THE OUTNET’S Head of Content, Claudia Mahoney, got to catch up with Creative Director, Women for Women Ambassador and one of the stars of our Wardrobe Stories campaign Alex Eagle. In case you missed their live conversation about the Women for Women Virtual Car Boot Sale, getting Alex’s sought-after look and the secret behind sustainable shopping — we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Alex loves… cashmere
I love cashmere socks, and a cashmere jumper just gives you that kind of feeling of cozy and great when you’re not feeling your best.
Claudia: Alex Eagle! Titan of the fashion industry, global tastemaker and the woman with the most enviable wardrobe known to mankind. You’ve obviously launched Alex Eagle Studios, you have the sporting club, you’re the star of the Wardrobe Stories campaign for THE OUTNET — how would you describe what you do?
Alex: Well, first of all it was really fun being on your shoot, I had the best day ever! It was so much fun and I think actually, that kind of that summed up what I do in a way because it was about an edit and it was about what I’m always trying to think of across everything is editing our lives down, finding functional, practical items for your wardrobe or for your home or any aspect of your life and editing it down and trying to give this less-is-more approach to anything. So, I guess in a nutshell, I can’t really explain what I do because I do lots of different things, some explainable, some not but I guess it is always looking for an edit, always kind of trying to work out things that make you feel good. Be it, drinking a really lovely cup of tea from a beautiful cup or wearing a t-shirt that’s just delicious against the skin, but it’s organic and it’s ethical and it’s kind of like made in a great way. That’s, I guess, in a nutshell what I do, I feel.
Claudia: You said this really cute thing to me when I was interviewing you and you talked about your clothes as being members of your family because you’ve loved them and worn them for so long that it feels like when you bring something home, new, you’re introducing it to the family. So, you have a real emotional connection to your clothes as well, don’t you?
Alex: Definitely. I think they see you through a lot. When I was building my business, when I wanted to feel like a grown-up when I wasn’t a grown up, I feel like wearing a suit became my armor and it became something that I’d kind of go to give me support. And then you’ve got a cashmere jumper, just gives you that kind of feeling of cozy and great when you’re not feeling your best. Yeah, I mean, clothes definitely have depth for me because I do try to wear and wear and wear them again and again and again and again. They hold this weight of like the experiences they’ve had, you know, with you along the way.
Claudia: Ok, so your fame for your taste and your eye for wanting a better way to describe it, is that something that’s innate in you, or is that something that can be learnt? Basically, I’m asking can I have your wardrobe, as I aspire to have your wardrobe!
Alex: I think that’s a really nice compliment to say and thank you. But I definitely think it is about… I mean everyone’s got different taste, whatever taste it is, I think you can definitely learn to really, really think about what you want. Really, really edit it down, really think about ‘is it better than what I have already? Do I really love it? Does it bring me joy?’ All these aspects. And, while we might all choose different items from that, none is wrong or right obviously and you just, you’re learning yourself what you really desire. I think if you’re really focusing on what’s important to you, what really makes you love something, you can totally learn it, it’s just about being strict with yourself.
Claudia: I think that the dangers that a lot of women fall into is that they try to look like someone else? They admire someone else’s style and try to copy that.
Alex: Definitely and I think actually, I think not to kind of like push it, because you’re not asking me to promote THE OUTNET, we’re just having a chat. But, I do actually think what’s nice about THE OUTNET is, because you’re not buying something in the season it comes out in, you’re therefore avoiding being swayed by the fashion. You haven’t opened a magazine and it’s there; you haven’t looked on social media and someone’s wearing it then and there. You have skipped that, and with skipping that, you’re taking away a whole thing that you can get a little bit swayed by... with losing a season or two you are looking at something just because you desire it and I think that’s a really valuable thing.
Claudia: I know you’re a shopper but you shop in a considered way. You don’t buy fast fashion; you don’t buy things that are poor quality and is sustainability an element of that in your process?
Alex: Yeah, I think that when we think about sustainability, it’s a real buzz word and there’s a lot of green-washing around and it’s a dangerous thing as well as an amazing thing. But I think to me something that feels sustainable is like Hermè_s, you could look at a brand like Hermès and how like if I bought something in a charity shop or online that was old Hermè_s, it’s still kept it’s worth, you know?
Claudia: It’s allure and quality.
Alex: I think it’s kind of important to think about sustainable in that sense. Will you wear it? Could you wear it for generations to come? And will, most importantly, you live in it? Because we can all have a wardrobe full of sustainable clothes, made in sustainable ways which is really good. But, the most sustainable thing is something you’re gonna wear and wear and wear and wear. We can all be better at sustainability; I definitely feel like… a phony sometimes talking about it. Because I do shop and I do promote buying new clothes and I do think clothes make you feel really good.
Claudia: It’s really hard to find a balance as a retailer, isn’t it?
Alex: Yeah, you don’t want to be a hypocrite but we are hypocritical, but again it goes back to this edit. And, if it makes you feel really good and you’re gonna wear and wear and wear it that’s ok. But, in answer to your question, I am a hoarder, I’m a terrible hoarder and I love to think that I’m a minimalist with this less-is-more nothing in my wardrobe but I do like to keep, I do keep the things that I buy and I do wear them to death. And, I do sometimes give them to friends or I do sometimes, you know, sell them in the Car Boot Sale…
Claudia: That brings me onto, we’re involved as well through your presence as one of the faces in our brand campaign but also because of the Car Boot Sale with THE OUTNET as sponsor and you as host.
Alex: Yeah, you guys are incredible. You really, really helped it happen. This is the second Virtual Car Boot Sale. It’s on Saturday (November 7th), it starts at 11 O’clock with my car boot and then we’ve got some amazing people involved. The Women for Women Instagram has got a schedule and a list of all the people who are basically going through their wardrobes and giving out prized possessions, wonderful things, you’ve got amazing actresses like Saoirse Ronan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Jenna Coleman — I mean the list is endless, there’s so many people, I can’t list them all because we don’t have that long, but there are some brilliant, brilliant things. What’s worth mentioning is that 100% of the proceeds go to the charity. Every single penny goes to them. And, so, if you’re able to buy things, and there will be things starting at a lower price point, so, you know, you can get bargains and then there are really special collector’s items in there, too. But, just knowing that all the money goes, all the proceeds, all the money goes to Women for Women, and that’s the important thing to push.
Claudia: It’s an absolutely amazing charity, and you know, you can shop and do it with a clear conscience because you are doing such a wonderful, wonderful thing for those women who need it absolutely the most. I’m really conscious that we’re taking up lunchtime for people and I’m so grateful, I mean the half hour has absolutely whizzed by. Alex, you’ve been such a pleasure to work with, we’re so grateful to you for giving us your time for being part of our campaign as well, you’re such a support to THE OUTNET and we hope we are to you as well.
Alex: I’m a huge fan, I really genuinely love THE OUTNET. Not just because you support Women for Women, but as a place to shop and to you know, enjoy. Keep up the good work and thank you for having me.
Claudia: Well, it’s lovely to have this mutual love!
Sponsoring a sister for Women for Women International is about more than charity, it’s about sisterhood.
Watching The Great and reading Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. Then boxing and infrared saunas.