By Laura Scaletti
For Alexa Fairchild, X marks the spot.
From an early age, this dreamer has been passionate about horses and high fashion. Today, at age 25, Alexa not only runs her own fashion line, Alexa Fairchild; she also competes at a Grand Prix level in dressage.
Love and appreciation of fashion is literally in Alexa’s blood. Her parents, Stephen and Erin, have worked for fashion houses such as Ralph Lauren, Armani and Valentino. Her grandfather, John Fairchild, was the publisher and editor of Women’s Wear Daily and founded W Magazine.
“I have been immersed in fashion for my entire life,” Alexa said.
While most children get their fashion fix playing dress-up with friends and Barbie dolls after school, Alexa could be found hanging out at the offices of Valentino, where both her parents worked.
“I would attend Valentino fashion shows; once I was part of a model casting call my dad was running. I loved everything about visiting the House of Valentino,” she said.
Growing up in a fashion-centric family, Alexa became a fashionista by osmosis.
“I have been fashion-crazed since I was born. At age 2, I was having fights with my mom about what I was going to wear for the day,” Alexa said.
Fast forward to 2017 and Alexa launched her equestrian-inspired Alexa Fairchild fashion line.
Alexa’s inspiration for her fashion line comes from her “obsession” with horses.
Born in New York City, Alexa and her family moved to Rome when she was 2 so her parents could further their fashion careers.
“I started pony rides in the Villa Borghese Park in Rome and have been hooked ever since,” she said.
After four years in Italy, it was time for the family to once again pack their bags in pursuit of fashion and move to Brussels, Belgium. Once in Brussels, Alexa started riding more seriously and joined the pony club at age 5, where she explored a variety of disciplines.
“When I was 8 or 9, my first dressage trainer spotted me as a contender for FEI dressage pony level. I had done one jumping competition, where I failed miserably, and one dressage competition that I won the first time around. That’s when I made my decision about dressage,” Alexa said.
“I love dressage so much because it’s very intricate and you create such a strong relationship with your horse. It teaches you discipline, patience and planning — all very important life lessons,” she continued. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Alexa definitely chose the correct discipline for her. For the past 13 years, she’s represented her adopted country of Belgium at a variety of international competitions, including participating in nine consecutive European Championships in the dressage youth categories.
Alexa hasn’t just competed for Belgium; she’s come home with hardware for her efforts.
“One of my proudest moments was when our Belgian team won the bronze medal at the European Championships in Compiègne in 2013. After a 10-year drought, my team brought the medal back to Belgium,” Alexa said.
For the past two years, Alexa has been training with Wim Verwimp at his private stables, where she currently has two horses training and competing at the Grand Prix level. “Wim has taught me so much during my time with him and really helped me advance. He’s been amazing at boosting my confidence,” she said.
Alexa’s Grand Prix mounts are Dabanos D’o4, a 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, and Romy, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare, both of whom she loves riding.
“I absolutely adore DabDab, he’s such a special and sweet horse. Although I’ve only had him since February, he has put so much trust into me. We’ve been able to build a mutually respectful relationship over the past few months,” Alexa said. “Romy is a firecracker. She is feisty yet can be so chill. She can be perfectly calm during awards ceremonies, but will freak out if she sees some pigeons in a tree.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Alexa likes to dream big and has set her sights on one day competing for Belgium at the Olympics.
“Not only is that part of my personal philosophy, it’s part of Alexa Fairchild’s brand — We Connect Dreamers x. I would like to encourage everyone to follow their dreams no matter how big or seemingly unattainable they may be,” Alexa said.
As with her dressage dreams and pursuits, Alexa’s passion for fashion has the full support of her family.
“My dad is an advisor and investor, my mom and I are co-managing directors and my sister, Natasha, is a visual consultant,” Alexa said. “I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my parents. Their industry knowledge and amazing contacts have been so helpful in getting my line off the ground.”
After many family discussions, Stephen and Erin encouraged Alexa to create a business that combined her love for all things equestrian and fashion.
“At first the concept was to create an equestrian apparel brand; however, that veered more towards creating a lifestyle brand. I was looking for something that was inspired by the equestrian world, that could be worn at the barn, around town and in more urban environments,” Alexa said.
The first collection, launched in 2017, created an urban equestrian vibe as it featured recycled cashmere knits, shearling outerwear and technical leggings. “The Alexa Fairchild brand has a strong individual vibe channeled through iconic pieces that inspire freedom of expression, individuality and the pursuit of adventure,” Alexa said.
Connecting With X
The letter “x” has a powerful and symbolic meaning to Alexa. It appears in her life from iconic saddle stitching, which is also found throughout her clothing line, to halting at centerline and a tattoo on her wrist. She’s always been drawn to “x” as a connector.
“My sister and I have tattoos on our wrists; I have an ‘x’, while she has an ‘o’ symbolizing a kiss and hug. This is our way of always being connected by a glance at our wrist,” Alexa said.
Most importantly, “x” connects the dreamers who follow the Alexa Fairchild brand. Deeply interlaced to the brand is the creation of the Freedom Tribe.
“This is an open-minded community where like-minded, risk-taking and fearless dreamers of different ages and walks of life connect to stand out of the pack as they follow their dreams. Together, the dreamers can voice and share their dreams openly,” Alexa said.
“In a time where the world is upside-down and everyone is so vulnerable, we want the dreamers to tap into the emotional side of things,” she continued. “We want the community to share their ups and downs, struggles and victories while trying to chase their dreams.”
Just like riders feel like they’re part of a barn family, Alexa wants those who wear her brand to feel like they’re members of the Freedom Tribe, and to inspire them to dream big — just like she has in both fashion and dressage.
“You’ll make mistakes, and that’s a good thing, because everyone learns from their mistakes,” Alexa said. “If it’s your dream, do it and believe in yourself!”
For more information, visit www.alexafairchild.com/
Photos by Annemik Vleugels + Matthias De Herdt — Peryton Films