Lighten up and stop taking fashion so seriously.
That’s the story behind the name of Objects Without Meaning, the L.A.-made women’s label launched in 2011 by Australian designer Alexandra Michelle. It’s also a common thread stitched throughout the line: her collections don’t chase the latest trends and she will never design something her customers have to strain their brains to wear.
“They’re the kind of clothes that you get up in the morning and put on and you don’t even have to think about it. The minute you have to think about how to wear something, it’s not effortless anymore,” she said.
And Fall ’15 is no different. Denim anchors the collection—the utilitarian fabric is featured across the board, not only in jeans but also jackets, outerwear, skirts and dresses. Sleeveless turtlenecks are offered, too, designed to be layered under shirts or T-shirts, while fans of her classic, cropped Boy Zip jeans (a perennial bestseller) are sure to love her latest silhouette: a high-waisted, wide-leg style in pale blue denim. Yes, pale blue denim.
“A lot of people shop on a buy now-wear now basis and I deliver my fall collection in July. Let’s be realistic here: You’re not going to be wearing tight black jeans in the middle of summer,” Michelle laughed.
It’s that back-to-basics approach to design that sets her clothing apart from an overload of try-hard, inaccessible fashion in the contemporary market. Not to mention worlds away from her past life designing for mass-market retailers.
“Working for a big corporation, you’re a slave to the market; people tell you what they need. A lot of creativity gets put to the side,” she said, adding that after about a decade, she knew she wasn’t going to be happy regurgitating “the same thing over again, just in another color.”
And while “creative” might not be the first word that comes to mind when describing Objects Without Meaning’s offering, the line’s simple linen tees, loose-fitting jackets and comfy jeans and pants are indicative of L.A.’s relaxed state of mind.
“I’m not outrageous in my designs. I’m not so fashion-forward and so stuck on trends or anything like that,” Michelle shared, noting, “The creativity comes from sourcing beautiful fabrics and working within the guidelines of minimalism and functionality, and all of those things you don’t really explore in big corporations.”
Another upside to having her own line: choosing to make it in L.A. “I’ve worked for a lot of big, off-shore corporations,” she said, “where you sketch a picture, send it off, someone comes back with the magical box and you have samples.”
Not an ideal situation for someone who considers herself to be a hands-on designer. “It’s crucial for me to be a part of the process, sitting with the pattern maker, making up the sample, going to see production. That’s what makes it exciting and makes it feel like I made it,” she said.