Interview: Photographer Alexi Lubomirski at the Movado Group Davos Summit

The founder of Creatives4Change is now helping to design watches for social good

Earlier this year, the Movado Group announced that they’d tapped fashion photographer Alexi Lubomirski to create a vegan watch strap (available in the fall), as part of its latest entry in their iconic Artist Series. To introduce Lubomirski as a fashion photographer reduces a diverse, multi-decade career to one title. It ignores the fact that the staunch vegan and avid supporter of meditation took the official portraits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day, and that he’s authored numerous books (including a new children’s book, Thank You For My Dreams, on gratitude), founded a fur-free initiative in the fashion industry and established a thoughtful social media presence. At the same time, he’s led a global life while building a family in NYC.

The manifesto for Creatives 4 Change reveals much about Lubomirski’s character. As he explains, six years ago he “was having a conversation with my wife, who is a huge environmental advocate. We were talking about the industry. I said, ‘How can we work in this industry if our beliefs are this?’ My wife, who is much more intelligent than I, said ‘You are good at what you do. Don’t jump off the boat because you don’t like where it is going. Stay on the boat and use any influence you have to tap the nose of it—change its direction.'” With that, Lubomirski began to align his beliefs on animal welfare with his photographic work.

Every creative choice we put out there has massive ripple effects, every creative decision we make has immense power

Creatives 4 Change is a pledge that he undertook—and recruits others to also—wherein all shoots are fur-, feather- and exotic skin-free. “I realized that in my jobs, I was allowed to control this aspect of the shoot,” her says. “I am a creative. I knew then that all of the other creatives have had power, too. Every creative choice we put out there has massive ripple effects. Every creative decision we make has immense power. You have a choice—and what comes with that is a massive responsibility. You do have power to say no sometimes,” he adds. Beyond the pledge, he wants designers, photographers and editors to vocalize their refusal of animal materials.

With his multi-hyphenate artistry, it’s hard to imagine how Lubomirski maintains social media—an area he excels at. It’s just become part of his routine, though—and a necessary one. “It’s another feather in what we have to do nowadays,” he says. “In the old days you could be a photographer and do an editorial and you’d get campaigns off of it. Or do a campaign and get editorials off of it. You cannot just do that now. You have to have social media and a YouTube channel and you have to be on lots of different things and do side projects. I love it because I am a project person. I always have to be doing stuff.”

This also motivated his shift from campaign photographer to collaborator with Movado. First, of course, he acknowledges that watches are “one of the best and most classic ways for men to accessorize. It’s a real statement. It speaks everything about you.” As for how the transition occurred, he notes, “They were interested in doing a vegan watch and maybe because of my public stance on veganism, they felt there was synergy there.” He sensed that their interest in doing this line correctly was just as strong as his own.

Through all of Lubomirski’s commitments, one finds a definitive style that’s more of a feeling than a visual indicator. As he says of his photography, “I love women—men as well, but I mostly photograph women—to look like they are happy and living beautifully. It doesn’t matter what environment they are in, I will never portray them with pain or angst. It’s because of the women in my own life.” This translates to his vibe on set, but ultimately he has one mission: “I like people to enjoy looking at the picture of themselves afterward. I am not a tortured artist. It’s more about collaboration and allowing the subjects to feel like they are being seen.” And with Creatives 4 Change and the vegan Movado watches, he’s granting visibility to a worthy cause.

Images courtesy of Movado