take vital risks in exploring this venture, as a test bed for an innovative business model and structure.
Where do you see your business in the next year and next five years?
I am developing a sub brand of hand-dyed graphic jerseys, creating a new brand identity for the online store and social media campaigns and exploring sustainable textiles concepts, developing innovative ways in which we can recycle old stock of garments and textiles in to new fabrics for interiors.
Poplar Works is about building a nurturing creative community. How will you contribute to this?
Having taught at a number of univerities, I can bring my skills in the educational sector and specific experience of participating in CFE’s Accelerate program, offering advice on
how to best utilise the support opportunities and the expert coaches. I like the idea of being a ‘designer in residence’ at the Poplar Works who other occupants can come to, for advice.
LCF at Poplar Works is committed to giving back to the local community through the creative talent housed there. Can you talk a bit about your plans for giving back?
With a background in teaching fashion illustration, I would run a series of drawing classes at Poplar Works. Providing a model subject to draw, who would be dressed up and fully styled. We would do a variety of drawing exercises, with a range of mixed media to warm up the class, focusing on developing technique and skills with the aim to have a great piece of work to take home. Hopefully this is something myself and the other designer residences can work on together so the participants have a variety of styles to work with.