Read the previous interview with the designer here.
Born in Ghana and trained in Belgium, Alec's work is typified by his search for an equilibrium between the contemporary and the classic. While trying to find new ways of cutting old patterns, Alec creates novel silhouettes, letting traditional ways of masculine dressing exist alongside modern men's styles.
“I don't want to manufacture mass-produced clothes. I want people to reminisce when they see my work, I want to evoke an emotion.”
Alec launched his menswear label Mai-Gidah after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. The knowledge and techniques he gained there are complemented by his emotions and the memories he carries with him since his childhood and into his current travels. Alec's experience as a youngster of being unable to find exactly what he wanted to wear was the impetus for his creative journey. From then on, his collections have reflected his environment and individual inner world. His journey from Accra, Ghana to London via Holland, Italy and Belgium, allowed his aesthetic to be influenced by European customs and codes in art, fashion and architecture. The differences in culture and the ways people respond to the world outside have introspectively lead him to reflect on his own roots.
Mai-Gidah Spring Summer collection 2014 "Summer Frost"
Summer Frost is the second Mai-Gidah collection, and Alec's first Spring/Summer effort. As with his debut, Alec's creative process was stimulated by a piece of fabric and an image that captured his mood, transporting him to a different time and place. In his research he stumbled upon a delicate and bright white floral jacquard textile and the painting of a 16th century high-society gentleman in a background of stately architecture.
Inspired by joy and the positive emotions of his fresh and exciting arrival to London, Alec emboldened the 16th century silhouette he had in mind. “I like dramatic shapes, that still echo classic gentleman style, but in a modern way. Almost futuristic.”
The Summer Frost collection pieces translate this accurately through tailored trousers, midi-length robes with rounded shoulders and floral textured panels, lightweight sheer tops and reinvented bow-ties. “Menswear is pretty basic, so I try to push the boundaries without getting too extravagant”, says Alec, and the result is a seasonal burst of lightness infusing expertly cut statement pieces that are wearable without losing Mai-Gidah's formal distinctiveness.
Photographer: Ben Cannon
Hair&Make up: Alex Chalk
Models: Maxim & Andrew @ Supamodelmanagement
Chanie @ Profile Stephane @ Independent
Styling: Thomas Sels