California-Born, London-Trained, Paris-Local

Meet the Central Saint Martins grad taking couture in new directions.

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A look from Quoï's spring/summer 2016 lookbook.
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Have you ever wondered: What would the contents of your wardrobe look like had the sewing machine never been invented? Quoï Alexander has. His answer? Knotted, twisted, woven, sliced, and diced.

A look from Quoï's graduate collection from Central Saint Martins in 2014.
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"I want to go back and look at what an alternative to the sewing machine would be if we were pre-Industrial Revolution, because nothing would be the same without it," reasons the Central Saint Martins-trained designer as we take a seat in Front de Mode, a cute, bright store in the Marais district of Paris, where his creations are currently stealing the show in the window.

A look from Quoï's spring/summer 2016 lookbook.

To this end, 25-year-old Alexander staunchly stays away from sewing, be that by hand or machine, to come up with confections that are laced, bound, and woven: Quoï's pieces are multifunctional and can be worn as tunics, tops, dresses, whatever you want them to be, really. For him, it's all about thinking outside the typical fashion boxes and starting over. "I have a philosophy where if I can imagine an item before it's created then I'm not pushing myself hard enough," he says. And with that kind of attitude comes intense labor: the longest a piece has taken to make so far is 335 hours. That's commitment.

A look from Quoï's spring/summer 2016 lookbook.

"The intricacy of my technique is more geared toward haute couture," he says, and for this reason, he's now based in Paris. Having graduated in 2014, he quickly made the jump from college to catwalk, and showed at London Fashion Week for three seasons. "I knew I wanted to start my own label and thought Paris would be interesting—doing a new kind of haute couture: not spending 1,000 hours on embroidery but 1,000 hours on something else entirely!"

The takeaway? That "something else" is also something to take note of.

A look from Quoï's graduate collection from Central Saint Martins in 2014.

For more on the designer, see quoialexander.com, and follow him @quoialexander.

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