Aleksandra Kołodziej: From Model to Fashion Designer and Brand Owner
Who can have more knowledge about fashion trends, than a designer with years of modelling experience? Read the exciting story of Aleksandra Kołodziej, a Polish model-turned-designer and an ambitious entrepreneur.
Years of blood, sweat and tears were needed to plant the seed of "my own company" in Aleksandra's mind. But her experience as a model proved extremely valuable in what mrs. Kołodziej works on now - her own fashion brand called AlexKo.
One of the crucial attributes to her success has been her priceless knowledge and natural intuition on what the fashion market needs. She takes care of the best quality materials as well as the vision and ideas that promote feminine and ecological values. Combining these two values, AlexKo corresponds to the needs of a modern woman - strong, and with a distinct taste.
AlexKo’s current collection consists of around twenty products. Her customers can find dresses, shirts, tops, t-shirts and even kimonos, all sewn from high-quality materials like silk and cupro.
We spoke to Aleksandra and chatted about her rise to fashion brand owner. Read the interview below.
“Design, including custom packaging, is a crucial part that supports creating brand’s image” - interview with Aleksandra Kolodziej
How did your career as a model start?
Everything happened accidentally. As a teenager I worked during rallies. I was supposed to help keeping the track clean. That was a dirty job. But thanks to that, I could save some money for teenage girl needs. One day, a guy spotted me. He knew the fashion market well so he helped me get into the fashion world.
Do you still work in modeling?
Yes. After a couple of years of work throughout different continents I decided to come back to Poland and try my luck here. I made that decision because I wanted to try something new - create my own fashion brand. I thought of Poland as an ideal place to make it happen.
What made you turn to a fashion designer and brand creator?
I was in Los Angeles when it came to my mind. Living in California was a dream come true. But only at the beginning. I got a lot of jobs and in my free time I would explore the beautiful state. But this colorful picture started to drift away when I realised that, the people with who I want to share my happiness were far away. I became very homesick. In addition, I also felt that my career goals were unfulfilled; modelling was no longer my thing.
Modeling became boring?
Modeling can be an exciting adventure, that gives you confidence and opens you for the world and for people. No doubts about that, my adventure is not over yet. But I came to the point, when I felt the urgent need to explore something new.
That’s when AlexKo was born.
You got the dream of creating brand. And what happened next?
Exactly, that was my first thought - what’s next?
To be honest, I didn’t know where I should begin. My first impression was: if I want to design clothes and supervise the whole process I need to know more about it. I decided to finish a fashion design course, where I learned how to use a sewing machine. I also read tons of books about brand development.
I had experience in the fashion industry, so I knew exactly what kind of clothing I wanted to design and what was needed to produce professional photoshoots - those details were extremely important when it came to creating the brand’s image. My friends were very supportive. I think that was the most important thing. Thanks to them, the outcome of my first steps was exactly how I wanted it to be.
What was the most valuable experience during modeling that was useful in your fashion brand’s creation?
Experience in the fashion industry and lots of travelling all around the world influenced my aesthetics and style views. I got to know different materials and garments. Thanks to that, I got to understand the importance in the quality of what we wear.
What are the challenges for a young, emerging fashion designer?
Theoretically, the idea was simple. Then came the reality. The most down to earth task, like finding the right people who were meeting my standards was really challenging. Another thing that was surprising was that even in a country with such an impressive textile production history like Poland, finding high quality textiles was problematic.
But the most challenging thing was to supervise everything on my own. If you are responsible for each part of the process, it’s natural that your worst enemy is lack of time.
So you design clothes, sew them and take care of the brand image on your own?
I design my clothes. Same thing with the AlexKo image. Of course, I’m better in one part, and in the other I need to learn more. When I started my brand I couldn’t imagine the situation in which I had to consult my ideas with others or compromise anyhow. But now I know that additional creative and practical input is priceless. I want to find a person who can contribute or argue with my bad ideas. A good team means work will be more efficient.
The fashion market is very saturated. Especially with young designers getting more popular as an alternative for high-end shops. What makes AlexKo’s proposition unique?
AlexKo’s clothing is for women who value the quality of clothing and feel good in monochromatic garments. It’s for women who like elegant styles with a little bit of freedom.
My clothing line is based on timeless style. These are the clothes that look great now and will look great in ten years.
I wanted to create something special - pieces that fit different body types, breathable textiles and unique designs. Women, who wear AlexKo should feel confident and free.
I believe that’s what makes AlexKo stand out.
Your vision of how the fashion industry should look like is very clear. You create your collections with a lot of precision.
Nowadays, big fashion houses offer dozens collections per year. The cycle of production is based only on huge volumes, quality doesn’t matter at all. They underestimate their impact on the environment and consumer needs. Through the clothes we choose, we create a statement. It’s how we express ourselves, our character and personality.
You sell online. How important is design and brand image for you in that context?
Design, including packaging, is a super important part of brand’s image. I wanted all elements to work together, be consistent and create an expressive and clear image. Colors and shapes are very important to me. Through them, we build an image that affects the emotions of our customers.
How was your packaging project created? What were your main ideas?
The current design is made based on the shape of AlexKo’s logo. The colours I used in packaging design are the same ones I used in my actual clothing line. I also want to update my project of packaging so it can always be consistent with the colours of the newest collection.
Why you decided to cooperate with Packhelp?
I got to know Packhelp’s packaging in the USA. I was very satisfied with your products. What was super important to me was the opportunity to order low quantities and not affect pricing at the same time. That was the best option for me, because I could keep low price for packaging while using complex graphics. Also, the customer receives packaging that is made from recycled materials and can be recycled further. I also really like your site. The navigation is intuitive and helps in making quick decisions.
Where do you see AlexKo in five years?
In boutiques in Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg and London, of course. :)
For sure opening my physical boutique and going international are my future goals. At the same time I want AlexKo to keep its identity and values. Further development also means looking for new opportunities on improving order processes and accessibility of high-quality materials.
In terms of designing I want to play a little bit and broaden my range of products. Maybe even try some different styles.
Aleksandra Kolodziej has chosen custom sleeved mailer boxes for her brand.
The boxes are made of whitened cardboard and are covered with paperboard sleeves with geometric, colorful motifs printed.
That’s not all though. AlexKo’s sleeved mailer boxes are packed in white poly mailer bags, with the brand;s logo printed on the surface. That allows Aleksandra to add extra security to her goods during delivery.
AlexKo’s packaging design is a perfect example of how custom boxes can add value to a brand’s image and the atmosphere it creates. Just as AlexKo’s fashion items, Aleksandra’s packaging is light, delicate, confident and well-thought at the same time.
That being said, AlexKo’s packaging is an astonishing portrayal of the brand. It is designed with emotions and style, and also serve their essential role. They are functional, stunning and secure products during delivery.
How AlexKo benefitted from Packhelp’s custom packaging?
- Packaging became an important part of the brand’s image
- Thanks to the low minimum order quantity, AlexKo had the possibility to create satisfying custom packaging that fit the brand’s needs.