How and why did you start designing?
I am Belgian, where the retail and craft industry has a long tradition. As a kid I used to play with small pieces of fabric to create clothing on a wooden doll. I always have been very creative, and I was always working with my hands. At a later stage in life, I decided to become a graphic designer. I improved my skills in this domain for about 15 years working between Brussels and Paris. Having an artistic job reassured my parents!
All in all, a touch for fashion was still secretly hidden somewhere in the back of my mind. Then, a couple of years ago, a personal big change in my life brought me the opportunity to study again! I thought, “this is the chance of your life, go for fashion now!” and I switched from 2D design to 3D design. Flat, graphic design had well paved my way to dive into the creation of architecture inspired fashion.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Matthieu M is a high-end brand comprised of candid, reaffirmed lines and very subtle colors. Women are to be praised and I put the woman in the center of the design through clean and clearly marked visual language making them feel fabulous any time of the day or year. Ethics matter. This is why every single piece in my collection is made sustainably in New York City in very limited edition. I personally supervise every step of the process to make sure we reach the highest standards of quality and help to create and preserve jobs in the Garment District.
How has your design changed over time?
Matthieu M is a fresh brand. I am sure it will evolve in the forthcoming seasons though with preserved style. My intention for this collection is to unify inspiration and time and let fabrics, colors and details explore new possibilities. Fashion is a social screen, not a fixed picture!
What inspired your latest collection?
Architectural shapes define my inspiration. Asymmetry is key in my brand. It makes the garment more detailed, as if it was a sculpture, worn by a body. When I design my collection, I start to work in a “collage” of urban life. I create moodboards of different images from different sources, which do not necessarily have to do with fashion! To some extent, it’s like creating a visual origami. After a long process of observation, I start drawing sketches, mixing them up while defining the main lines of the collection.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
Today people rush. Still, I firmly believe that today’s women are determined to devote time to themselves and that they appreciate both quality and authenticity. That’s why I bet on Slow Fashion. Let’s go together back to Paris in the 1950’s. Everything in my line is elegant and delicate like it was in the fifties even my presentations. I organize personalized fashion shows in private homes!
What do you think about fashion today?
Fashion is an art! It’s my main form of expression. What we create is a reflection of who we are and what we think. On the flip side, for the woman who wears fashion, it is a way to reflect her personality and values. Fashion is always matched to a concept, a dream, an emotion, a very personal story.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
Brussels, Tokyo, Paris and Madrid have been my hometowns in different periods of my life. There is a little bit of every culture in my work. The result is an eclectic urban collection. New York is also very present in my work since I am now a, “European New Yorker”. Maybe that’s why this collection is full of soft, slow colors! Since NY sprints, I felt the need to tame it and to let myself find my own pace.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Keep it simple and easy! This is the only secret of elegance. I tried to make this collection easy to mix with any basics. Add a piece of Matthieu M to a pair of jeans, an oversized shirt, or a turtle neck jersey, and you have a new look! Style means easy care, easy travel!