Before I went home for winter break in December, one of my closest high school friends, Lexi, told me that she was in the process of starting her own individualized clothing business. Beyond excited, I immediately packed an old Forever 21 jean jacket from my closet, anxious to see how she could transform it. When I was back in Minnesota for a month, I learned about her inspiration, watched her process, and saw the pieces she’s designed thus far. I also collaborated with her to revamp my jean jacket for my sorority bid day outfit, by choosing the colors, designs, and materials. I was able to make it completely unique to my style.
Once Lexi finished my jacket, I realized that her work may interest our WFU Style members and readers. Her designs embody fashion, individuality, and entrepreneurship Lexi has kindly agreed to answer some questions about herself and her new business for all of us at WFU Style.
Meet APB Designed…
Name: Alexis Paper Bottern (but call me Lexi!)
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Major/Minor: Architecture with Studio Art
Favorite Store: Nordstrom (I’ve worked here the past two years!)
Favorite Designer: ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo
Go-To Outfit: MOTHER denim with Dr. Martens combat boots and my Alo teddy jacket
Dream Job: Interior designer
APB Dr. Martens.
What is APB Designed?
APB Designed is my small business where I help customers get personal and individualized items by painting, embroidering, distressing, and beading the item of their choice. It’s a fun way to revamp pieces you already have or to get something new and make it truly feel like it’s your own. The collaborative process between the customer and myself is both challenging and invigorating. I love solving problems, so the brainstorming phase is half the fun!
What inspired you to start APB Designed?
It all started with the “W” jacket. I needed something fun and different for Badger tailgate season, so with the help of one of my artistic friends, we painted a jacket I’ve owned for years. After that first piece, I found myself looking at photos of similar artists’ work and realized there was an entire market for stuff like this. And so APB Designed was born!
My first piece: the “W” jacket.
How does the designing process work?
My process can start one of two ways. One way involves me finding and designing an item and then making it available for customers to order. It is easy for the customer because they don’t have to choose the designs. The other way (and often more fun way) is a custom order. A customer reaches out to me with an item that they either already own or they are hoping to purchase. Together, we decide what designs would work best for the specific piece. Common designs often involve an expression of school or sorority spirit, but the customer’s unique ideas are what make the collaboration so special. Once the design has been chosen, I outline what I’m going to do on the item and then clean the space to put down a coat of rubber cement. This sounds random, but it helps the paint adhere to the various materials. After that I just start painting (or embroidering, distressing, or beading)!
Who can purchase apparel from you?
Anyone! College students definitely have the most options with options for tailgate and sorority/fraternity wear, but that just gives older and younger customers the chance for more creativity in their designs! Orders can be placed through text, email, DM, or my new website!
How much does it cost?
Because I’m just getting things started, prices currently start at $30 (excluding shipping). It all depends on what you want done, whether or not you already own the piece, and how quickly you need it ready. I’m always willing to talk you through the prices and answer any questions that may come up!
What piece are you most proud of thus far?
My favorite piece that I’ve done so far actually isn’t finished yet! I have a pair of rag & bone skinny jeans that I removed the back left pocket of and replaced with an embroidered maroon star. I love finding ways to make each object stand out and these jeans feel super unique.
Rag & Bone skinny jeans in the works.
Where would you like APB Designed to go in the future?
Once my website has been visited, I should be able to see which items are the most popular. I would love to have an inventory of favorite products to streamline the time that it takes to personalize items.
That’s all from Lexi! I hope I’ve inspired you to check out APB Designed! Follow on insta @apb.designed , check out the new website, and feel free to contact Lexi at any time. Oh, and here is the transformation of my jean jacket…