Alice Waese is a jewellery and fashion designer based in New York. Trained in both garment design and fine art. Her practice is informed by drawing, sculpture, cloth and raw materials. Inspired by the natural world, Waese creates beautifully hand crafted pieces in intricately textured sterling silver and gold. Her skilled artistry blurs the boundaries between fashion and art, furthermore her work is seasonless and always released in editions of 90. The designer also works with varying materials such as leather and yarn, demonstrating her keen eye for detail and process. According to Waese much of her work is realised through experimentation and the crossover of chosen mediums. We had a little chat with the designer about her roots, natural movements and the fear of tunnels.
Alice, where did you grow up?
How did your experience growing up there translate into your designs?
I grew up in a family and a community that encouraged drawing and making. I have a distinct memory of watching my father draw a large replica of a Micky Mouse in chalk on the outside of our brick house, I remember it being a scatter of abstract lines that suddenly turned into a perfect Mickey, it was like magic. I think watching this kind of thing has translated into my work, seeing a messy thing become a finished or complete thing right before my eyes. I think it is an important lesson for an artist. Good work can evolve out of chaos. It allows me to not get lost in the mess and anxiety of process.
Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion?
Not exactly, I think I always was drawn to it in different ways. As a kid I was obsessed with Madonna and making outfits for kindergarten, dressing as a gypsy with my sister, In high school I crocheted constantly, In university while studying poetry, I discovered a book of paintings of rococo dresses and decided to switch from poetry to fashion.
Rococo oh well then are you a romantic?
You are part of a movement, pardon the categorisation, that is drawn back to nature and organic shapes. Why do you feel this is important?
I think I’m drawn to nature primarily in an aesthetic way. Mimicking nature, using nature, and being inspired by nature seems obvious to me in order to make a beautiful thing. From there I do feel it is important and has become important as a movement; if you look at nature this way, you will probably respect it, and from there work in ways that respect the earth. In some ways, using natural dye, limited waste, small run local production and organic fabrics is an aesthetic translated into an environmental stand point. I think its important to respect the thing that inspires you and feeds you.
Do you think print magazines are still important?
I like the movement away from glossy fashion magazines and towards more special, less frequently released 'book - like' publications. I think it is really nice to have a paper object in your hands, but it should be cut down. It should be special. A lot of the mainstream magazines are over saturated and uninspiring and wasteful and could easily exist online only.
What question have you never been asked that you wish you had?
Do you have a ghost cat? Yes, her name is Blanche.
Your favourite scent?
Rose mixed with vetiver.
What scares you?
What do you think you will be doing in your 80’s?
Do you have a Muse?
Its always changing. more of an inspiration.
What advice can you give young aspiring artists and designers about how to work timeless and embrace slow organic growth?
I think patience is important, I think this time period and generation is all about instant gratification. Its important to loose that sense, and to focus on your own voice, and to let it grow naturally.
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Photography Bibi Cornejo Borthwick
Words & Interview Stefan Dotter
Model Jamie Bochert
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