The Banana - Peel Bra and The Girl Who Made It
Ever worn an outfit made entirely out of IKEA bags? A bra made of banana peels? Or perhaps a bucket hat made of turf? Alexandra has, and she's handmade them too.
A fashion student from Melbourne, Alexandra Louise Champion Hackett (Lex) has an eye for the potential in the everyday, using wacky materials to make her clothing. She subverts our standards for dressmaking by making custom high fashion pieces out of the unexpected.
Make sure you take a look at the images below to see how she made these crazy pieces!
We caught up with the wunderkind seamstress to find out how she works:
When did you first star getting serious about fashion?
My parents bought me a sewing machine on a whim when I was 12 or so, and I taught myself how to sew.
In year 8, I started making these kitsch personalized pencil cases, and sold over 150 - I had people lining up at my locker waiting for me to finish class so they could order one. Basically everyone in my high school had one. From there, I had a few capsule collections in some school fashion parades. Then, I applied to study fashion at Uni, and luckily got in!
What sort of person do you see/want to see wearing your clothing?
I like sewing for people who appreciate the clothes that I make, for their uniqueness and the custom-made element. I don’t relish the idea of mass-production (despite its financial benefits) so I suppose who I want to see wearing my clothing are highly creative individuals who treasure my clothing.
Which piece of clothing you’ve made recently are you most excited about?
The most exciting things I’ve made lately have been some womenswear items I made using Ikea shopping bags - a dress, bucket hat and twinset. I actually don’t understand why Ikea isn’t marketing accessories like the bucket hat, I don’t know if I can patent that? Also - I made it a while ago, but it remains my favourite ‘garment’ - a bra made from sewing together banana peels.
Your clothing is distinctive for being made of quirky materials. Where do you find your materials and why do you choose them?
I’m really interested in the concept of making the unwearable, wearable, and blurring the lines between what is and isn’t considered clothing. I find my materials anywhere, from the side of the road, to inside the supermarket, to in the rubbish bin. Any object that I can potentially turn into planar surface, I consider to be a fabrication. I’m always on the lookout for different materials, and I love the challenge of making something wearable.
What is your favourite store a) in Melbourne b) overseas/online?
I don’t really shop that often, mainly because I make most of my own clothing. Can I say Spotlight? I do shop online occasionally though - VFiles is great, and obviously Eastbay for buying sneakers from the U.S. (my #2 obsession) My favourite store overseas would be Colette in Paris.
What does your average day look like?
Well, now that I’m back at uni, it consists of a lot of coffee, journaling, and sewing. Most days, I’m on my machine before breakfast and sewing until I go to bed each night - it’s an obsession.
BUY HER STUFF HERE: www.lxndr.bigcartel.com
CHECK OUT HER INSTAGRAM HERE: @sheniquadoezinstagram or www.iphoneogram.com
Astroturf bucket hat/dress: My friends gave me a voucher for Bunnings for my 21st (they know I love alternative fabrications too well) so I bought some artificial turf from Bunnings to cover my balcony, and used the rest to make clothing!
Banana skin bra: I did a lingerie elective at uni last year, so I ended up making a lot of bras out of non-traditional, non-sexy materials. I had to make a special pattern for it, and ended up using 6 banana skins.
Chinese shopping bag outfit: I moved house recently and these bags were the cheapest, easiest way to transport all my fabric/clothes, so I ended up having an excess of them. Sewing something was the only practical solution in my eyes.
Chux Superwipes Tracksuit: I went home to Brisbane for the weekend and, simply, my mum was cleaning a bench, and I asked if she had anymore. She actually saw the glint in my eye and said “you can’t have it, you can go buy your own if you’re going to sew with it!” So I did.
Clear PVC bucket hat: I like the idea of this hat, because technically it should protect you from the sun but it’s completely pointless (I have a burnt scalp to prove this).
Crochet Legionaries hat: I had wanted to work with crochet for a while, but everything I thought about just seemed a little cliche, so I decided to make the most boyish thing I could think of - a legionaries hat.
Fruit tablecloth dress/hat: I was at a $2 store and came across rolls of it in an aisle, I loved the print so I had to buy it (despite it not being a very comfortable fabrication)
Ikea dress/bucket hat: I had been using an Ikea bag as my washing basket for a while, when I sort of clicked and I decided to try making something out of it. I love the embroidered IKEA handles of the bag, and how they can be repositioned on garments.
McDonalds fries bra: I’m obsessed with the branding behind fast food chains, such as McDonalds so, for my lingerie elective, I constructed a bra out of fries containers.
McDonalds PVC bags: I love the idea of re-using disposable things like fast food packaging, so I covered a few McDonalds bags inside and out in clear PVC (a fries packet, a hash brown packet and a brown paper bag) so that I could use each as a proper bag.
Mi Goreng packet purses: I covered some interesting mi goreng packets I found at my local Asian Supermarket in PVC to make purses.
By Martina Calvi