Good Reads | Alex & Eli & FW 11.12 Lookbook
You’re not likely to find Anna Zeman and Aja Singer, the designers behind Alex & Eli, in the party pages anytime soon, swilling champagne until the wee hours of the morning. Nor will you find them taking a two-hour martini lunch—not that they would be opposed to such a lifestyle, mind you. But when you’re running an up-and-coming label devoted to one of the trickier aspects of design—precisely tailored women’s suiting—and wearing all the hats of the business, there’s not a whole lot of room for socializing. “This is about as much hanging out as we get to do,” confesses Anna about the interview we’re having during one of New York’s particularly punishing winter afternoons. “It will be 9am,” Aja explains, “and we’ll already have our laptops open. We’ll be going through Excel spreadsheets and one of us is picking out fabric and one of our mothers or fathers will call, asking: ‘What are you doing right now?’ Well, it’s 9:30am on a Tuesday, I’m working!”
The duo started Alex & Eli upon graduating from Parsons School of Design in 2008. Both have high-profile internships under their belts: Anna as Rodarte’s first official intern and Aja at Zac Posen and later Carolina Herrera. They operate practically like twin sisters at this point. They complete each other’s sentences and get giddy over the mention of the Jacques Cousteau documentaries that inspired their spring collection. This might partly be explained by their uncannily similar pre-fashion educational backgrounds. As undergrads, they both focused their studies on science. (For Aja, it was cell biology and anatomy, and for Anna, biochemistry.) “That’s kind of what brought us together,” says Anna. “We would show up to school extremely early; we were both very organized. I think that devotion is what launched the concept for us to move forward—especially with something like tailoring. It’s very specific.”
Dossier Journal: In Conversation with Alex & Eli.
Anna & Aja also sent over their lookbook for us to check out. It features model Jana K. as captured by Tom Hines.