10 things you need to know about matthew dolan
He graduated from Parsons’ prestigious MFA in Fashion Design and Society last September, and just a few months later dressed Rihanna for i-D’s The Music Issue.
Whether she's hanging out at the beach in a frayed Marques'Almeida coat and a snapback, wearing an oversized jacket picked out by Kanye West, or sitting pretty on the cover of i-D in a Céline jumpsuit, everyone knows Bad Gal Riri loves denim ("It's classic. It's iconic. Just like the fucking Beatles!"). So no surprise then, that when she got her hands on a denim jacket by Parsons graduate Matthew Dolan, she didn't want to let it go. He's the Massachusetts native who grew up in Sydney, lives in New York and is the latest, greatest designer of the blue stuff to pop up on our radar. Here's 10 things you need to know about our newest denim deity…
1. Guess which dame sparked his interest in fashion?
"My mum is a big sewer and so that was always something that I was always surrounded by growing up. I remember being so impressed seeing the V&A Vivienne Westwood retrospective exhibition when I was in high school; the way it was curated, how it showed her influences from art and history, this clash of tradition and unconformity. I would say that was something that really sparked my interest in fashion."
2. This is what his graduate collection was all about:
"I have always been really interested in the history and evolution of American style, its ideals of democratisation and ease of consumption. I wanted to focus on the fundamental elements of the American wardrobe, "classic" pieces, exploring these genderless ideas of comfort and familiarity. I experimented a lot with developing textiles that looked at this idea of materiality, of wear cycles, that were derived directly from these wardrobe pieces. I did a lot of research into the history of weaving in America, from rag rugs in colonial New England and the traditions of Southwest textiles, especially the practices of the Navajo who traded for discarded Army uniforms and unravelled them to create rugs. Mirroring this practice I took apart existing jeans and T-shirts from thrift stores or that I bought in bulk from K-Mart and rewove them on handmade looms, taking something that is super mundane and reinterpreting it with traditional craft."
3. He chose denim because Dolly Parton and Aaliyah look equally as hot in it.
"Denim is such an iconic material, it is something that everyone is so familiar with and I think that this sense of familiarity gives you so many things to play with as a designer. Throughout history it has been synonymous with both work and leisure, with uniformity and mass consumption, but also rebellion and counter culture. I really like this duality, this idea that on one hand it was the uniform of cowboys and on the other of hip hop music. Equal parts Dolly Parton and Aaliyah."
4. He'd got some sound advice for fashion students…
"Headphones, a lot of coffee and dollar slice pizza. Listen to your teachers and trust your instincts."
5. His favourite Rihanna song is the same as ours…
"My iPhone only has enough space for a few albums and so the whole time I was in the studio I was listening to her music on repeat, I definitely drove my classmates crazy! If I had to choose one song though it would be Diamonds, it's such a good ballad, very uplifting."
6. As is his favourite denim designer…
"Calvin Klein for the campaign imagery. It is so epic - there is no one else who can sell a pair of jeans like that."
7. If he got his childhood wish he'd be a zoologist.
"I was really obsessed with animals and wanted to work in a zoo. I had a set of animal encyclopaedias that I read over and over and over."
8. If he could invite anyone - past or present - over for dinner, it would be…
"Picasso; how prolific he was in his practice is really inspiring, the fact that he was able to switch so effortlessly between styles and medium. He changed how people saw art and the world and interacted and collaborated with so many legendary figures. He also took selfies before Kim Kardashian."
9. He really wants to know:
"How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?"
10. In 10 years time he will be…
"Still sewing until 4 in the morning."
Photography Paolo Roversi
Fashion Director Alastair McKimm