In her autumn-winter offering, “Hello London, U good?” Alyssa Marie Groeneveld experiments with puffer elements and her signature drapery.
Peek at Alyssa Marie Groeneveld’s playlist, and you’ll find Pharrell, Ye, Ciara, and Missy Elliott. These artists, which have been on her rotation since she was thirteen, steered the Dutch-Filipino designer to a fascination with hip-hop and street culture. Influenced by the predominantly masculine sensibilities of streetwear at the time, it felt natural for Alyssa to create menswear and unisex fashion that mirrored how she dressed.
This April, the rising designer presents her newest autumn-winter assemblage titled “Hello London, U good?” She dedicates the project to London, where she moved two years ago, to take up a master’s in menswear fashion at Central Saint Martins. “I had no idea if I wanted to stay, but here I am still,” she tells Vogue Philippines.
Like many, if not all designers, Alyssa’s work is highly personal. This particular collection chronicles her journey of growth in a city that, in the past two years, she continuously wanted to escape. It took her conscious decision-making to adopt an empowered mindset; she describes the last three months of designing as surrendering to exactly where she is. “If you’re not in a really good state with yourself, you want to run,” she reflects.
And that’s how she found her collection’s central motif in one of the most recognizable emblems of the English capital: the tube. “London has a very big metro pool with all kinds of people. The tube is a place where they cross each other sharing the same journey on the train, but have a completely different one outside.”
Alyssa’s fall assortment involves rework and draping techniques that she’s known to employ, using deadstock sports fabrics found on secondhand sites such as eBay or Vinted. A new integration is puffer elements interpreted on multi-hooded jackets and layered trousers, a smooth and sizable foil to her jagged pseudo-sportswear. The designer admits that puffed textiles are difficult to drape, but she enjoyed how the challenge led her to construct “new volumes around the body.” She further explains the collection, saying, “some outfits are very dope, and some are very sexy, but comfort is the base.”
The garments feature a new logo by graphic designer Bram Romkes, Alyssa’s longtime friend. “When I lived in Amsterdam, I worked a lot with Bram, he is very multi-talented in the visual aspect. For me, it was nothing more than natural to involve him in my brand. If I work with someone, I always want their influence in my work,” she shares. Their collaboration process was seamless, with Alyssa simply sharing her brief and Bram delivering options for them to develop. The duo landed on a pronounced AMG trademark that, like the label’s clothes, is rough around the edges. It figures subtly on shirts and puffer jackets but is also executed as a monogram print on a full puffer outfit, with the logo among amorphous shapes and against a warm blue.
Opening up about her process, the designer divulges that she’s done away with patterns and instead makes her clothes on the stand, allowing intuition to guide her draping. However, she recognizes that her offbeat garments aren’t the easiest to wear, which is why she delves into more wearable and pattern-cut garbs for her autumn presentation. It’s part of a goal to expand her selection and eventually offer ready-to-wear and one-off drapery.
The designer has other aspirations, like working with at least one friend or admired creative on every collection moving forward. But for now, Alyssa celebrates the beauty that her new city has to offer, one she can finally appreciate now that she’s in a good place mentally. “I am not planning to go anywhere else,” she says. “I plan to enjoy the evolved me in London.”
Photographs by Shahram Saadat, Movement Direction by Ken Nakijima, Hair by Tobia Bartolini