Consultant. Cat Guy. Garden Guru. We escape the city at Alex Hawgood’s garden apartment.
“I wake up with the sun, always.”
“My bed is directly under a skylight,” Alex Hawgood says. He is leading us through his West Village studio – a cottage-like, converted carriage house. “It’s beautiful. But means I wake up with the sun, always.” We stare up at the high, vaulted ceilings. He seems to catch us gawking. “Like even if I’m hungover, or have the flu.”
Hawgood, 30, grew up in San Francisco, but came to New York at 18 to attend NYU. After graduation, he began traveling a sort-of style and culture circuit for The New York Times and its fashion affiliate, T Magazine. He still writes about music, clothes and other topics regularly, but his daily efforts go towards “lending his opinion” (as he put it) to Trademark; a men’s and women’s sportswear collection from Chris Burch’s daughters, Pookie and Louisa Burch. Trademark launched earlier this year.
From the moment we arrive, it’s wildly apparent that Alex’s morning centers around two things: his garden – a sizeable expanse of well-manicured plants (“it’s larger than my apartment”) surrounding a stone pathway – and Monkey, a homeless cat he found wandering in outer Brooklyn several weeks ago (“I was out in Canarsie looking at plant nurseries – they’re much better out there,” he says. “And this cat wouldn’t leave my side.”)
Alex starts the day with an espresso (“that’s my base coffee – to get me oriented”) and then walks out into the garden with Monkey. “So many of my friends are going insane and want to move to LA,” Hawgood says. “But because I get to go outside every morning, see birds, get soil under my fingers… I get to interact with nature all the time. It really calms me down.”
Because Monkey needs as much attention as the garden, Alex juggles tasks deftly. ”I’ll try to maximize time,” he says. “I’ll be standing in out back with one hand petting the cat and one hand on my electric razor… God knows what my neighbors think, I think they’ve given up on me.” After checking PH levels in the soil, Alex is often ready for work of a more cranial variety, so he showers, dresses, and sits down for an hour or two of writing or editing on his laptop.
“Gardening is really tricky. I’m sure a lot of grandmothers out there can relate to my morning.”
Instead of cooking breakfast at home (“I want to be that guy flipping bacon from the farmer’s market, but no…”) Alex opts to pick up a snack (“an iced coffee and chia seed muffin”) on his way to Trademark HQ, which is located in Chelsea. Since we’ve seen his own impressive greenery, we’re not surprised to hear he often walks along the Highline, inspecting the variety of exotic species of plants. “I’m really impressed with how healthy all the plants are,” he says. “Gardening is really tricky.” He grins. “I’m sure a lot of grandmothers out there can relate to my morning.” We laugh. He adds: “The garden… and the cat… I’m a cat guy now. What do I do with this identity?”