Next in the exciting Maverick series we have someone so unique, the man who does it all, Alan Foley! Known for his bold fashion and his spectacular work with the online fashion and lifestyle magazine Previdar, Alan is multimedia machine! In the following interview we get to know him a little more in depth, stay tuned!
GoTrend: Alan, tell us a little more about yourself!
AF: I was born and bred in Durban but was most definitely not part of the laid-back surfing fraternity. My lifestyle was more high tea, cream scones and gin and tonics. I trained as an interior designer and started practicing in my home town until an opportunity came along to move to Johannesburg and I have never looked back. I love the fast pace and the vibe here. After working for a company in Sandton I eventually started my own business. But recently I have become equally known for dabbling in the fashion industry. I have always been interested in fashion and always wanted to dig and bit deeper into that sphere and ultimately ended up as a features writer for the online fashion/lifestyle magazine Previdar.
GoTrend: Okay, we see you looking fabulous at all the hottest events, what’s your style inspiration and what brands do you look for the most when buying?
AF: Well my greatest style influence has to be Ralph Lauren. I admire his timeless quality – trends are great and fun but I veer more towards the classic both in my interiors as well as my personal fashion style. I particularly love Lauren’s use of colour – something that has become an essential part of my wardrobe. Of course, Louis Vuitton is also one of my favourites but I also look out for interesting fashion labels. I once saw the most amazing menswear ad in a Swedish magazine and was so inspired I planned a week in Stockholm in order to investigate further.
GoTrend: We see you’ve started a brand new project with Krishen Samuel, tell us more!
AF: The fashion industry in SA is such a small yet diverse one. Many people find it difficult to pinpoint what style suits them and what they should be wearing. We don’t profess to be great style gurus but we really get despondent when we see local fashion critics commenting on what people wear, particularly on TV. When you look at what they wear themselves, you can only but shake your head. We would like to view fashion intelligently and give sound advice rather than go the route of bitchy “playing it for laughs” when it comes to style reporting. Its something that hasn’t really been done in this country before. So far we have a regular radio slot on Yfm and a TV series in the pipeline so hopefully we can achieve our dreams.
GoTrend: When it’s time to kickback, what do you do?
AF: Ah, there are very few opportunities to relax when you are juggling two careers simultaneously but when possible I actually love to travel to my favourite part of the world – South America. I have been there so many times and still cant get enough of it. Cities like Buenos Aires are beautiful – the architecture is amazing – its like being in Paris but with more charm and the people are amazing. When I get the chance I also love socialising and eating out with friends, discovering new hot eateries or hotspots. And sometimes its just great retreating to my apartment for a bit of “me” time.
GoTrend: You’re also heavily involved with interior designing, where do you source your inspiration for the creations you work together?
AF: Like I said, I’m very into classic style. It doesn’t date and isn’t trend orientated. Trends come and go but classic style will always be with us. People are sometimes afraid to call on an Interior Designer because they think it translates into spending loads of money but, in the long run, it can actually save you money. For example, curtaining one’s home can be a very expensive exercise and I always try and convince my clients to go for simple neutral curtaining that will never date. Spend the money wisely and go for something classic and of high quality and you should not need to redo your interior for some time.
GoTrend: If there was any advice you could give to someone about getting into the industry of Magazines or interior designing, what would you say?
AF: That’s a tricky one. I kind of stumbled into both professions (it’s a long story) but I always believe you should do something you are passionate about. Interior design looks very glamorous but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes creating the finished interiors – I’m often up a ladder hanging heavy curtains or drilling into walls to hang pictures or mirrors. It can be quite hands on. People often think I just walk into a room and wave a wand and everything just falls into place. I wish it was that easy. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into each home I design. So my advice to anyone wanting to venture into Interior Design would be to go on a course (and a really good one – not those six month courses on offer – you need a good three year course in order to develop the necessary skills). When it comes to the world of fashion my only advice is to find something you are passionate about and go for it! Whether its styling, writing, make up or whatever. And work at it and get out there. In this country it’s a relatively small industry so if you are good, people will get to hear about you.
GoTrend: What’s the future looking like for you Alan?
AF: I don’t like to think too much about the future. I honestly believe the universe will guide you in the right direction as long as you can spot the opportunities that are given to you. I know that may sound a bit weird but no one can really tell what the future holds. Some of my friends only found their true calling once they reached their forties and that’s not only alright but its great. I’m still excited about my future because I have no idea what opportunities may still come my way. All I know is that there must be lots of fun to still be had and I’m ready for it.
GoTrend: To end off, what’s a favourite quote/motto of yours?
AF: I love something that Diana Vreeland, the former editor of American Vogue, once said. “Passion is passion. With passion you can learn anything, you can do anything and you can go anywhere. Passion is so rare because there is so little around us.” I think that is so true. I think it must be so de-humanising waking up every morning and doing something you really dislike. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be in a career that fulfils and excites them but everyone must have something they are really passionate about. Its my wish that everyone gets to discover their passion and can find ways to pursue what it is that makes them happy.
With the overflowing of passion and creativity coming from Alan, it’s clear why he’s one of our media mavericks, if you want more from alan follow him on Twitter below!