Interview: Jeffrey McAlister
We got a chance to sit down with Jeffrey to talk about the past, present and future of fashion and how it has influenced tech and wearables.
Tell us about yourself?
I am originally from Beloit, WI. I'm the youngest of four and the only boy! I attended college at UW Madison and majored in Geography. Yes, Geography! Another story for another time. I've been a resident of Milwaukee for over 15 years.
How did you get started in fashion?
My introduction to fashion was through my father. My dad was a dresser. He and his siblings were all about dressing right for all occasions, so that's what he passed on down to me. He used to bring me to Milwaukee to shop as kid. As I grew up, I started reading the fashion magazine GQ and working in retail which basically enhanced what I was already into. Let's just say I'm on 'Fashion Steroids.'
Why do you think fashion is so important?
Fashion lets people express style and personality.
Fashion and style differ on several factors, including culture and traditions. Nearly every culture and religion has its own style of dress which set's each of those apart from the other.
How did you get involved with Koss
I saw a post for a Koss Headphones photoshoot on Facebook from their Content Developer Martin Moore and decided to submit. I've always been familiar with Koss and its products, so it felt great to get selected and work with Koss.
What has been your biggest triumph?
I would have to say to date my biggest triumph is a combination of two things; taking on the role as Director of Production for Milwaukee Fashion Week as well as showcasing 19 curated looks for Milwaukee Fashion Week.
Both were very personal as you can imagine, Milwaukee Fashion Week being such a large scale production and curating 19 original looks on a modest budget were huge wins in my book.
What has been your biggest tribulation?
A major tribulation, test or however you would want to title it, would have been four years ago when I produced my first solo fashion show. My father had to go in for major heart surgery two days before my show. Imagine the weight of preparing for my first show and introduction of my styling brand while being very concerned about my dad's surgery. It was a true test for me as I spend the day at the hospital for the surgery and once he was out and in recovery I was back onto production activities the next day. It definitely showed me I was much stronger than I thought.
What decade has been the most interesting in your opinion when it comes to fashion trends?
Among all other decades, 80s fashion is the boldest, brightest, and most experimental. However, this tends to be the one decade that has the fondest memories and you can see it being brought back even today. Ripped jeans, male ponytail, scrunchies, slogan t-shirts, velour and animal print. Sound familiar?
With headphones, smartphones and wearables being so ubiquitous today, how have you seen tech influence fashion?
This is a great question.
A London based design company, CuteCircuit designs wearable technology and interactive wear. CuteCircuit was the first fashion company to offer smart textile-based garments that create an emotional experience for their wearers using smart textiles and micro electronics. This is a great example.
Where do you see fashion industry going 10, 20 years from now?
At the moment fashion seems to be preoccupied with it’s shifting perceptions of itself. The current landscape - as with so many landscapes - is in peril. Long-held rules are being questioned, rewritten, or scrapped entirely.
Designers are more and more refusing to obey rules because they make their own. And, at the moment, they are ripping apart fashion’s etiquette book and demanding serious change.
Given all this, it’s fair to say that the way the next generation of designers will create clothes will have little to do with how clothes are made now.
What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I would have to say at one point in my life I actually wanted to be a photographer. I loved to take photos growing up. Even enrolled in some workshops but ultimately took a different path.
Are there any future projects you can talk about?
I am in early discussions with a major fashion company based here in Milwaukee, WI on how my styling brand, FashionSense may be able to assist with their marketing needs.