It can be hard to decide what you want to be and what you want to do when you leave Radley. Very few people have a chosen career path at 18 and, as a result, when choosing a degree it’s usually linked to favourite A-Levels. Which is exactly what Alex Bruce did.
Alex (2011, J) left Radley with A Levels in English literature, geography, and geology and after a gap year working in Christchurch School, Perth, Australia headed to Newcastle University to study Human Geography. Fast forward to 2020 and Alex is now taking a Master’s degree in Fashion Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London. In addition, Alex is building his on-line business, LB Vintage Boxes, which he started while doing his degree.
We spoke to Alex to find out what was behind the change in direction and more about his business.
A Masters in Fashion is not an obvious choice after Human Geography, is there a link?
I enjoyed my degree, I have no regrets in choosing it, but fashion is what really excites me. I had already been selling clothing on Depop – a fashion marketplace app, plus setting up LB Vintage Boxes with a friend from university. My dissertation was on sustainability in fashion, concentrating on whether organic cotton was a viable, sustainable answer to conventional cotton in the fashion industry.
What inspired you to start the business?
Modern fashion is very boring and run of the mill with people wearing the same thing. We wanted to wear unique items and at the same time give old clothes a new lease of life as we are conscious of the gap between sustainability and modern fashion. Having already sold clothing on Depop we knew there were other people out there who felt the same.
How is LB Vintage Boxes different from other vintage clothing websites?
We specialise in everyday garments inspired by 90s streetwear and skate culture, clothes we would wear ourselves. Based on age, height, size, colour preference etc. we put together a personalised mystery box. It makes for the perfect gift!
Is business going well?
Definitely. We have just had our hundredth order. We started LB Vintage Boxes under a year ago and so are delighted with how it’s going. The last two weeks has been very busy with 30 orders coming in. With Christmas less than four weeks away and in the middle of a second lock down we have benefitted from Covid-19, which probably isn’t true for most people. We had planned to have a pop-up shop back in March but this was cancelled as it coincided with the first day of lock down. However, we now have a pop-up shop planned for Saturday 5th December in Bond Street where there will be one off items and box sets for sale.
How do you juggle your time between a Masters and running a business?
As the course focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation, having a ‘real life’ business already up and running is a bonus. It means I can put everything into practice straightaway. I have access to industry professionals who provide mentoring and teamwork projects with other students such as ‘how to grow a business’.
When you’ve finished your Masters what’s next?
I would like to expand LB Vintage Boxes to a proper brand, but if it isn’t viable then I’m certain I will be doing something fashion related.
Have you thought about using the Radley network to help you?
Yes. When I finish my Masters I will have a clear idea of what we want to achieve and I will be ready to take the business to the next level, then I will approach the network then for advice.
Lastly, thinking back to when you were at Radley are there any standout moments for you?
I played Bigside rugby and when I was a 6.1 Radley celebrated its rugby centenary with a fixture against Sherborne School, who we played against in Radley’s very first fixture. There were about 3,000 people watching the match so walking out on the pitch was quite special. Sadly, we lost.
To find out more about Alex’s vintage boxes click here.