Authored by: Kelsie Davis
This spring at Austin Fashion Week, whether it be their first time on the runway or they’re just coming back from New York Fashion Week, it’s evident that all the designers poured their hearts and souls into their collections (read our recap of this season’s show HERE). Closing the Austin Fashion Week event was Alan Gonzalez, fashion designer and founder of Alantude, from our beloved home state of Texas.
Alan is someone with recognizable designs and personality. Born in Mexico and growing up in Houston, Texas, he joined the cast of Project Runway for Season 18 and went on to become the host of Project Runway Redemption. This designer is now pursuing his career in New York City, but we joined him for an exclusive interview about his brand, background, inspirations, and, of course, what’s next for Alantude.
How He Got His Start
Alan started developing an interest in fashion in his junior year of high school and thus created Alantude (Attitude + Alan = Alantude. Duh!) right after he graduated from the fashion design program at Houston Community College in 2016. He showcased his first fashion line during his first fashion show at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
“I was a theater kid my whole life,” he said. “I noticed that the costume designers have been working so hard,
and, of course, when you see the end of a performance, everyone claps mostly for the actors. But no one got to see the work that went into the costumes. I really want to showcase that. So, I played producer, I got the models, and began planning a fashion show to show the designs.”
About a month before the fashion show would start, the team backed out. All of the work Alan did could have been squandered. Then, a model that was (thankfully) out of the loop asked Alan why he couldn’t design the clothes himself. And thus, Alantude began formulating the start of his passion: fashion design.
“I spent the entire next month designing about 30 designs so that we could have the whole show,” Alan said. “I mean, all of it was stapled or hot glued…because I didn’t know how to sew yet! And after the show, people realized I was actually talented. In college, I then learned how to sew.”
His Designs at Austin Fashion Week
Alan’s black, gray, and white designs were stunning, with an eccentric pattern found on almost all of his pieces. A model entered the runway with a beautiful short dress, while holding a purple smoke bomb, absolutely wowing the crowd.
“It was very much inspired by architecture and living in New York,” Alan said. “I moved here two years ago, but haven’t really lived here, because I’ve been traveling, doing shows, and because the pandemic happened. This past season is the first season I’ve actually gotten to live here [in New York], and it is a completely different lifestyle than my Texas home, day and night.”
You might have noticed that everyone on the runway was wearing sneakers. That’s because Alan noticed that no one in New York is walking around in heels, so he revolved his designs around this, as well as making his skirts and dresses short…Comfortable and flirty, all at once…Accessible, trendy, and relatable designs, all inspired by his new city. Because, as he said, no one is going to hop on a train wearing a long line of fabric. He wanted to make the pieces realistic.
“It’s very teen-angsty,” Alan said. “It’s [inspired by] a teenage rebel, she’s in her emo phase, she hates the world. It’s inspired by Olivia Rodrigo in this indy world. So that was the vibe, and that was the move. I’m very proud of this collection.”
Alan shares that a lot of the designs were also inspired by his brother, who is very into tech-wear. “A lot of the straps were little belt buckles instead of general bra straps. It was very hardware. It was very technical.”
What’s Next For Alantude
Alan has excitingly started his new collection, which will be distributed this fall, and this is his first time working with a manufacturer.
“The bomber jacket is my first piece that we had made out to be manufactured,” Alan shared. “When you’re an artist, it’s very personal, so when you have someone else make things, it can be very scary, you know? But that’s the next step for Alantude, because I can’t make every piece anymore.”
All of the fabric was hand-dyed by Alan, though, and that’s what’s printed on the outside of the jacket. The lining inside is a bit more personal.
“It was inspired by architecture and is the blueprint from my high school,” Alan said. “Because again, my high school was so important to me…They just turned 50 years, so it was very hard to get the blueprints, but we finally got it, and I’m very proud of that jacket.”
***Some quotes have been edited for grammatical purposes.
Headshot photo provided by Alan Gonzalez