Georgina Evans: Your title is head designer, what made you choose fashion film as a medium for your work?
Alexandra Kennedy: The company consists of myself and one other so naturally our titles change depending on the task or project at hand. We only very recently started to experiment with film. Having no prior experience with the medium, I immediately felt empowered by its possibilities. I wasn’t limited by the static of photographs or garments themselves. I fixated on the idea of creating an interactive experience involving installation and projections for my A/W 17 presentation. The presentation was made and released at a very special event my partner and I organised at a vacant historic theatre in South West Detroit. The multifaceted event saw the video installation projected inside an old walk-in freezer alongside an art exhibition (all sales donated to Planned Parenthood) and music from acts such as HIDE (Chicago) and Freakish Pleasures (DJ and Art Collective from Detroit). I wanted to create something different, a bit bizarre, with the whole interactive experience. Instead of the standard practice in fashion where we borrow and steal from subcultural identities, I desired to actually give back to and celebrate these communities. Film was ideal for this goal because there is something relatable to the moving, breathing image. The event raised several thousands of dollars for Planned Parenthood and despite being shut down by the police (not unlike most interesting things in the US) was a great success and something I’m really proud of.
GE: What was the design inspiration behind this collection?
AK: My background is in leather accessories; A/W 17 is my debut collection of clothing. My goal was to translate the design and principles of ALXVNDRA’s leather pieces into clothing. There is this idea that beautiful things, accessories or garments, are meant to be tucked away for a special occasion, to sit on some shelf until you’re ready to use them. I think beautiful pieces are just as easily meant for everyday. As with my bags, I wanted to design clothing that becomes sort of a second skin for the wearer; something that can be thrown on with confidence because there is nothing worse than wearing a beautiful piece of clothing that you don’t feel comfortable in. I stripped down classic silhouettes and shapes and added in unusual metal hardware, or an unfinished edge. I’m looking for the balance of striking but comfortable, unique but not pretentious. A mix of refined and raw.
GE: Tell me about the film's concept, where did the idea stem from?
AK: The film and presentation event were inspired by a poem written by my dear friend, Meghan Mardon. We wanted to create a surreal environment, one that evokes myriad human emotions including fear and eroticism.
Veins moving dust
Works of art pretending to breathe
Our playground is an auction house
A place run by gods
A place with no god
We run on chemicals
All we have left is sex and dying
We take not lovers but collectors
Of pretty things
Who sell us to the highest bidder without
Learning our names
You call this art?
Keep the sweet, sour
And the cross upside down
As long as you’re selling
Someone is buying
As long as you're looking
You will remain to be found
Hung canvases stuck to the wall
We are stuck to the wall
I am stuck to the wall
No one to love us
Or take us home
Breathe life into our lungs
And begin resuscitation
We dance in the space between love and lust
This is a fevered fuck dream
And I have yet to come-'
GE: Can you tell me about the making of the film?
AK: One of the most amazing things about being based in a city like Detroit is the unparalleled access to space and support from the artist community we have. We used the same building where we hosted the presentation event as a makeshift studio. The film was produced for under $500 and shot entirely on Super 8mm, which, while having limitations allowed us to do many of the effects on camera rather than in post. Our models Sarah O'Donnell and Lily Forbes Shafroth are great friends of ours and because of the entire crew's understanding of our vision I think we were able to come together to make a strong, visceral piece.