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Interview: Claire Fleury

Monday 13 June 2016
Words Spindle

Your girlfriend Alesia introduced us and I was intrigued when she told me that you had made her amazing pants that she was wearing and told me about you, I was instantly intrigued, then when I saw your website – I was colour-struck with love! Do you think it is challenging being a a gay woman in a male dominated fashion industry here in NYC?

Honestly, I don’t have much to do with the fashion industry, I operate outside of it in a make belief fairy world of queers and allies… the reason for that possibly being that I would find it hard being a woman in any male dominated industry. What industry is not male dominated btw?

How did you get started in the whole business of design?

I did some costume design for my own theatre productions in the past, mostly for economic reasons, and never anything very serious: it mostly consisted of dying men’s underwear and burning holes in slacks! I did always want to make clothes though, and when I moved to New York in 2011, I sorta needed a new profession: I did not have high hopes for an actress with an accent in this city.. but it was not quite as calculated as that: I started embellishing things, like t shirts, shoes and ties. My partner Alesia loved everything I made from the very first appliqué  I sewed on a tank top, and the rest is kind of history!


You are from Europe.. do you have more inspiration from Americans or other countries style.

I would say most of my icons are British: Bowie, Siouxsie, Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Westwood, McQueen… but there are a few Americans; Prince was one, and Jimi Hendrix, and the B52’s..Diana Ross in Mahogany.

Who is your biggest role model, and  if you could spend one day with them, where would you go and what would you do?

 I would say role model number 1 is Vivienne Westwood. I would like to see her in London, on her turf, and just ask her 1 million questions! But if I could pick one more… Leigh Bowery and I would like to go the Blitz club in London in the eighties…

What are you wearing right this very very second – be honest!

Oh no… really? A modified Mickey Mouse t-shirt and leopard leggings and kind of not so clean socks..


What advice would you give the future twenty-somethings of today?

The twenty-somethings I meet have lots of edge! But then again, I move about in such a colourful and ever-changing playground, where an edge is kind of necessary or common even. So many different people with so many different backgrounds: poor, rich, trust fund, car wash- all trying to live the dream and make a personality out of themselves by inventing a style of dressing, or music, or in having a voice on social media, coming up with yet another gender variant.. I am enjoying this very much and I think there is much more of this in New York than in Amsterdam for instance right now.

My advice for anyone new in the arts- I’m not claiming it is good advice, but it’s the only advice I can give: don’t equate arts with money; it should have nothing to do with each other. Make lots of work, all the time, even if you don’t know what you are doing or where it is going or what you are going to do with all of it: at some point it will make sense and then you will be good at something that is all yours.

Your favorite quote

“Sometimes you have to lose track of the shore in order to find new land” – Andre Gide

Words: Erin O

Photos: Alesia Exum