5 Minutes with Alison Cotton, Director of Lifestyle Brand ‘First Base’

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Just avoid the term "sports luxe".

Alison Cotton of First Base

The director of active-leisure clothing brand First Base, Alison Cotton, lets us in on her world.

What inspired you to start First Base?
I wanted to take my love of surf and skate culture and blend that with the clean silhouettes I love but always find so hard to get. And I’m a glutton for punishment, obviously.

What drives you?
Outside of some sick obsessive disorder I clearly have for hard work, my staff, my crew. They push me. I push them. We share in the highs and pick each other up in the lows.

What are your thoughts on the sports luxe trend?
It’s not a trend anymore… is it? It’s pretty much a way of life now, I think. I have a love-hate relationship with sports luxe as a title! But I guess ultimately it has broadened what sportswear can be and made it really palatable for people to adopt.

How should you transition from the gym to the office?
If you can avoid sweating, or have the luxury of a shower between gym and office then opting for great basics is always going to hold you in good stead. A simple muscle tank or tee looks like so much more when you throw a statement bomber over the top, and will totally elevate your look. On top of that, I love a good accessory. At present I’m quite fond of headscarves – today I wore a bandana to work as if I was [Guns N’ Roses singer] Axl Rose and acted as if that was completely normal. No one said a word. So in my book, it was a success.

What makes for a great office culture?
Working with amazing people who are on the same wavelength. I’m very lucky that my girls and I all have a similar outlook on life and, in different ways, are all the First Base girl. When you take a bunch of people who have that in common, and all share in the vision, it’s so easy to create genuine brand culture because it just happens. Plus, a few bottles of rosé on a Friday after work definitely helps. It’s our version of a team-building exercise.

What’s next for First Base?
We open our first serious store in [Sydney’s] Westfield Bondi Junction in July, so that’s big for us and bloody exciting. We’re also rolling out some new product categories, one of which is menswear, which has been in the works for ages.

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