Alexandra Breda is a Portugese fashion and product designer based in North Portugal. She graduated in Product Design and Technology by the University of Aveiro and specialized for 3 years in Fashion and Apparel Design at Modatex Lisbon. Currently she works as a fashion designer at the Sourcing & Development department of a Portugese Textile Group.
Alexandra designed a contemporary modest sportswear collection with functional features and won first place with our Modest Fashion Design Contest we held in 2016.
We asked Alexandra to do a little interview with us and tell us more about her as a fashion designer and the collection she designed.
Why did you choose to become a fashion designer and what sparked your interest in fashion?
Becoming a fashion designer was a dream since I was very young. It wasn’t an obvious path, but after many years pursuing that child dream and being perseverant and always believing it comes true.
Fashion is not only an aesthetic thing for me, I like to create intelligent products that respond to a purpose and consumers needs. For example, developing an organic t-shirt with specific vegetable washing or a technical garment for the sportswear industry.
Do you feel there’s a significant interest for young designers at the moment?
I think young designers bring freshness to this industry, and some of these natural and raw ideas in combination with expertise and experience could bring a lot of interesting things and views to the development and design process.
Was there anyone in your family who made you feel like designing?
Designing was always a thing that I loved to do since I was a child, but I always saw that as a hobby and not as a profession/job. I don’t have any reference in my family, and I am the first fashion designer of the family.
Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
My inspiration in fashion comes from everywhere. I love to research and collect images, Instagram is a great tool, research for new technologies, what the future will be, how we are going to dress in the future, how clothes will be, these are questions that interest me a lot.
In terms of style and sometimes improvable combinations that work, I have to say that my mother is a great inspiration for me, not only from an aesthetic point of view but she taught me everything I know in life, encouraged and supported that impossible dream at the time and that is now a reality.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five 5 years I hope to have learned new things, more experience, more projects and have made a difference or improve someone's life.
What advice would you give to young designers? What’s it like being in the industry?
Since I started as a fashion and product designer I think the most valuable thing is that we have to stay humble and accept all the things we learn, we have to be open minded, to take quick decisions and take risks, and mostly in the industry we have to be sharp and assertive, and always think that we are designing for the needs of a consumer/brand.
My advice to new designers is work, work, work, stay curious, stay humble, be perseverant and never give up, time is a relative thing…and at the end the sacrifice will pay off.
What do you think are the biggest challenges for new designers starting out today?
The market is over saturated in general and there are a lot of amazing designers in the world. I think that there is a place for each of us, we are all different, and that difference will make us give a different and unique vision to the process. We just have to believe.
Do you have a specific research process when you start a new collection?
Yes, when I start a collection I research a lot, it’s not a specific research, it always depends on the briefing. But initially I always study the brand, their products and their consumers. The design inspiration could come from anywhere, sometimes inside that initial research or by an idea that I wanted to develop, an image or a photograph.
What do you think is unique about modest fashion?
Modest fashion for me reflects the global world that we live in and the freedom to dress what make us comfortable, happy and that adapts to our beliefs and our way to see and be in the world. Modest fashion is a response to modest women's needs but at the same time could be worn by any woman in the world.
Tell us about your line. What was your inspiration for this collection? What is the name of this collection? What techniques do you use? Tell us about the process.What challenges did you face?
My inspiration for this collection was mainly designing clothes for contemporary women who want to be feminine, comfortable and active. My inspiration comes from technology and nature. I am very inspired by nature processes. The name of this collection is Éon, which means "life", "vital force" or “being”.
The design process for me is always supported by a deep study and investigation of materials, textures, technologies, trends, colors. After I have all this components together, the design process is a very natural thing, like a puzzle.
Does your approach differ when designing modest wear compared to just women's wear?
I think that the design processes and methodology are the same when designing modest wear, women's wear, menswear… the particularly is to adapt the design process and all the study to the consumer needs. Designing modest wear, took me to study the habits, the religion connection, the relation with the body to respond assertively to the design briefing.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
Before the end of the year I would like to see this collection developed with Mu'mine® Activewear on the streets and that the modest women feel good, comfortable and feminine with this active line, inside and outside.
Do you have some motivational words for our readers?
My motto is “impossible is nothing”. Work hard and always follow your dreams!