Alexis Stepanek is an entrepreneur and designer in Detroit, Michigan. She founded the clothing line Basic Brat, known for its bold, geometric patterns on minimalist silhouettes.
I went to the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design, with every intention to start a career in product design post graduation.
About two years ago I started basic_brat as a fashion blog since I love clothes and having fun with strong looks. I wasn’t really cut out for fashion blogging. I’ve always been more of a “maker.” About a year ago, I had the idea to start designing and making my own textiles and garments. In high school I made my homecoming and prom dresses, so I was pretty familiar with garment construction. I combined that skill set with some basic knowledge about screen printing I picked up in art school, and voila!
Any side ventures/creative pursuits?
This past spring I designed a Summer ’17 line that included women’s swimwear and launched it at the Haute to Death Swim Club which is a monthly pool party in Detroit with some of the best summer vibes you could ask for.
Faux Cowhide Rug
Overall style approach for home?
I’d like to say I’m minimalist and mid-century modern focused but my apartment is honestly pretty eclectic and messy with more plants in it than I can count. One room is bright pink (from the previous tenant). I have a white and mint green paisley victorian couch that has a dark mahogany frame, a dark wood coffee table, and a faux cow skin rug. It somehow all just fits and works together even if it secretly clashes.
Modern Ceramic Hanging Planters
More is more? Or less is more? Explain.
I’ve always aspired to live by the less is more motto. It’s hard as hell. I own 5 shades of navy lipstick. So I think I’m realistically living in the more is more world.
Overall life philosophy
Be nice to everyone, karma is very real. But also stick up for yourself, and your beliefs. Take risks. Live a little messy. Fall in love with yourself. Fall in love with other women, admire their strength and their beauty.
What things make you happy/bring you the most joy in your home and life? Room-by-room, area of life (home, work, play)
I was really picky about what artwork I picked for my apartment. One of the pieces I selected was by Maisie Cousins and I’m honestly in love with it every time I see it. It reminds me that I should be proud of my feminine “flaws” like stretch marks and body hair.
And that couch I mentioned? I’m not sure why, but whenever I’m sick or not feeling well, or a little bit sad, I take a nap on that couch instead of my bed. It’s really comforting to me.
Favorite recent purchase?
Sam Edelman leather mule loafers with little tassels.
What are you obsessed with right now?
I love playing tennis and going to outdoor movies. Anything summer and active, really.
Not a bottle of wine: best host/hostess gift you received or like to give?
A friend gave me a pink and green plant for my house warming which perfectly matched my bright pink living room.
Best gift you’ve received recently?
A black 3D printed necklace pendant on a black leather cord, from a designer’s studio in Brazil.
Best gift you’ve given recently
This past Christmas I got my mom a yogurt maker.
She uses it almost every week and always texts me updates with how different batches have turned out.
If I’m going out dancing - tequila and grapefruit juice.
Practical items that you can’t live without?
Frivolous items that you can’t live without?
Sentimental items that have moved with you throughout your life?
This silverware set that I picked up at an estate sale with my Mom. Apparently my Grandpa held the patent for the design, and it’s moved with me to the past 4 apartments. Also, a ring from my Grandma that I haven’t taken off since her funeral.
Favorite recent and all-time books and movies
Recent favorite books:
Favorite recent cultural experience/outings
I went to the Toledo Museum of Art for the Kehinde Wiley retrospective and was blown away by the beauty in his work. I had seen one or two of his paintings previously, but seeing the evolution and different themes side by side was incredible.
Favorite types of vacations/destinations?
The Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan to relax.
New cities around the world to adventure.
Social/community cause/activism that you’re passionate about
I’ve been part of Seraphine Collective in Detroit for almost two years now.
Seraphine Collective is an inclusive, supportive and active community of feminists designed to foster creative expression and camaraderie among underrepresented musicians and artists in Detroit.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know when our next open meeting is!
Best advice your mother ever gave you
My mother is an extremely positive and strong woman and taught me to always find the silver lining. That it’s OK to feel upset, but to always keep pushing forward and learn from the past.