People always ask where my Alex Mattsson hats from every time I wear them out. My first time of seeing Alex Mattsson's creation was actually in the window project by Selfridges. Graduating from Royal College of Art, Alex's first few collections showed me an other form of first impression. I always thought of Gundam in a wearable way when looking at them. His collection starts becoming more and more wearable through the development since FW2012. I am very curious of this change so I ask Alex for a short interview. I am sure you would like to know more about the designer who not only designs my amazing crown hats but also cool menswear.
Why Fashion design? Why London?
I’ve always been interested in clothes so I thought I’d apply to a fashion design course at UCA Rochester and see what its all about. It didn’t take long before I realised I had found my calling.
London is perfect for my aesthetic. I find endless inspiration here. London also has a great support structure for young designers, which is very important. Platforms like Red Bull catwalk studios which I am very privileged to be a part of, are essential to nurturing new talent.
Another convenience of living and working in London is the short flight away from Oslo where I grew up.
Why did you apply for RCA for your MA but not other universities?
For menswear, RCA is the place to be in my opinion. Its one of the only postgraduate courses in the world that focuses solely on menswear with specialized menswear tutors and technicians. I’m a firm believer in learning the rules before you break them and RCA is the best place to learn/break the rules.
How do you usually start your collection? What inspires you most?
I start by researching online for images and video. I then start illustrating on my laptop.
I would say biker culture and Sci-fi influences are always to be expected in my work. The music I listen to while designing can also be very influential to my work.
As an emerging designer, how do you see the fashion industry today?
The fashion industry is extremely fickle and unpredictable. It can be particularly tough for sensitive creatives like designers often are. That’s why support platforms like Red Bull Catwalk studios, Fashion East and New Gen are so important for emerging designers. It gives designers a protective buffer of seasoned industry people that can support and advice you on your journey towards creating a commercially viable brand.
We can see your collections became more wearable through your development. How do you see the relationship between creativity and commerciality as a fashion designer? How do you balance them?
I spent my years in fashion education experimenting with my aesthetic. I really wanted to learn everything I could about my own creative vision. Not necessarily because I intended to go on that way, but to feel more confident in my aesthetic. I think it’s very important for fashion students to push themselves in directions they are not necessarily comfortable with. It’s the only way to discover what you are about as a creative.
When starting my label in 2010 I faced the challenge of making my experimental ideas into wearable and desirable garments. It was a question of distilling my ideas in to garments I would wear myself. It was that simple, although it’s sometimes a struggle to keep it ‘simple’.
I will always have a few showpieces in my collections as representatives of my inspiration in its purest form.
Could you tell us more about the F/W 2013 collection?
AW13 was influenced by latino-californian culture from the 1940’s to the present. In particular a motorcycle club called Mongols which was funded mostly by black and latino bikers. I think I was channelling a 40’s Hispanic motorcycle mechanic.
I know you created an exclusive print for Machine-A for their relaunch. Please tell us a bit about your relationship.
Yeah I designed a range of printed t-shirts exclusively for Machine-A in addition to my SS13 collection. They seem to be going down very well! I feel very privileged to stock in Machine-A a long side some very established brands. Founder Stavros Karelis and buyer Anna Trevelyan are friends of mine so it made perfect sense to make the store something special for the launch.
Lookbook photos from Alex Mattsson
To know more about Alex, please visit his website