Looking at Alexi Freeman's work, you would never guess that this accomplished Australian based designer has no formal fashion training. His work is minimal and elegant - made for a woman who is effortlessly confident. The delightful Freeman took some time to answer our questions.

Paper-Doll: How did you get into fashion design?
Alexi Freeman: For as long as I can remember I have always drawn people, but one day I realized I was more excited about drawing the garments then the people themselves, so I decided to start turning my illustrations into fashion garments.

What is the first thing you designed (personally or professionally)?
When I was about 15 I hand sewed a patchwork suit comprising literally thousands of pieces of leather, cotton jersey, silk satin, corduroy...Basically any scrap I could find I tore up and turned trash into treasure. Was months of work but there wasnít much to do growing up in Tasmania...In 2001 my first fashion product was a take on a 1920ís flying helmet, but made with combed cotton, silk satin piping and hand cast silver zipper tags. I think I only sold one of them but it allowed me to fund my next project and so it goes...

What inspires you / your work?
Anything. Everything. Nothing. Usually I just sit down and draw and see what comes out. Inspiration is a very intuitive process for me and itís elusive as the wind.

Describe your AW09 Collection.
My AW09 ALEXI FREEMAN CRISS CROSS Collection was derived from the notion of cross hatching; the shading technique used to develop the hand drawn design illustrations for this collection.
The Criss Cross print artwork integral to this collection was drawn by hand and worked up as a yardage print, in so doing, bringing the hand made genesis of the work into a reproducible medium. I designed this yardage print in such way that no two meters of cloth will be identical whilst maintaining the language of a commercially producible collection. This approach realises my intention of bringing my hand from initial sketch, through the sampling process, to the finished product.

I utilised high grade fabrics such as merino wool jersey and superfine merino wool suiting, silk satins and silk jersey, as both silk and merino wool are warm in winter, cool in summer, and can be worn directly on the skin by most people.

I combined the sophisticated with the sporty and was not constrained by seasonal trends or the limitations of street-wear, evening wear, nor Haute Couture, but referenced from all these genres in a bid to offer something wearable, comfortable and relevant to the needs of modern women.
What is your favourite piece from your AW09 Collection?
The Oiled Cotton Trench references coats worn by those in rural communities around outback Australia. I offered this garment in black, with a custom dyed neon yellow satin lining, finished with subtle metallic Criss Cross hand printing and a deep box pleat at the back for ease of movement. Best of all rain runs of it like water off a ducks back!

What is the most difficult thing about your job?
Knowing when to finish one collection and when to start the next...

If you could collaborate with any designer / artist / musician / etc. on a single project, who would it be and what would you do?
Australian based label MATERIALBYPRODUCT and as for what we will do Ė come to Craft Victoria during the LíOreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program in March this year and find out!!!

What fashion era do you love? Is there one that you do not like?
Art Deco. I didnít care much for flower power, but Iím sure someone will invigorate it one of these days and I will have to eat my words.

Do you have a real or imaginary muse?
Yes. Sheís a trend setting fashionistocrat!

What fashion trend would you not be caught dead in?
No sure that itís ever been a trend as such but my Mum loaned me a turtle neck sweater once when I was cold, and as luck would have it I ended up getting interviewed on TV that same day. I saw myself on the box that night and for some reason I looked like a middle aged drag queen Ė ordinarily not such a bad thing except I was about 25 at the time and it wasnít quite the look I was going for!
What is your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?
ALEXI FREEMAN AW09 neon yellow with metallic silver print spray on flapper leggings. I jogged in them recently and I swear they glowed in the dark!

Where do you shop for clothes when you're not wearing your own?
Designer friends studios. Well thereís got to be some perks!

What is on your current fashion wishlist?
Patent silver hightops.

What is your favourite thing about the city you live in? (Melbourne)
I scarcely have to ride my bike more then 5 minutes in any given direction. Everything I need is right at my fingertips!

What is next for your label?
Collaborations with architects Room11on a Pop Up Shop, a uniform commission from Tourism Victoria and ALEXI FREEMAN BOUTIQUE NUMERO UNO on the dark side of the moon...Stay tuned at alexifreeman.com.

While searching for the perfect pair of sandals for the summer, I came across Australian footwear label Andrea and Joen. They've got quite a few sandals I love, but I am also drawn to some of their spectacular heels. Nothing says confidence like 5" heeled cut-out leather ankle boots!
Love and Obey
March 18, 2009

Remember when Obey used to be a graphic t-shirt company? Well...they've come a long way! There is still a strong focus on graphics, but they're now offering a full cut and sew collection, of which I'm coveting far too many items. I'm not sure when the transition happened (probably ages ago), but I definitely like it!

Peaches Pants
Summer Lovin' Tank
Taking a break from fashion... Le Love - a blog dedicated to "romantic, sweet, lovey dovey, sexy and heart fluttering images" - is my new favourite bookmark.
Could there be a more perfect leather jacket than the Asos Twist Collar Leather Blazer? The butter soft leather, the draping, the twist detail...

I've been in love with Mike & Chris bomber leather jackets for quite a while now - but I actually think this leather blazer would be a bit more versatile.
The most beautiful dress ever. By Toronto's own Dagg and Stacey. More to come from their "Out of Africa" inspired Spring Summer '09 collection...
Bows and sequins will forever be near and dear to me. No matter how far from the graces they may fall in the fashion world, I will always love them. So, it is only natural that I am infatuated with Sophie Hulme - a designer who exploded onto the scene last season with military style jackets covered in sequins or exaggerated bows.
To my immense relief, the sequins and bows are here to stay; strongly represented in the Spring Summer '09 collection.

Shining a spotlight on independent Canadian fashion.