Alana has perfected the statement top and in doing so she has developed a cult following. Through Orseund Iris she's honed in on creating one of a kind pieces; one at a time. Before an OI piece hits production you'll see Alana sporting a mock up of her design, feeling out whether or not it offers longevity. She dreams of passing by ladies on the street wearing her designs — we guarantee this dream is not far from reality.
What made you want to become a designer? When did you start your career?
A combination of things - a yearning entrepreneurial spirit, my fascination with designing something from nothing, curating a brand that offers niche, edited ‘cult and lust’ worthy styles, the challenges that come along with paving your own pathway, rebelling against the grain in ways. I wasn't ever interested in working for anyone else. Not in a stubborn way, but something always felt off, just not me. I started the line in December 2015, roughly 6 months out of college. My mom sort of gave me an ultimatum. Told me either to stop talking about it or make some serious moves. I guess this is where my obsession with following through on things, saying something and actually doing it are two completely different things. Action is everything.
Orseund Iris is designed, produced by you. Enlighten us on how you have done this? The brand has such a clear vision and is branded to perfection.
It's funny because everything is pretty much organic. I have such a personal dialogue with the label. In terms of branding, the content needs to be really strong, a high-quality factor vs. quantity. As a start-up, you have certain things that you can use in your favor and in a powerful way, that’s why social is a big thing for OI. The clear vision stems from really going with my gut and focusing on a real and raw way to go about things. I like the girls we work with to have personality. The film ‘Saturdays with Gabbriette’ was a blast, because there were no limitations. Gab is so truly authentically herself and what a breath of fresh air that is.
Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
Music plays a big role, Reverberation Radio has rare gems that gets me pretty much lost in it. Personal style and the feelings that come with it. Depending on the way I’m dressing any given day. Been dressing a lot like 90s Winona Ryder so feeling more attracted to the grunge lately. Vintage will always, always play a part in my designs.
What have been some career highlights for you thus far?
Hmmm.. Nylon ‘Cult Worthy’ story, having some girl at a party ask if I was Orseund Iris which blew my mind a bit. I guess any real life moments, not so virtual gets me. Met another gal who mentioned she loves OI before I told her what I do. Those are the most rewarding. I think when I finally see someone walking in New York wearing OI I may break down a bit. HA.
Where did the name Orseund Iris come from?
Orseund Iris pronounced [OAR- sünd - EYE – riss], comes from old world nordic names that I created by combining two words while slightly altering the spelling. I fell in love with the sound of it.
Who is the Orseund Iris girl?
Raw, real, stubborn, sassy, fun, lively, strong, independent, graceful, charming.
Tell us about your process from first imagination to the end product?
My process sort of works like this, I design a lot my pieces either from the subway, walking around Nolita, Bed-Stuy where I live, basically anywhere except my office. From there I cut and sew the initial mock up. Feel it out, perhaps wear it to work, drinks, dancing, etc. I lived in the Leather Neck Tie for a month before producing it. Couple things need to happen before I launch any style. 1) People really vibe with it, 2) I don’t want to take it off, 3) it makes me feel good. I was surprised by the response of the off shoulder knit. I just had this idea for a top and needed to make it, you can check out the initial prototype prior to launching here. If it passes 'the test' than I have my factory perfect the sample. As an emerging brand, this is so crucial, I can’t really afford to make any styles that don’t excite people.
What made you want to come out with individual statement pieces one by one rather than a collection?
Truthfully, I tried the traditional model of creating seasonal collections and it drove me a bit nuts. It also was another way of me trying to fit into this fashion landscape that I didn’t necessarily want to do in the first place. A combination of growing impatient as well. I love the idea of dropping new pieces monthly it’s like an endless collection of season-less styles.