All by Age 19: Fashion Show Producer, Stylist, Fashion Blogger
posted by LIM College
I had a moment to sit down with Alex Chapman, a longtime friend and now LIM classmate to discuss his hectic and eclectic life in the fashion industry. At nineteen, Alex has styled with the best of them and is gaining a name in the digital fashion world writing for Stylelikeu.com (an awesome site for real-fashion inspiration) and his own blog. He’s also the Fashion Director of LIM College’s Spring 2010 Fashion Show.
His apartment reflects his creative life: a mannequin is draped with hair extensions and a sewing machine replaces a traditional college desk.
Quin: You have quite an accomplished styling resume for a college sophomore. You’ve styled shoots for Dazed & Confused magazine, Another Man, and Vogue Hommes Japan, Dossier Magazine, and Latin Harper’s Bazaar, to name a few. What was it like making styling decisions on set?
Alex: While I was working with Nicola Formichetti for Dazed & Confused and Vogue Hommes Japan, I didn’t make too many decisions. However, for Another Man, I got to make a lot of the decisions on set along with another intern. The shoot was at a Boy Scout camp on Staten Island with an “army” theme. We styled a boat scene on a lake complete with branches, netting, and lots of camouflage. While working for Dossier and Latin Harper’s Bazaar, I had more input. Even though I was still assisting, Brett Bailey, the head stylist, let my ideas shine through. To finally have an opportunity to express myself in more than my own clothing was liberating! Sometimes it would be nerve-wracking and I can get anxious about choices being right, but for the most part it is a fantastic feeling.
Quin: Most aspiring stylists dream of getting style credits in a national publication this early in their career. What advice do you have for the Rachel Zoe fanatics out there?
Alex: Good luck! Zoe has built quite a name for herself, but unfortunately, not many people see what it took her to get where she is. All of the RZ wannabees out there have probably only seen her show or her tips on Piperlime.com. This is definitely a problem with our generation: all we see is the result. Anyone who is handed a rack of fantastic clothing can style. The key is sourcing the products, obtaining them, handling them and then finally putting it all together. If pleasure can’t be found in all the labor involved in styling, then it’s not for you.
Quin: What inspires you most in your designs and styling?
Alex: One recurring thing that I find inspiring is, believe it or not—chipping paint, stains, and decay on subway platforms and beams. I don’t know how many people pay attention to this, but I advise everyone to take a look the next time you’re in the subway. Fifth Avenue and 53rd has the best blue, grey, and black color on the downtown E platform. While waiting for the F Train at the 4th Street station, check out the support beams. They have the best rust/oxidation color. Obviously, other clothing that I have seen is inspiring. I try to look to the past for inspiration since doing what is already going on in today’s world is no fun. Old movies are another muse--Dinner at Eight or anything on Turner Classic Movies.
Quin: Stylelikeu.com is an awesome muse and street-style blog. After opening your closet to them for a feature on the site last year, how did this turn into a job?
Alex: I fell in love with Stylelikeu creator Elisa Goodkind’s vision. I have always been ready to take any opportunity in the industry, so I grabbed that one. My first job was during Spring/Summer Fashion Week 2010, and I went to a few shows to scout for the site. A few months later, they were shooting my friend Nikki for a feature and things took off with Stylelikeu from there. The revamped site now features a blog and editorial section. Since Elisa knows my drive for styling, I have begun working mainly on the editorial side of the site. Right now, I am working on an editorial piece on the nightlife queen, LadyFag.
Quin: You’ve been a bit of a style icon yourself since middle school in suburban Philadelphia. Was it a no-brainer to escape the suburbs and move to New York for school?
Alex: I don’t think that I need to be in New York to be me, but it certainly helps. Anything goes here, and even though I still find people a bit stuffy and sheltered, living here has given me the confidence that I could live anywhere and still be able to be me. New York certainly makes sense career-wise since so many fashion companies are based here.
Quin: I love reading your blog that features Victor & Rolf and the late Alexander McQueen side by side with underground labels. How do you keep your blog distinctive?
Alex: Truthfully, I just post what I like. This is my second go-round with blogging. I deleted my old one because I tried too hard to make it “cool” like other blogs. How boring! It’s more or less an extension of the ever-expanding “inspiration” folder I have on my desktop. I tend to go in and out with my blog though. Sometimes I don’t like the world knowing what I have up my sleeves.
Quin: As the Fashion Director of LIM’s annual fashion show, what can we expect to see at this year’s big event?
Alex: My goal is to give all the attendees a bona fide fashion show experience. This year is going to be the benchmark year for LIM’s fashion show and will definitely brighten LIM’s pinpoint on the industry’s map.
Alexander Chapman’s blog:
The Style Like U blog:
This career site says that stereotypes about ambitious young people are wrong: