Alison Cotton: Founder @ First Base: Sydney

Make love to it, don’t fuck it.

Name: Ali Cotton
Occupation: Designer and Creative Director of First Base
Hometown: Perth, WA
Currently residing: Bondi, NSW

Originally from Perth WA, Alison Cotton moved to Sydney only 4 years ago and currently resides in Bondi Beach. Birth place of her lifestyle surf brand FIRST BASE. FB launched in 2013 but there was a journey to get there.

Ali always dreamed of being a pro-surfer. She lived and breathed it, travelling hours alone to get to the local beaches of Perth. After school she studied Marine Biology to be that much closer to the ocean, but at age 17 Ali broke her back and this changed the path her life was destined for. She spent the next 2 years in rehab and couldn’t get her dive license to complete her studies in marine biology so she moved onto her other passion – fashion

After spending years working in fashion and textile Ali was at a transition in her life, feeling it was time to begin a line that was true to who she was – a basics brand.

FIRST BASE was born out of this transition, it was relevant to where she was in her life, Turning 30 and starting something new. Back to first base!

It naturally evolved but was carefully planned and strategised to decide what her voice would be. Ali had a clear direction about what it would be, who it was for and what it would say as a brand. a mental mission statement for this lifestyle that’s so much more than a fashion brand…it’s a culture!

You can find Ali radiating her positive energy around Bondi where First Base HQ is situated or stretching out at Body Mind Life yoga Bondi. It’s pretty standard for Ali to steal away her co-workers and break her working day up with a surf at Bondi Beach. The only thing Ali wanted in the entire world was taken away from her but fate dealt her a new path that combined her love for the ocean and fashion into her lifestyle and culture brand FIRST BASE. AR spent the day at her home in Bondi Beach. Enjoy!

When I was a child I wanted to be… a pro surfer. Didn’t every body? Or an artist. So I used to paint waves all the time. Fucking hilarious right!

The one thing I do everyday… play music. I need music on all the time. Soothes me.

The studies I took to get where I am… I actually flunked out of fashion school… I only passed my first year. So does that count? I’ve learnt a lot more from my own mistakes…. of which there has been a lot. So by my math that makes me pretty educated.

I’m inspired by… the Beach. Surfing. Friends.

People I admire… honestly, people who are totally submersed in what they do and just live for it. Those people produce some pretty cool stuff.

I’m currently listening too… Right now… Chet Faker. I just heard his cover of the Sonia Dada song Lover. So great. Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard have been getting a lot of air time of late as well ad Def Leppard for my early morning workouts.

The tools I can’t live without are… common sense.

The obstacles that have come my way… too many to list, but these days I tend to look as obstacles as simply a challenge. My usual way of dealing with such things is just to keep going straight ahead… like a game of chicken.

If I could change anything… I’d be taller. Or world peace. I’d go for that. I sound like way less of a jerk now huh?

The internet has influenced my career… I actually remember a time when email and the internet didn’t exist. It’s quite an amazing thing isn’t it. The internet has definitely created a huge degree of transparency between brands and it has certainly made me aware of the absolute need to keep pushing forward and creating new cool stuff. Never stop.

My favourite place in the world… Perth. Margaret River. Byron. Hawaii. Bondi…. Give me an ocean and a stinking hot day and I’m happy.

I would like to travel…Turkey. Its on the list.

The highlights over the past 12 months have been… Just seeing everything with First Base come together. Seeing the ideas in my head turn into a reality. And honestly, working with the best group of girls going. Even our interns rule. I’m very very lucky.

Advice I have to share for those who want to get into this profession… Hold on tight. It’s a fucking wild ride. And be humble. Always always be humble. No one likes an arsehole.

The latest project I’m working on… ahhh now that’s a secret. Of course!

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Photography: Katie Kaars

Contributor: Michelle Owen