Interview by Clementine Darby, 29 October 2014
Alice Walsh, Founder & Director, Alice Made This
For any bride-to-be attention to detail is key, but for Alice Walsh it was failure to find her husband the perfect cufflinks for their wedding that turned into a lucrative business. Together the couple created Alice Made This, a British accessories brand for men combining comercial craftmanship with luxury manufacturing. Think the tolerance of aerospace parts with the detail of a hand-braided marine knot. Alice takes a moment from studying Formula 1 design to chat to QH...
When did you start your designer career?
I went to Art College in London followed by university in Nottingham where I studied product design. This led to a career in furniture and product design working for brands including Habitat, Tom Dixon, Forpeople, Conran and some amazing clients. I was able to approach design in a multidisciplinary way trying my hand at furniture design, industrial design and design strategy, all with ‘realisation’ at the forefront.
Who is your favourite designer?
I am a big fan of the Aalto’s. Alvar and Aino Aalto were true multidisciplinary designers. When they took on a project they would design the building, innovate with the surface textures and design the furniture, lighting, furnishings and accessories to sit within it. Alvar loved collaborations with all creatives and hung out with Picasso. He would definitely be on my ultimate dinner-guest list!
What was your inspiration behind creating Alice Made This?
Throughout my career I have visited factories to develop designs. These experiences have made me appreciate the honed skills and craftsmanship that is hidden behind the term ‘manufacturing’. The idea of Alice Made This is to work with these specialists, be inspired by their production methods and their materials, and apply our point of view.
Do you have any advice for budding young designers?
The worst thing that can happen is that someone will say no or something will fail. If you can accept this then you can try anything.
What’s your favourite piece from your latest collection?
This changes daily but right now I am a fan of our Elliot copper pieces. We have added Shirt studs and lapel pins to expand on our cufflink collection and grow our proposition as an accessories brand for men. You can buy each piece individually or as a full set together. The cufflinks and studs also sit beautifully with the Francis or Augustine pins.
What’s next for Alice Made This, any exciting collaborations?
We have just launched a collaboration with Marwood. Celebrating our shared philosophy of experimentation with British manufacturing we have collaborated on four exclusive tie-pins and ties.
I love collaborating and this is definitely something that will continue. We are launching a new production story in January during men’s fashion week. All our products are Made in Britain and this new story captures that well – I am very excited and a little nervous about this one!