Ali Murray is an immanent multi-tasker. Her Creative Quarter-based boutique, eponymously dubbed Alila, has kitted out countless party-goers in labels sourced from Romania to Australia. Seven years ago, exactly half a decade into her Drury Street tenure, she swapped physical sales for digital platforms through the successful launch of .
Whilst perusing and procuring these thoughtfully-crafted collections, a thirst to stitch and seam in her own right re-emerged. Rather than shelve her thriving enterprise, she decided to embrace part-time tutelage: enrolling in the Grafton Academy in September 2017, she readily soaked up their technical precision and explored her penchant for head-turning prints.
Whilst developing her debut collection, a friend’s chance purchase of a Richard Quinn coat introduced Murray to his kaleidoscopic ethos, for which she fell head-over-heels. The additional discovery of Quinn’s acclaimed adjacent studios in London, offering sustainable print services at an accessible price, led her to produce sumptuous textiles with him. The resulting mid-range collection, Find Your Zebra, is a fashionable feast: silken, monochromatic stripes meld with magenta shots and scarlet cashmere, mixing skirts that twirl with coats that swing.
Murray’s retailer philosophy has always been to avoid trends, preferring “pieces that people can pull out again and again,” and this trans-seasonal attitude is tangible across her mood-lifting designs.
The entire campaign can be relished over on , with each item made to order. Her next undertaking — designing a graduate collection for Grafton — will be unveiled in January and, judging by the whispers I’ve stolen, will be a cherry-blossomed antidote to drab winter dressing.
Words: Amelia O’Mahony Brady