Photographer: Dan Pinard, Model: Natasha Nicely Luker
By Nevena Rousseva
Alyssa Couture has the perfect last name for the fashion industry. However she’s not interested in the type of fashion her last name denotes. She is interested in the newest revolution sweeping the fashion industry- sustainable fashion, which is precisely why the New Hampshire based designer started Alternative Fashion. Alternative Fashion is for the free-spirited, confident woman who values comfort, ease and effortless style all while respecting and valuing the environment. I caught up with Alyssa over email to learn more about Alternative Apparel.
1. What prompted you to start Alternative Fashion?
I love fashion, and style. I am a designer. A mad fashion person. My clothing is my most personal possession. I have never gone a day without recognizing how my clothing affects me, and clothing is such a proponent of my mood, my health.
Fashion creates the impetus for evolution. It is my life long dedication to fashion, to be able to give that to others, or at least be an addition to their own interesting collection. Sharing that vibe, the fashion heartbeat with my fellow fashion people, which is everyone, because hey, we all need to wear clothes. If you don’t you are in a nudist colony, and that’s like the equivalent of being a breatharian. Clothing is protection, it’s our beloved armor. The secret weapon of life.
2. What were you doing before you started designing?
I have always worked in fashion. I actually made my way with never being able to keep a steady job for more than 4-6 months for 15 years. That was partly from getting bored. Once I learned something and got the gist of it, I always turned to a new position, to approach new things.
Some of my previous work being retail, sales, management, public relations, visual merchandising, blogging, styling, fashion show production, fashion illustration, etc., eventually lead me to where I am at now.
3. What is the inspiration for the Ocean Collection?
My designs evoke that eternal, feminine, timeless, goddess from within. I love surf wear and surf style. There’s something so cool, in a demure way about the surfer look. I brought that surfer style and carried it into a more mature, elegant aesthetic that is made to be worn like a classic. I captured the cool colors of the ocean. The jersey knit fabrics move with the body like the motion of the ocean waves. The ocean inspires me. I have always felt more connected to the sea than to land. Being able to evoke nature’s elements through the power of design is an important detail of my work.
4. What fabrics do you use to create your designs?
I work with natural fabrics. If the fabric doesn’t breathe our body doesn’t breathe.
I fully support natural fibers exclusively, due to the degenerative effects from synthetic fibers. What we put on our body should be as important to what kinds of food we eat. I emphasize jersey knits, because of the stretch and ease of the fabric. There’s a place for wovens though.
I love cotton, hemp, and linen. I work with rayon, even though it is technically not eco due to the toxic chemicals they use to produce the fiber. Rayon, and bamboo would be excellent fibers to use when we can identify new strategies for processing the fiber that are eco-conscious.
I’ll replace fibers overtime with more advanced fibers. Organic cotton and hemp are the best fabrics. I used them predominantly in my collection. Most all of the fabrics I use are dyed using low impact dyes. There are still chemicals, but they lessen some of the more potent chemicals that could further damage our body. I also use plant dyes, which create a lot of life to the designs.
5. Why did you choose to use zero waste design and where did you learn it?
I fell upon zero waste design through research, and naturally not wanting to trash fabric. This being my first collection, I don’t have the kind of inventory that would even be able to provide me with the chance to discard fabrics, or waste fabrics. A few of my designs were produced using dead stock fabrics. It is fun, and I work creatively when I have to improvise with what I have. In time, when I do have inventory, I’ll be overseeing the pattern production to make sure all the fabric is utilized. What scraps I do create are going to be recycled. It’s like when you eat a meal, and you don’t eat the leftovers. No one wants to waste food like that. Not when you see starving children and homeless people rummaging through trash cans. Why waste fabric?
6. Where do you manufacture the pieces?
Currently, this is a local, handmade production. My line is made by me. I design, pattern draft, and sew every piece.
This is currently a small start-up business, and my fall/winter 2015 collection may be in select stores by September 2015. Here’s to a goal!
7. Where can the clothes be purchased?
You can purchase Alternative Fashion on my website: