Girl On Brand: Alex Williamson

Girl On Brand

Bumble’s chief brand officer has a style that’s as bright and refreshing as the company she helped build

by Dorothy Guerrero
Photographs by Claire Schaper

It’s the Thursday before SXSW, and South Congress has that calm-before-the-storm vibe. At June’s All Day, there are not one but two photo shoots happening as customers stroll in for a very late breakfast. The occasional out-of-towner walks past the window with a swinging badge, but the throngs of influencers have yet to descend.

When our server hears us discussing the rise of Bumble, she is moved to interject. “I have to tell you,” she says, “my fiancé and I met on Bumble!” And then things get really real when she whips out her phone to show us the adorable, chubby-cheeked baby on her wallpaper. Her Bumble baby.

“This happens all the time,” Alex Williamson whispers to me with a cheeky smile.

Williamson, who is Bumble’s chief brand officer, has been with the company since its start in 2014. She and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd met as undergrads at SMU. As the dating app with a female-empowerment mission expanded into friendships and professional networking, Williamson’s role has taken her all around the world.

After a bite at June’s All Day, Guerrero and Williamson popped into Feathers, where the two were met with drinks by store manager Brett Williams.

These days, she needs a wardrobe that will work as hard as she does. But a recent freak mold infestation ruined most of her clothing. Luckily she has the clothes on her back, a blue-and-white dress with the sweetest lace detail, red cowboy boots and a Bumble-branded jean jacket that says “Making Moves” across the back. After settling up at June’s, we head around the corner to Feathers Vintage to catch up on her coveted career and get her something to wear for spring.

On the “stuff” of life

I don’t have an attachment to my stuff anymore. I was traveling for weeks, and I had one suitcase of my mom’s clothes with me. [Worth noting: Her mother is Cathy Williamson of @themiddlepageblog, a Dallas-based fashionista with a big following.] I stopped caring which was the best gift that I’d ever received, and I stopped feeling devastated. It doesn’t really matter; it’s all just things.

On the coat that got away

Last time I was at Feathers, there was this orange embroidered shearling coat that I loved. It was very loud and looked like something that you’d wear to a music festival or Burning Man. I didn’t know how I could wear it a lot without being the girl in that coat — but it was amazing. If I ever see the girl who got it around town, I’m gonna be like, “Can I buy that off of you?”

Scenes from Feathers, Williamson’s favorite vintage shop.

On dressing up

It’s so fun to express yourself. I love statement dresses and always gravitate toward a high neck. Clearly, everything that I’ve grabbed in here is highneck. And then I love crazy heels. I wear a lot of prints.

On her work uniform

Other than statement dresses, it’s typically jeans and T-shirts. And “Bumble” T-shirts and “Bumble” sweaters. And then I’ll throw on a blazer. Working in tech is very casual — people aren’t expecting me to be super-dressed-up. Just a bit of extra effort makes you look very polished and put-together.

Williamson, photographed by Kristen Kilpatrick, at the Bumble headquarters.

On the office dress code

What’s unique about our office is that it feels very supportive. I think women dress for other women, but mainly at Bumble they dress for themselves. People come in their sweats and workout clothes — as long as you’re getting the work done, it doesn’t really matter.

On her fashion icons

I think people who usually get it right are Olivia Palermo — she does a great job with her style. Cleo Wade, the author, always looks amazing. And then Amal Clooney is always incredible.

On those red cowboy boots

The boots are Allens. I broke them in dancing at — where was it? — White Horse. And then … Barbarella.

On the perks of having a fashion blogger for a mother

I hardly have time to shop, period. Which is what’s so great about my mom. I’ll say, “Can I borrow this?” And she’s like, “I’m never gonna see it again.” She does patterns, but she does them in a different way. I tend to like grunge and messy hair and no makeup. And my mom is very Dallas.

On her crazy schedule

Today I’ll be in the office, and it’s my first day back in three weeks! I’ve been to London, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Aspen. And Dallas. And now I don’t have anything planned, which is really nice and very rare. But every time I say that, something happens and I’m gone again the next day.

On her style evolution

When the company first started, I spent the first year wearing a crop top that said “Bumble” on it. And I would go into bars to get downloads. I’d walk up to people — I’m not joking — and be like, “I’m so sorry to interrupt …,” and pick one guy out of the table of however many and say, “Did we match on Bumble, because you look really familiar?”

I was a lot more of a risk-taker in the beginning, and I think my style has become more refined. I always want to look appropriate, because I’m representing everybody else on the team. Whatever makes you feel empowered is how you should dress. I want the focus to be on what I’m saying.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


Read More From the Style Issue | April 2019


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