Steven Alan shares his thoughts with Industria
1. In 1994 you opened a store and showroom featuring other designers. What first inspired you to create this home for emerging designers and how did you come to the decision to create your own line?
The decision to start a showroom representing designers came organically. Many of the designers we were carrying did not have someone handling their wholesale sales and had approached us about it. The showroom started out of the store in the mezzanine and when we outgrew it and moved we still had a small upstairs area. I wanted to carry menswear and after looking around decided there was something missing in the market so started making a few pieces of items I wanted myself.
2. Creating a clothing line isn’t easy! How did you figure out what your aesthetic is as a designer and how you wanted to present it to the world?
I just made things I loved and the line grew from season to season with each one building on the previous.
3. StevenAlan.com has a department store feeling to it. How did you curate the brands you work with on your site?
The store opened first selling several designers, next was the showroom and lastly was the brand. It has always been very important to showcase a curated assortment of other designers as well as my own designs. It keeps it fun! The website is our voice as a specialty retailer and designer.
4. What brands would you like to work with that you haven’t?
We have been very lucky so far and have done some great collaborations and sold amazing designers. I’m interested in working more in footwear and outerwear this year.
5. In the world of fashion design, how important is fabric and color?
Fabric and color are the roots of the clothes. Each season I sit with my design team and we sift through piles of swatches and then figure out what to design.
Words by Ashley Walker
Illustration by CM
Candy Kennedy spreads some knowledge of the photo game!
Do you think that growing up in South Africa has helped you in any way to accomplish your goals as a visionary photographer?
Even though I love South Africa I must say no.
I started photography professionally when I was 18 and left SA 3 years later and made the big move to Dubai. Even though Dubai was really restrictive and conservative in terms of fashion, I landed my first big advertising campaigns over there with Qatar Airways, American express etc. Back then in Dubai there weren’t many photographers so even though I was a baby with a small portfolio I was able to get these campaigns and learn the many important elements that are required to work and shoot with such big clients. But a few years later I made the move to Paris, now that for me was the most incredible experience ever, I started shooting portraits of rock stars, old Parisians and the most amazing looking people, and that had the biggest influence on my photography career
You are a South African who has lived in Paris, Dubai, and now New York. Where is home for you and why?
New york 150%.
Since moving to New York, I have fallen in love with this city, When I was young I watched a load of movies based in New York, and they portrayed New Yorkers as rude people, since moving here I have experienced the true New Yorker, who I believe is the most incredible group of people I have ever met. So to answer the question I love New Yorkers, I love the architecture, the grit and dirt of the city, the noise, the taxi’s, the individual style that every person has, the beer, the streets and the fact that people say exactly what they feel over here, they are so real!
Can you tell us more about your short film “What Could Have Been “? When and where will it be released?
It will be released in about 1 month, it’s a pretty dark film, which is different to the style that I usually shoot, but it was my first film I directed, so my style is still developing. It has some really beautiful moments combined with dark moments so it has a great contrast in filming.
It seems that you have an affinity for portraiture. What is it about taking portraits that you love the most?
I love to combine fashion with portraiture, but people’s faces inspire and excite me. When I lived in Paris I would spend hours at a cafe watching people walk by, and now in New York I street cast all the time because the people here are just fascinating!
Can you describe inspiration in 4 words?
Smoking, faces, tattoos and character
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee without a doubt!
Illustration by CM
Interview by Ashley Walker