The Alex Christopher 
Black Carpet Event

– Thursday night saw me pack up my ‘journo essentials’ and hop on a train to Manchester!

MAC ‘Girl About Town’ lippy is always an essential

It is quite a daunting prospect going to an unfamiliar city, alone, at night and you have no idea where you are going, but good old Google maps had my back and after woolfing down a cheeseburger, wandering through a wine market and listening to a rather good busker I arrived at the Manchester Barton Arcade on time and ready for the Alex Christopher ‘Black Carpet’ event.

Upon arrivival I was met by many champagne flutes – which is always good for when you need some ‘dutch courage’.

Sheffield lad Alex Christopher opened his first ‘Each to Their Own’ clothing boutique above the Sheffield hair salon ‘Wigs and War paint’ and a second boutique in Leeds having set up studio in 2005 designing and producing the clothes that he liked and wanted to wear.
Alex is known for dressing the guys and gals of MTV’s hit ‘mockumentary’ ‘Geordie Shore’ and
I was lucky enough to interview Alex to get the run down on what really makes him tick as a designer, which celebrity he would most like to dress and how he has created a cult.

As a northern born designer, do you feel that your pieces reflect a nothern style
Alex:  Definitly, very much a nothern thing which probably started back in 2005, it took me a few years of getting beaten up before people from Sheffield started wearing it, but then all of a sudden it just like went Boom. It sort of spread through, it was weird it was like Rotherham, Barnsley, then it went to Wakefield, it was a bit like oh my god, what have I created? It spread like wildfire and then the general progression was to open a shop in Leeds where I was getting a lot of customers from, so I opened the Leeds store and it went even more nuts and it’s just gone from there.

What would you say a nothern style is?
Alex: Now it’s changed a lot its done a complete full circle from when I first statred, 5,6, 7 years ago. There is still a lot of guys wanting the old stuff  prefering things very fitted, painted on, with scarves, cardigans – all of that. Now it’s all oversized and printed. I have noticed this changed massively if you look at my new stuff now, I’m not neglecting those customers that still want the old style but we are progressing to lots of different prints and giving people the option to wear things longer.

What would you say the next step for the ‘Each To Their Own’ boutiques is? Do you plan to go anywhere else in the north? Or are you conquering the south now?
Alex: Hmm well there are opportunities in Newcastle which obviously the Geordie Shore type thing, but I don’t want the brand to be known as the Geordie Shore brand, theres more depth to it than that, the way that it’s worn on there is not particulally the way that I wear it. I massively respect James from Geordie Shore for wearing the Alex Christopher stuff in a new sort of way.
I have been looking for the passed 12 months in Birmingham, Birmingham is the capital of the midlands it’s got a catchment. It is one of the few cities that hasn’t lost it’s identity to a shopping mall like Sheffield has on the outskirts.

What is your favourite piece of your new collection ‘Black Carpet Glamour?
Alex: I love the suit,

 I have been wanting to do suits for so long and I am taking a massive gamble and invested so much into the suits, I have wanted to do it for so long. Back five years ago when you are talking about your ‘Wakefield lads’, they wouldn’t have wanted to entertain a suit and a tailored look. In womenswear I love the chained back maxi dresses.  Paul said how about we design some red carpet things, get it on the celebs.

Onto that…who is your dream celebrity to dress?
Alex: At the moment Rita, Rita Ora, shes one of those girls that you can tell she has so much imput to what she wears, I love her becuase she’s not frightened of stepping over the mark and wearing something a little bit edgy and funky, still on point with a twist just like my stuff. On trend with an Alex Christopher twist.

Have you always had a passion for creation and making people feel sexy?
Alex: I used to back in the day and still do now to an extent, although I design for me and what I like, I know that not everybody is going to walk into this store and say oh yeah thats mint, I am gonna look great in that. I am like that fits nice, that looks good and if thats the case, I am happy.

How do you think your clothing has caught on? Your pieces are so easily recognisable, how do you think this has happened?
Alex: Erm, I noticed a massive hole in the market for menswear. So many people used to hang around in Barnsley back in the Lucorum, Hed kandi. These guys are like from a pit village, Barnsley they shouldn’t be cool people here and theres guys rocking Westwood. They were looking amazing in the Westwood but they couldnt go out every week and buy a new Westwood top. Erm, so that inspired me to come up with a brand and a range where you can afford it but you still have that designer edge.
It was to do something affordable that people could buy.

Would you say that Vivienne Westwood does inspire you a little bit?
Alex: Oh yeah, you can’t say it doesn’t Viv is amazing. At the same time we are going at the same market, I am just trying to make mine that little bit more affordable. I would like to think that I don’t copy but what inspires me so much is the different diversity in people, I can change things to make people look tweaking designs making them my own. I have little scraps of paper all over my studio, backs of envelopes from places that I have been and gone yeah I like that, I love that shape, I might do that. It could be a case of sitting down and saying today Alex you are going to design new stuff.

Do you prefer to design for the ladies or the guys?
Alex: It is difficult, it is completley different, womenswear you can go as flamboyant as you like where as menswear, you gotta have a front, you gotta have a back. You are a little restriced but I constantly surprise myself with how many variations you can play around with. I do enjoy both for different reasons. I find womenswear is frustrating at the moment because I think you can pigeon hole styles that girls are wearing at the minute and mine isn’t one of them, I want to overhaul my womenswear collection.

Do you think you design womenswear for every height and shape, or do you think in honesty it is all about the pieces on a typical model style girl?

Alex: To a certain extent yeah, I have to think from a business point of view, if I do a bigger size are girls gonna feel comfortable in my designs, your bigger girl would prefer to cover up and my stuff isn’t covered up. If I did do it in bigger sizes, is it going to sell?
I can’t produce it if it is just going to sit on the rails.
So come on then, last question… favourite city, Manchester, Sheffield or Leeds?
Alex: Can I whisper? Leeds ofcourse it is! Leeds. I am saving my judgement of Manchester, Leeds is Leeds its laid back cool and open to anything. You go out on a night out in Leeds and it’s don’t get me wrong not everywhere is like this but anything goes, you can experiment and I think if it wasn’t for that Leeds mentality I don’t think I would have been as successful as I have been.

The evening was a huge success complete with friendly staff and a super stylish atmosphere.
I got chatting to the guys from 4Q magazine and the gorgeous Heather from Amongst the guests were Corries Brooke Vincent and Sophie and Stephanie from the X Factors ‘Poisionous Twin’ who modelled two dresses from the ‘Black Carpet Glamour’ range.

After the event I met up with my friend Maxine Cassidy for a sneaky cocktail in the funky Noho bar which was lovely, I had a Chelsea Spritzer and Maxine went for a classic Mojito.

I had a great night in Manchester and I can’t wait to see what comes next for
Alex Christopher and his label.
What do you think of the Each To Their Own designs?
Love, Holl

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