Photos by Dani Mac
I first met Alex when we were both being interviewed for a reality show about designers in NYC. The show never got produced and I've since moved on to different projects, but Alex has kept her once small hat business alive and I am so proud of her success! We've been through a lot on the emerging designer path together -- from trunk shows at Henri Bendel to hustling with side jobs to make a living, and it makes me so happy to see Alex settling into her gorgeous new hat studio on the Bowery. With a feature in this September's issue of Town & Country to her growing list of celebrity clientele, Alessandra Rivera is a name you need on your fashion radar! Get to know more about her NYC life in her CULT Chat below.
WHY NEW YORK CITY?
My desire to do the struggling artist/turned successful thing and Parsons School of Design.
THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS...WHAT TIME DID YOU GET TO BED LAST NIGHT?
3:30 am -- Sewed until 1 am with my fantastic intern Nina. Then headed off to a meeting with a client in Soho at Blue Ribbon. Dropped him a custom-made hat and custom-altered taupe "shorts" suit, just in time for the wedding he is ordaining on the West Coast. He is a dudeist priest (yes, as in "the dude" and The Great Lebowski, it's an actual religion google it)... I quite like being the creative working to grow a character.
PLAY HOST FOR US... WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE US FOR
COFFEE - 7 Grams, when in my neighborhood in Chelsea. I'm not a pastry person... But theirs are made with local ingredients and highly addicting.
Lost NYC, when in my 'hood near work. I love to surf and I love the quiet parts of Chinatown. It's a great little spot to dream over a new board, get some meetings done, and catch a surf clip on the wall.
DINNER - 1 or 8 Omakase in Williamsburg. YOU'RE WELCOME.
COCKTAILS - Good tequila needs nothing, aside from one cube of ice -- get it at La Esquina, Downstairs.
PARTYING - Nowhere in particular. I tend to follow where the night takes me....But I guess we can add any place with great Caribbean feeling music where people actually dance and get sweaty and don't take selfies with a half full glass of champagne and loubs. If you do it well, you end up at Wo Hop at 5am with soft shell crab and lo mein.
WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
A ton of west coast 90's hip hop, a sprinkle of industrial rock, and some classics. Music is mood based to me. I thoroughly enjoy finding new sounds from all over to add to my collection.
The Rolling Stones, WuTang, School Boy Q, Snoop Dogg circa '93, Lauren Hill, The Doors, and Fugazi.
FAVORITE PROJECT SO FAR?
I enjoy collaborating and working on projects that are beneficial to the community. Giving back and being an active part of helping with important causes is my jam. I recently designed a few hats that were auctioned off at the New York Benefit for Mental Health Awareness.
ANY CREATIVES YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE WITH?
Bill Cunningham. In a perfect world, I would roll up to a stop light on my cinelli, look over, see Bill, and we would ride our bikes around the city and find wildly stylish New Yorkers of all backgrounds to adorn with my hats. Bill would obviously shoot them and then it would go to print in the Style Section the next morning.
I enjoy collaboration. It expands your view and insight into different aspects of the world. I collaborate to learn. Bill has devoted his life in Manhattan to the energy personal style evokes on the streets. It would be a great lesson for the eye and editing and a brilliant set of images.
DREAM DINNER PARTY -- WHICH 7 GUESTS WOULD YOU INVITE?
Seating chart is crucial.
Hunter S. Thompson
DO YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE LOOK? WHERE DO YOU SHOP?
Look? 12 year old school boy in a 27 year old female body: Any old hat I've made, an ALIX bodysuit, a nice pair of YSL-esque trousers, black Vans, & loads of vintage jewelry make Alessandra a happy girl.
I shop at vintage shops in my hometown of New Hope, Pa. All the big fashion brands come down to stake out this town for "new" ideas.
DO YOU HAVE A MUSE?
I really dig the 1920s Art Deco French fashion era... I'm also obsessed with the Masai warriors. I kind of dig a lot of things and in no specific order.
FAVORITE SPOT IN THE CITY?
I like sitting on one of the benches on the brooklyn bridge at 4 am with a sneaky bottle of champagne, in the Fall/beginning of winter, staring at the city and the lights, from the water, with a few good friends.
New York will most likely always be my base. I plan to have many homes in distant places. West coast for sure. Most likely Southern California. I could easily do Mexico City, Costa Rica, Morocco, Budapest, Berlin, Japan .... I thoroughly enjoy travel and it will continue to be a significant part of my life going forward, nonetheless.
MOTTO YOU LIVE BY?
Happy accidents can easily be your next collection
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW AND WHERE CAN WE SEE IT?
My hats are as unique as the individuals who wear them. I design and create a lot of custom order hats. I'm generally always busy creating a personal piece of clothing that is impactful on its wearer and one-of-a-kind driven.
Pick up Town & Country's September issue -- Uma Thurman is saving the black rhino in Africa while wearing a few of my hats.
WOULD YOU RATHER
CINDY CRAWFORD or KATE MOSS
MORNING OR NIGHT
UPTOWN OR DOWNTOWN
Cindy Crawford -- Kate can't have all the fun. She needs a break.
Night - I am positive it would be out of this world glamorous and 90's New York.
Downtown. No question.