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1,000 COSIGN’s: Meet Alec Smith, Founder of Alec Xavier Co. | COSIGN #144 of 1K

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Who is Alec Smith? What’s your story?

I be remiss if I didn’t first take out this time to show gratitude and appreciation to you the KG and COSIGN team for considering enough of me to to have this conversation. Thank you!

My story begins with the love and spiritual guidance of my parents. I was raised in a God-fearing house hold in the suburbs of Collin County in the 90’s. I discovered purpose early in life. As the eldest of 4 I quickly adopted the ways of a leader as was my indirect calling. These same skills translated in the classroom, on the field, through church ministry, and beyond. 

My father, who has been the epitome of a superhero in my life has always been an advocate for tough love. He, balanced with the unconditional love and infinite wisdom of my mother, saw fit that I started working my first job at the age of 10. They encouraged me to set my own standards; although their expectations of me were high enough. They consistently reminded me to neglect fear, to trust God, and to remember the siblings watching my every move.

As time went on, as time does, I gradually molded into the man you see before you. Challenges along the journey served as fire from which passion was forged. Certain individuals along the way served as iron which helped sharpen the man. And under immense pressure a handful of small dreams and ideas crumbled while others took on diamond-like shape. 

Growing up were you always into fashion? What do you love most about fashion that made you want to enter the industry?

I love this question because it makes me revisit parts of my childhood that I might have otherwise ignored. To directly answer the question, I think one can say fashion always played a role in my upbringing even if I wasn’t fully aware of the effect it was having.

Frankly, my mother dressed me until the 4th grade against my will. I’ll never forget sitting in class the week of our Dallas Symphony Orchestra field trip and Mrs. Johnson’s voice echoing through the classroom saying, “don’t forget to dress your best for our field trip like Alec does every day.” One of my more embarrassing elementary school moments.

At the time I didn’t understand it. Why did my mom send me to school in a tucked shirt every day? I understood dressing up for church Sunday after Sunday but dressing up for school just felt like overdoing it.

Fast forward to my high school years, I never really dressed the ways my peers did. I just didn’t fit in that box. I had my own flow and my own process which guided my approach to any given day. Of course, my involvement in church required a certain level of elevation which I came to appreciate by this time and that same level of elevation led me to attend school at Morehouse College.

By this stage in my life I discovered a true passion for fashion but an even deeper love for style. It was never about the clothes themselves but rather about the manner in which they were worn. It was in Atlanta that I embraced the notion that clothes spoke a language that the dictionary couldn’t articulate. The art of dress was one of expression. Just as one dresses up on Halloween; garments lend an opportunity to the wearer to be whomever he or she wants. 

What I love most about fashion is its ability to transform one’s image, open doors that might’ve otherwise remained shut, and ultimately change lives. Through my work in this industry I’ve seen esteem lifted, I’ve witnessed job opportunities offered and respect given, and I’ve even watched energy exchanges and shifts encouraged by clothing. 

For me, it’s about the ability to create. The ability to ignite change. The ability to say so much without uttering a word.

That’s amazing! You’re the founder of Alec Xavier Co. tell us about your company and the services you offer.

Alec Xavier Co. is my greatest dream made reality. My company is a men’s lifestyle business centered around custom men’s tailoring. We are a Dallas-based brand focused on the miseducation of menswear from style to approach as well as providing a local, private tailoring “AXperience” that is second to none. With over 50 years of collective experience between myself and my tailors we pride ourselves in providing expert guidance when it comes to building a wardrobe and/or constructing a custom piece. We are snobs for timeless elegance and lifelong students of the game. We are advocates for stylish excellence and we encourages gents in our network to be the same. We belief that the suit should be worn by the gent and not the other way around. 

Our business is structured to provide wedding services from customizing the perfect wedding tuxedo to groomsman packages to day-of preparation. We offer personal styling services, wardrobe consultations, and of course custom tailoring services.

Alec Xavier Co. will be expanding as a lifestyle company in the near future so stay tuned for more details 2021.

Congratulations brother! One of your recent IG posts, posed the question, “Why Custom?” Why do you believe men should invest in custom tailored fitting suits?

When a gentleman walks in a menswear store to purchase a quick suit of the rack he goes through a process that looks similar to this…

First, he finds the cookie-cutter shape that “best” fits his size. At this point he has not taken into account his posture he’s usually focused on the waist and ensuring the garment closes. From here he will be marked with chalk by a tailor who is focusing on trivial details including the length of the coat and trouser, the fit of the waistband, and potentially the length of the sleeve. By the time tailoring is finished the client has been convinced he’s got the perfect fitting suit; however, he can’t seem to get the fabric rolls out of his back or neck, his pants were tailored a little too tight, his sleeves are too short, and to top it all off, the entire suit is made with synthetic material such as polyester and viscose so it’s stiff and lacks breathability. 

In our professional experience one size simply does not fit all. You are one-of-one and deserve to invest in a suit personalized  for you and your occasion. We believe custom garments should flatter your specific shape and size and should address your distinct posture and individual taste. A made-to-measure piece with Alec Xavier Co. is constructed to meet your needs, designed to enhance your image, and tailored to leave a lasting impression on anyone you come in contact with. Our question is, “why settle?”

That’s a great point of view. For someone looking to build up their wardrobe where do you recommend they start? How many suits should they start with, colors, and affordable brands they should shop with for said suits?

For someone looking to build a wardrobe it’s imperative that they first do an inventory of self and determine what their daily needs are. Not everyone needs a suit for work so owning multiple suits might not make sense for everyone. In my experience the most well-rounded wardrobe for most gents follows this blueprint:

1. 2 to 4 White and Blue Shirts (subtle patterns are acceptable)

2. 2 pairs of medium to dark grey trousers

3. A nice pair of denim

4. A navy sports coat (not a blazer)

5. A navy and/or a charcoal suit (depending on budget)

6. A nice pair of dark brown lace-up shoes

This is a foundational set for any gentleman’s wardrobe as all these items are versatile and interchangeable and work together to complete a total look. By rotating shirts you are changing the entire fit. Some days may not require the jacket and I personally encourage the use of suit trousers as separates (without the suit coat) to get the best out of your 2-piece garment. Further, all of these looks can be dressed down with over shirts, bomber jackets, and other casual garments.

Every gent should have at least one navy suit for business and one charcoal suit for formal occasions as well as funerals. If you are a gent who steps out in a suit more often than not I would recommend lighter shades of blue or grey as well as subtle patterns to mix up your rotation. Finally, as it pertains to black suits, black suits are NOT a necessity in a man’s wardrobe. Your black tie occasions most often require a tuxedo. For other occasions, your versatile charcoal suit will serve you well. 

That said, if you’re looking for affordable, quality suit options I recommend Alec Xavier Co., but of course if you’re looking for a quick fit I recommend Suitsupply or Indochino.

Thanks for that insight. What do you enjoy most about your business?

There’s very little about this business that I don’t enjoy. I enjoy the art of design, the consultations which offer the best conversation, the looks on customers’ faces when they try on their final product, the opportunity to spread knowledge of the industry, and the chance to grow in my craft daily. Every day with Alec Xavier Co. is a day worth celebrating.

2020 has been one for the books, how has the pandemic affected your business and how have you pivoted?

The pandemic has tried to have its way on my business but I praise God for allowing AXC to prosper in this season. Some minor setbacks in the industry have taken a toll on many menswear businesses, but because I provide a private service I have been able to remain mobile and protected during this period. I have started wearing masks and providing virtual consultations to offer peace of mind to my clients. Further, I’ve been forced to spread more news about my business by way of social media forcing me to tap into my marketing capabilities. The pivot was essential for survival as a small business, but I’m grateful because it’s there’s been beauty in this struggle.

Last but not least, who are 5 entrepreneurs in the fashion industry you #COSIGN along with their IG handle?

I #COSIGN

  1. Jacob Clayton (@_jcscott)
  2. Mike Taylor (@miket_thegent) and Franklin Moss (@quite_frank) of @franklinandanthony
  3. Ja’Vay Dawn (@vayydawn) of @2828studios
  4. Mark Godbolt (@markzgodbolt) of @thegodbolt 
  5. Marvin Gilmore (@thatmangilmore)

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