Bringing a West Coast spirit to his Brooklyn-based brand, Alex Crane centers his designs around playfulness. Inspired by the ocean and breezy feels synonymous with his native city of San Francisco, his linen suits are designed with the belief that “we all do our best when we feel light at heart.” We spent a fun afternoon with Alex and his collaborators/childhood friends at their Fort Greene loft and got a first-hand look at what play means for Alex Crane.
Select Alex Crane styles are now available at Steven Alan Tribeca! Join us as we celebrate this new collaboration on Thursday, June 21 from 6-9pm at Steven Alan Tribeca (103 Franklin Street, New York, NY) for an evening of shopping, drinks and fun.
Tell us how you created the brand, Alex Crane.
I wanted to make clothes for play, because I think we all do our best when we feel light at heart. And, for better or worse, clothes have a big impact on how we feel. So I make clothes that make you feel playful. That’s why I love linen - it just makes you feel breezy (FYI I’m generally not a very breezy guy...).
How did your experiences in the fashion industry influence your vision for your brand?
Great question. I learned the craft at RISD (pattern-making, sewing, etc.) and got my start designing bags at Jack Spade. I loved both experiences - RISD taught me to recognize quality and Jack Spade taught me to design as little as possible. But I also saw creative people weighed down by stress and all-nighters and cubicle-life. And I didn’t think that culture was promoting the best work – I wanted to remind people that it’s possible to be ambitious and playful at the same time...that realization gave me the chutzpah to strike out on my own.
How would you describe Alex Crane in three words?
Playful, clean and simple.
You've mentioned that your vision is to "upgrade" the traditional suit. Where did this idea come from?
Play and work are the same to me. I know that jumping in the ocean is different than doing spreadsheets, but I think the spirit can (and should!) be same. If we already have food and shelter, everything else is just a bonus. So I think a linen suit represents that spirit.
You're currently working out of your Brooklyn apartment alongside childhood friends. How did you find a balance between work and friendship?
If you think about it, working with friends and family makes a lot more sense than working with strangers. It’s always tough to navigate ego and emotions and money, so why not do those things with people you love?
What type of person are you designing for? Who do you envision wearing your designs?
I design for anyone who wants to feel a bit more playful. I choose colors, fabrics and fits that feel natural on many different bodies. I design as little as possible so the clothes can fit many different lifestyles.
What influences and sources of inspiration do you have?
The ocean is my biggest inspiration. Particularly the Pacific Ocean and the California coastline. The ocean reminds me that the world is big and beautiful and that I’m a lucky soul that gets to walk around for awhile and look at things.
What's next for Alex Crane?
Most importantly, we’ll be at Steven Alan Tribeca all summer long! I’ve loved Steven Alan since I was a punk kid skateboarding the foggy streets of San Francisco, so this is big news! Also, if you’re in Brooklyn, you can find us at our Loft in Fort Greene - we’ve converted our studio into a clandestine retail space (write us to schedule an appointment) - or every Saturday at the Fort Greene Farmers Market.