One to Watch: Ernest Alexander

Ernest Alexander

You could say that design was in Ernest Alexander's blood.

"My great grandmother and grandmother came to America as seamstresses, and growing up and observing how hard they worked gave me this pipe dream of wanting to start a fashion line of my own someday," says Alexander, who went on to design his first bag, the Hudson Messenger, as a business school student. "It's still our best seller!"

Alexander developed his collection first by visiting leather workers and tailors in the Garment District, and "learning through experience how to produce the best product."

Understanding both the practical and aesthetic needs of his customer was a crucial step in perfecting his earliest designs. "Men don't just need an 'It-bag' of the season, they're looking for a bag that can be versatile for their lifestyle -- stylish but not trendy, built to withstand being used every day, and also utilitarian," he explains. "Every aspect of the bag should make sense, from the placement of pockets to the adjustable length of the shoulder strap."

Indeed, Alexander brings that same thoughtfulness to every aspect of producing his handsome leather luggage pieces, as well as a newer range of ready-to-wear.

"We design them two blocks away in our studio, hand-select and deliver all the wax canvas, leather and hardware for the bags to the workshops ourselves, and then work side by side with our craftsman to make sure each bag is made to the highest standard," the designer says with pride.

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