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Women who wear Acey: chef Alexandra Dudley

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alexandra dudley acey woman We're thrilled to be launching a new series that documents the wonderful women from our community. We're constantly blown away by the incredible women that align themselves with The-Acey and who feel a real connection to us. In late 2014 we set out to create a business that celebrates the stories behind the products we sell and now we want to tell the stories of the women that wear them!

The images are taken by real acey women on a film camera which makes them very real images. Some over exposed, some accidents but we hope you find it refreshing to see and hear the lives of our audience.

We're honoured to introduce the first 'real' acey woman, chef and author Alexandra Dudley. Alex has been a long standing acey woman, we talk to her about incorporating sustainability into her wardrobe and kitchen.  
Alexandra dudley interview acey woman

Alex wears the Gingham Petticoat lane dress at Newington Green Fruit & Veg shop

Let's start with your wardrobe, what's your approach to dressing?

To be honest it wasn’t until I found the Acey that I even thought I could be a bit more 'conscious’ with my clothing and style too. And if I can't find what I'm looking for ethically and I buy myself something from a high street brand which very occasionally I still do, I buy with a real consciousness. I think do I love this? Does it make me feel great? Do I need it and does it serve me? Ideally I would love all my clothing to be eco wonderful but I am a big believer in wearing clothes that make you feel great. Thankfully the Acey is brilliant for that. I also find that some of the most cherished items in my wardrobe are hand me downs from my mother. 

Alexandra dudley interview acey woman
Alex wears the Gingham Petticoat Lane dress at home in Stoke Newington, where she hosts beautiful supper clubs in her walled garden. 

You're really passionate about reducing food waste in both the home and catering industry. How do you inspire change?  

Mainly through my book and social media channels. My book Land & Sea is subtitled ‘secrets to simple, sustainable, sensational food.’ There are some really simple things you can incorporate into your cooking habits that mean you waste less and actually eat and enjoy more. I also try to get the message out there on social media too although I am not a fan of bombarding or shaming people. I just do my thing and give people a little insight into the small things I do.  I recently did a very rough video on how to make a stock pot which demonstrated my ‘stock bowl’ - a bowl where I keep vegetable scraps until there is enough for a stock. Its an incredibly simple idea but people loved it. I had so many brilliant messages and pictures from people who were inspired to do the same. Thats the best thing really - if you can inspire people to make small, manageable changes. I always say when making the change to be more sustainable make sure the changes themselves are sustainable for you otherwise you will end up resenting and ultimately neglecting them.

Alexandra dudley interview

 Alex wears the Bold Stripe Fort Dungarees at home in Stoke Newington, whilst photographing one of her recipes for social media.

What inspires your cooking?

The seasons primarily. I think one of the best things about cooking is the seasons; eagerly waiting for summer berries or foraging for wild garlic. It forces you to be creative too as you have to work with whats there. I am quite strict with my seasonal eating too. If it isn’t in season I generally won’t cook with it. It sounds a bit rigid but it is in fact incredibly liberating and you end up making some fantastic meals because of it. Travel and eating out also influences my cooking. We are so privileged to live in a city that gives us access to so many different cuisines. I often get ideas from meals out whether it be a flavour pairing or presentation technique.  

Tell us about your downtime, what do you do to relax and feel well?

I find cooking really relaxing and if I have ever had a stressful day I look forward to cooking my dinner, having a bath and just pottering about in my kitchen. If I have just cooked for a big event I can be a bit kitchen out so I will usually read or make some art work. I trained as an artist and still make work - mainly sketches but I also work with thread. Music too! Music is probably my biggest vice, just listening or singing and dancing like a  fool in my kitchen. Music can change my mood in an instant and it really gets me out of my head which is a very good thing as I can get a little bunged up with worry and overthinking at times.

Alexandra dudley interview at home in Stoke Newington

Alex's creative work space at home, filled with trinkets found from travels and events.

What are your wardrobe staples?

I think my Gingham Petticoat Lane Dress, its my newest purchase too and I adore it. I am a big fan of the country/city chic look and it is definitely just that. I've worn it to a very smart lunch and equally to shop at the Saturday markets. Then I would probably say my Mat & Nat backpack which I’ve had for a while now. I remember when the Acey were the only people selling them. Its flawless, long lasting, fits my lap top and other bits and looks very swish!
What does it mean to you to be considered as an Acey Woman?

I think one of the nicest things about Holly and her brand The-Acey is the community that she inspires both between her customers and her suppliers (many of whom I know are women). It's tough being a woman and I think its always lovely to feel part of something. To me being an Acey Woman isn’t just about wearing Acey clothes or even shopping with a conscience. It's also about celebrating women and women doing great things. Holly will cringe when she reads this but to me she is just golden with inspiration. It takes guts to start something new and on your own and even bigger guts to go against the wave and stick with it. Her determination and passion definitely filters through. Every time I wear something I bought on the Acey I feel that bit more wow, woo, you got this!

Learn more about Alexandra Dudley here: www.alexandradudley.com & @alexandradudley

If you're an aceywoman & would like to be featured please email hello@the-acey.com with the email titled 'Aceywoman Submission'.