Interview Alexandre Nicaud - ESMOD PARIS, Graduation 2010

What was your journey before coming to ESMOD? Was working in fashion a thing you always had in mind?

Fashion came very late into my life. The journey was very long and just seemed impossible. Since I was a little boy, I would draw and create tons of things. I had the craftiness in me and was interested in everything that had a function, a mechanism, and anything that had the capacity of putting into action. So design was the first approach I had made but which stayed buried in for a long time. As all teens, we realize at one point that there’s barriers between our dreams and the reality of life.
So I orientate myself into biochemistry studies, which founded to be too technical for me.
I needed a diploma so I re-orientate myself into accounting studies, which ended up being very useless for me today. During that period, I started practicing kitesurfing and did it for 10 years from there on, and reached a high skill level. During this period of time, my taste for graphics was developing, so I decide to study in the graphic design program.
I travelled a lot and met a lot of board shapers and learned with them the technics of lamination, the use of resins and paint and got to use my first sewing machine to fix the sails. The idea to put myself into the world of object design is starting to interest me but the desire for the movements and the links with the human body goes ahead. So at the age of 26 years I push the door into ESMOD Paris.

Let’s come back to the subject of your schooling in ESMOD. What kind of student were you? What are your best (or worst) memories?

When I arrived I was a hidden student, I was surely missing my future goals. The ESMOD team knew by giving me a chance, gave me the push I needed to start the accessories specialization.
Seeing that I was able to make those projects come to life and to have them done myself are where my best memories are found and I want to thank all my teachers that took a big role in those memories. They are now my great friends and precious supporters.

According to you what makes ESMOD’s specialty, the big assets?

The main asset is the melting pot because you won’t find anyone with the same wants, capacities and visions. It makes you become more open-minded and clears out your own vision for fashion but also for your future in the field.
That is where you find the main asset, but of course you have to be open to that concept. As you finish your studies at ESMOD, you will realize that ESMOD students are everywhere and by staying open-minded to one and another, they will always be willing to help. For those that come out of ESMOD or the partnerships of the school, it has a great network system.

Tell us about your professional journey after ESMOD, your tasks and responsibilities from the past and present...

After ESMOD, I absolutely wanted to return towards the women’s wear and like many I wanted to enter a big fashion house, which makes you dream. But finally I changed my mind, so I started an internship at Irié Wash, who is a Japanese designer and used to be the assistant for Kenzo. It was a great experience because we were only two in the studio and I was in charge of important tasks. They had a real trust in me and I learned so enormously.
After that, as I was freelancing, the idea of a new brand started to grow but wanted to do something different of the other designers. I wanted to have a different approach and another technic. I started using everything from 3D designs to the use of polymer, embroidery and many more. I work on my own proceeded fabrication on couture pieces. With all these ideas filled in my head, I create and launch ALEX ALTO, a luxury ready-to-wear brand for women and where the first collection was in March 2015.

What motivated you to launch your own brand? Are you confident in the current market?

It was primarily a need, it’s really personal and complicated but I told myself it now or never. Today I have a feeling that there is something that is happening with the young designers. It’s been years that we haven’t seen young designers make ascents as lightning on the market. The big groups get interested in them and they give their trust by supporting them with they own brand or by naming them the head of established houses.

A little something to describe your personal style, what inspires you and what inspired your brand?

My personal style is a mix between minimalistic cuts and work of matter, just like integrating jewelry on clothing. There’s always an idea of accessory in the way of working, by technics or by the detailing. The inspirations are never voluntary, I generally find them once the product is finished and that is why sometimes it can get really amusing. But in the beginning I am always inspired by a texture, an aspect, a specific touch or a technic more than a story. I think the story gets written as time goes by.

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