nelou talks to (5): Alexandra Dohmen – Brazil meets Europe
04 (2)

Alexandra Dohmen brings together European Fashion and Brazilian traditions. The designer is Brazilian by birth and lives and works in Landgraaf. Every item of her collections is influenced by Brazilian traditions and is full of vivid inspiration and contrasts. For Alexandra Dohmen it is clear that  fashion does not always need to be black or white in colour.  Vibrant colours are characteristic for her designs adding a touch of pleasure to everyday live. She is proficient in modern designs as well as in traditional production techniques that she took on from her ancestors. The result are handmade unique items that are hard to compete with.

What is the best part about being a designer?

Creating fashion is an incredibly fantastic occupation. I’m fascinated by the fact you can always invent with something new.

Who has inspired you to become a designer?

During the time at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, I had a plan to study Fine Art but a teacher encouraged me  to pursue fashion and textile. I took one month to experience how it is working with fashion, from this point onwards, it was clear where my way was heading. I also owe a lot to the Berlin design duo Unrath&Strano (unfortunately, that label doesn’t exist anymore). These two really taught me the love for this field during my three months there.

What would you tell young designers that are just starting out?

Designs, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen
Designs, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen

Believe in yourself, yet always question yourself and your work and never lose the fun and ease of designing. Well, the most important part is to already possess a certain artistic talent. This means you have to understand three-dimensional thinking and colours and transform that into a sketch/drawing. It is recommended to do a course in dressmaking first and afterwards pursue fashion design or textile design at university. Of course, you cannot just scribble, you also have to be really good at sewing.

Your favourite place in your city? What do you love about your city?

I love Landgraaf with the beautiful heathland and forests that are perfect for cycling or walking. It is less tranquil during Pentecost though because then, ten thousand people gather here for the largest Open Air festival in the Netherlands: Pinkpop. My favourite place in my city is SnowWorld, the Netherland’s largest indoor ski course. The International Ski Federation holds races here.

Showroom in Landgraaf, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen
Showroom in Landgraaf, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen

Where do you find inspiration for colours, fabrics, cuts and patterns?

I am inspired by everything that surrounds me: from classic paintings to modern art all the way to nature and fashion. Inspiration can come from anywhere, even from street signs. Sometime, I just have to flick through a book like the Collection Bloom Brasil by Lidewij Edelkoort or look at a painting and my creativity is fuelled.

What materials and techniques do you use?

As a fashion designer, I work with my hands, whether it be weaving, knitting, crochet, embroidering, lace-making, felting or adding trimmings.

Which material has been the most challenging so far in terms of processing?

Silk.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cologne, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cologne, Photo: Alexandra Dohmen

Three items in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?

A blazer, a silk shirt and nice trousers.

Any winter must-haves?

A snow hat that I have brought from Liechtenstein. Unfortunately, my husband is wearing it all the time and that really annoys me!

Concluding words for our readers:

Simply have a look at my work. Maybe you like it, maybe you don’t. Fashion is eminently a matter of personal taste. You like it or you don’t. Only one thing is for sure: my outfits are unique. They are designed by me and also made with love.

Thank you for taking the time, Alexandra Dohmen!

Find all pieces designed by Alexandra Dohmen here.

Text: Vivien Bergelt, Translations: Katja Reise