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Graduate Spotlight: MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear, Alexis Housden

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen
Written by
Published date
05 January 2016

Today we speak to Alexis Housden who studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology Menswear at LCF and continued onto MA Fashion Design Technology Menswear.

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen

Photography by Felix Cooper and styling by Anders Sølvsten Thomsen

Tell us about your final collection?

It all began after a monumental break up which happened around the same time as me starting my MA. At the start it was difficult for me to get something going and I thought that the best thing to do was to use what I was feeling as inspiration for my collection. I started off by doing research on depression and then I moved on to looking at German expressionism but then I departed from that and started to look at veils in the way they are used in the west, so, for mourning and weddings.
There is clear evidence of that in my work which uses Tuiles for example but I didn’t just try and represent mourning and loss in my work I wanted to represent what happens after mourning and loss.
Shiva, the Judaic practice of mourning was another inspiration for my work because I wanted to convey the idea that mourning is an integral part of life because it allows us to let go and look to the future. What generally happens after any hardship is a feeling of peace, acceptance and strength – hardship can bring strength.
Some people have misunderstood my collection, asking me how my work can be about depression when it is so light and airy. But my collection isn’t just about depression it is about the aftermath – the life and joy you feel once you are no longer sad.
When someone leaves you, you think you are going die but you don’t – everything ends up OK and life continues – the world continues to be light and wonderful.

Where did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and then BA Menswear at LCF.

Reflecting back on your MA, and thinking of any prospective students thinking about starting an MA, what would be your bits of advice to them?

I would say that you should be prepared to compromise because you may come across barriers that effect your work like not having enough money. However, this can be quite beneficial because where you don’t have money for a certain material, you are forced to be creative and think about how you can replicate or even create something entirely new which, ultimately could make your work unique and make it stand out more.
To give an example, whilst I was doing a piece, I needed feathers for it but I couldn’t afford them so I cut strips of organza, ruffled them, stitched them on to a coat and flattened them. The end result was something different that other people perhaps were not doing.
My second advice would be; as long as you have money to eat, go for it.
And thirdly, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons, a lot of people think this industry is about glamour but it isn’t, you really have to love it because it is hard work. You have to give your craft your ‘last full measure of devotion’ to quote Abraham Lincoln, so if you are that person then do it.

Why did you choose LCF and MA Fashion Menswear?

I chose to do my BA here because I heard so many great things about it and I knew it was a strong degree. I chose to do my MA here for employability reasons as after my BA, I took a year out but I got a little lost – I wanted to do something but it went a little wrong so I thought doing an MA would help me in the right direction.
Also, I received the Harold Tillman scholarship which was encouraging and helped me to do my MA.

What have you found the most enjoyable and interesting parts of your course? And what have you found the most challenging?

One of the best things about the course was the people, they are great, it makes life so much easier and so much fun. I feel quite lucky to be surrounded by good people. The technical help has been great, Annie was great and Patrick and Claudine too – they really know their stuff.

I studied another undergrad before coming to LCF and I wrote a lot of essays so I am comfortable with essay writing but I don’t think the essays are academic here – the course is more about making.
Also, sometimes me and my design tutor didn’t always agree but I think that was healthy for the creative process.

What was your favourite thing about studying in London?

I have lived in London for 10 years on my own so I have been exposed to lots of great things. Obviously, in London, there is easy access to great culture – so many great galleries – open for long time and some of the greatest things in the world. We live in a city where everything is possible at any time of the day and that is fantastic.
My favourite thing to do is walk around – I walk everywhere, at least 5 miles a day because everything in the city is beautiful, even the ugly things are beautiful. One thing I love doing when I am feeling sad is to stand on the millennium bridge, in between the Tate modern and St. Paul’s cathedral. On one side, you have the Christopher Wren monument to God and on the other side, a modern monument to culture. This really makes me think, the world is beautiful – How can you be sad when you have such beautiful things around you?

Have you won any prizes?

Winner of the LCF collection of the year award 2013 and first runner up in the Hand & Lock Prize for Embroidery.

Have you been in the media?

There was a lot of press for the LCF show in 2013. Shots of my BA collection were featured in Hunger magazine, LOVE Magazine, s mag and many more.

Have you undertaken any work experience or done a placement whilst at LCF? Where and how did you secure this work experience or placement?

I worked at McQueen – it was an incredible experience but also very rigorous. Thankfully, around 10am every day we would get loads of chocolate and red bull.
Even though it was hard, what I learnt there was beyond incredible – the kind of techniques I do now, I don’t think I would have been able to do had I not interned at McQueen. They open you up to the world of essentially what is couture. Even though it is a ready-to-wear brand – They open you up to insane fabric manipulation. I think what I’ve taken from my time there is evident in my BA and more so in my MA. It became my thing and I fell in love with it. I also worked with young, new designers – helping them out.

Describe your work in two words…


Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?

My ex was my muse for both of my collections.

What are your future plans and how do you think the course will help you to realise these plans?

I’m currently applying for a number of internships. I want to continue doing what I love doing and I want to do womenswear couture because I can’t really think of anything better than making and designing and being part of making the most ridiculous confection the fashion world has to offer, twice a year. It is the one sector of fashion where commerciality doesn’t come into it and you can use the most amazing fabrics in the world and work with them in the way you want. I can’t think of anything better than that.