Fashion designers are the new painters, X’avier Alexander says. But it’s not the ‘80s anymore, where people flocked to see Warhol or Basquiat at an art gallery; it’s the moment for wearable art, he explains.
Alexander is a VCUarts fashion design student who won the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s 2023 CFDA Design Scholar award. He’s one of a dozen recipients to be awarded out of 340 students that applied. Alexander won $50,000 through CFDA, thanks to a donation made by clothing company Eddie Bauer. He is appreciative and sees it as a stepping stone.
His thesis “Who You Be” involves the theme of Black identity and what it means today. Under this large umbrella, there are collections with subtopics such as consumerism, or how a false sense of empowerment can come through the consumption of luxury goods. Another collection touches on challenging environments his own community faces, such as food deserts and a lack of resources that can lead to hardships and even crime. The artist is also trying to build a better future and show what that would look like.
“It’s taking the good, bad and the ugly about our culture and conceptualizing it into collections that speak on these real life things that go on within our community,” Alexander says.
The artist has a larger vision in mind. He wants a multi-sensory experience involving what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling and how the space feels, Alexander says, adding that he thinks he would need more than $50,000 to create his vision exactly.
“I’m just super big on that; how can you experience fashion in a different space or in a different way, and having it be longer than like a 10 to 15-minute show where models are just walking,” Alexander explains. “I want you to come here