British style icon and entrepreneur Alex Eagle collaborates with away
When asking about who to follow on Instagram, there might be a good chance that the name Alex Eagle pops up. The British entrepreneur has impeccable taste and follows her gut when it comes to business. This led the mother of two to a successful career in fashion publishing before learning the ropes at design-house Joseph.
She then went on to found her own venture: Alex Eagle Studio. A concept store that is located in the middle of pulsating Soho in London. Everything you can see you can buy – curated by Alex and her small team. In the shop you can find a lot of treasures: a lovely variety of furniture, design objects, fashion and accessories.
When Alex approaches a collaboration she makes sure it feels natural. Just like it did the first time with suitcase brand away – it was sold out within one day. Because the founder of away Jen Rubio and Alex had a great time creating the suitcases together, they decided to give it another shot. Alex Eagle x away recently launched and showed practical, yet super-stylish cases that fit with every look, time of day and occasion.
Interview sat down with Alex herself and got to ask about the collaboration, her personal path and received travel and business tips that one might use very well every day.
Julia Deutsch It is the second time that you are launching a collaboration with away. What is the story behind the success?
Alex Eagle Alex Rubio, the founder of away and I first met in London and instantly became very good friends. I already loved the suitcases so we started talking and we did the collaboration in the first installment. Our aesthetics are weirdly in line – her appartment looks like my shop, haha. We were whatsapping all the time, we also had a lot of friends in common. Our friendship sparked up quickly, we were making time for each other in our crazy schedules. So our first collaboration sold out so quickly – all my friends were furious they didn’t get a suitcase the first time round. Jen was so easy to work with and I craved doing it again. We were not overthinking it and that worked well.
JD How did the product evolve from the first to the second drop?
AE It was important to us that you could add the new models to the pre-existing suitcases and they would fit. It works well because the suitcase is almost black, it goes with everything – it is a very deep blue that is kind of softer. This time the idea is based on actual travel and nature: swimming in the sea, relaxing with an aperitivo, spending time in nature – that inspired the colours for the zippers. The other idea with the colours was colour-coding. Jen and I are organizing-junkies – you just have to be if you travel so much. Especially if you travel with children you need to know where the stuff is you need.
JD What are your travel essentials?
AE The away case obviously, and I make this cashmere hoodie and bottoms that are great because they are so comfortable but at the same time you look smart enough to pursue the day. Important are good socks and you can treat yourself with an eye-mask. I love those noise-cancelling headphones and I have this pillow spray that has lavender in it. Travelling is about comfort but also a little luxury, especially when you have a long trip. I actually keep a list with my essentials that I go through before I travel.
JD Is there anything that you especially like about the time that you spend on the plane?
AE I really like that I finally have time to read. I am very conscious about screen-time also. So I bought my kids old school walkmans, now they can listen to stuff but are not tied to a screen and it’s also good for their imagination. That makes me able to relax read. Reading books is something you really take for granted, it is a luxury in those busy times.
JD What do you think about the concept of slow travelling?
AE I think it is great if you are travelling for pleasure. For a work trip this concept doens’t work too well. It is a really lovely concept – you are just rushing from one place to the other normally. In the end we are travelling for fun. It is about enjoying the actual journey and taking time to emerge yourself in the culture. You can’t do that if you have too much on your plate. Less is more – sometimes you can just stay in one sleepy village for a week. Getting to know it sitting on a town square for hours and just watch. That might be just as culturally fulfilling as doing something that stands in a tourist guide.
JD Is there some trip or vacation that you’ve done that shaped you a lot?
AE What a lot of people do in England is to take a year off after finishing high school. I did that too – I spent three months in India and travelled around the world for 8 months. It was me and three boys and we had so much time on our hands, so we really got to know places. We had this sense of adventure, we were on a low budget, camping, sleeping on trains and all that stuff. That was very forming, just the nature of that. Now that I have children – it is great seeing the world through their eyes. Showing things a second time, your agenda changes to re-viewing things.
JD Do have a source of travel inspiration? Or do you mostly travel for work nowadays?
AE It is a mixture, because sometimes work is pleasure. Right now I am doing a book which is about a curation of interesting people in their homes. So we are shooting different people everywhere and that is obviously a pleasure but with a professional background. Wherever I go for fun there is an element of work in it because you always think about what you could create from the new impulses you get.
JD I have the feeling that so many people just look at Instagram and Pinterest and see a picture of some place. So then they point to that and say: this is where I want to go.
AE Yes! I feel like it is a real source of inspiration. More than for fashion, really. Travel and interiors. When you look at the statistics, this is what comes up most. People just look for Inspiration. I definitely screen grab hotels and places that look nice. This also means that everything becomes a trend. Do you know what I mean?
JD Haha, yes. Like Sri Lanka.
JD Do you want to give our readers an overview about your career maybe?
AE I worked at Sunday Times Style, then went to Tank magazine and worked myself all the way up. After that I worked for Harper’s Bazaar and this I really loved because I was not only styling but I was also writing. Then I went to Joseph and I dived into the fashion world, really from a 360 angle. I was in my 20s and that is where I got a handle on all the different departments like buying, communications and so on. That was the time when I figured out a niche for what I wanted to do. I was styling for friends and actresses in my apartment and they would in the process buy my coffee table or books and stuff. So that’s when my husband said, why not make it a shop concept. Like a studio, sell what you can see and have designers also sell their collections there. It happened very organically. Then around the same time I pitched the idea of The Store to one of the owners of Soho House. Like everything in life if it doesn’t rain it falls – one thing led to another.
JD Do you have advice for young people that would want to break into the creative industry?
AE Work wise, you need to be dedicated. You don’t necessarily have to work long hours but you need to be in it with your heart. Be thorough, be thoughtful and follow your gut. Stick to your ideas and believe in what you do.
The collaboration is available via awaytravel.com
Interview JULIA DEUTSCH
Title Picture GREG FUNNELL