Fitzroy-based designer Alexi Freeman isn’t afraid to play with busy prints and neon hues, and his playful summer collection has found its perfect at home at fellow print aficionado Leonard Street. Freeman met us at Leonard Street’s Flinders Lane store to give some insight into his summer offerings.

Jean Kemshall-Bell: Can you tell me about the inspiration behind your summer collection?

Alexi Freeman: I worked with a diamond python print and created this kaleidoscopic type of print. We always work with geometric versions of nature or animals – flora and fauna. It’s a bit of a battle of the snakes. There’s a yellow and green tree snake version and then a black and white one, which is sort of like a snow python. The accessories also follow that [theme].

JKB: What are some of the fabrics you have used?

AF: For spring, we mainly worked with silks and mesh and a bit of kangaroo leather.

JKB: What would you say is a feature that runs throughout your collections?

AF: The prints definitely tend to be the highlight each season. It sort of determines the silhouettes and the rest of the direction of the collection. We always start with the print.

JKB: Why do you think having a retail space is important? What does it offer customers?

AF: It’s always great, in an ideal world, to come in and try things on and get a real sense of – you know – the devil is the detail. Things might look great online but they might not end up being great in a physical viewing.

JKB: As a designer, how is having a retail space helpful?

AF: It’s great for feedback. Obviously, the primary object is to sell the work and for people to realise that it is beautifully made and that the fabrics are really good quality.

JKB: What is one of your favourite pieces from the collection?

AF: The kangaroo mini skirt is pretty awesome. The shoes that we did in collaboration with Preston Zly are pretty rockin’ too.

JKB: Are there any trends that you think will be cropping up this coming season?

AF: There’s always such a plethora of trends. You know – how long is a piece of string? But we’re still doing brights. It’s not what everyone is doing at the moment but we’ve got some definite neon shades coming through. And textural things, like mixing leather and lace.

JKB: What are some of your favourite Melbourne stores?

AF: I love Milly Sleeping and Craft Victoria is always good.

This is part of our MSFW Designer Retail Series where we visit Melbourne designers at their retailers in the city in conjunction with City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Spring Fashion Week which runs from August 31 to September 8 2013.