For Alexis Marcy (Class of 2010), one of the highlights of working at Vivienne Westwood in London is having the opportunity to help create unique fashions that she will eventually get to see on the red carpets of award shows around the world. This rarefied world may seem like a long way from her upbringing in the High Desert of Victorville, CA, but from a very young age, Alexis’s mother helped to nurture her creativity and love of sewing.
“Every time I had a birthday party my mom would get me something sewing related, like a sewing machine or fabrics,” Alexis said. “Since I came from a small town that didn’t have many clothing stores, everyone wore the same outfits, unless you were lucky and shopped ‘down the hill’ for clothes.”
The desire to wear more unique outfits as a high school student helped to spur on Alexis’ interest in making her own clothes and unleashing her own creativity and styles.
“I started to go to thrift shops to buy boys t-shirts, costume jewelry and cool vintage bags,” she said. “I would then alter the shirts to make them unique, wear funky jewelry and rock odd bags.”
Thankfully for her, Alexis’ high school had a sewing class and, as a senior, she began to expand her skills as a fashion artist. “Once my sisters moved away to college, my mom let me use their room as my own sewing room, since then I was obsessed with sewing and making clothes.”
After high school, Alexis knew that she wanted to continue to develop her interest in fashion and turn it into a career so she began researching different colleges and universities that offered fashion programs. “I came across Woodbury University and it just felt right. It wasn’t too far from home and it was the only four-year program I could find without leaving the state. I went on a tour with my mom and she thought it was perfect for me. The campus felt safe and the atmosphere was comfortable.”
Alexis had a mix of emotions leaving her small town to come to Woodbury. She was excited but nervous. “I was glad that I had previous sewing experience, but it wasn’t necessary since Woodbury’s faculty taught everyone from scratch.” At Woodbury, Alexis learned a number of industry skills and techniques that she has continues to use today in her fashion career.
“I took my courses very seriously and loved to learn as much as I could,” she said, “With my free time I would work in the fashion archive collection. I loved it! I got to work with beautiful vintage pieces and help with the exhibits held on campus. This became my main source of inspiration and helped me develop the sense of style in my collections.”
Alexis also won some awards as a student, including “Best Experimental Design,” “Best Senior Theme Presentation,” and “Outstanding Fourth Year Student.”
After graduating from Woodbury in 2010, Alexis did freelance work, taught sewing classes and worked with big and small companies. She took part in fashion shows and sold her own dresses. After gaining several years of experience in Los Angeles, Alexis landed her current job in London where, for more than a year, she has worked as an assistant manager at Vivienne Westwood Couture, working with the couture department and celebrity clientele.
“It’s great to be a part of a small creative team that develops new red carpet dresses, bridal looks and couture samples,” Alexis said. “It has been wonderful working and attending both London and Paris Fashion Week shows with the team and flying to attend fittings in Vienna and Budapest. The thing that excites me the most about the day is seeing Vivienne in the studio overlooking projects and giving advice to the designers.”
For Alexis, her experience at Woodbury, combined with hard work and her passion for creativity, was a catalyst for launching her exciting career.
“Everyone’s college experience is different,” she said. “But it definitely shapes who you are and I have no regrets when I look back at my time at Woodbury University.”