Dear Shaded Viewers,
Westminster University had an exhibition in Paris a few years ago that is where I met Matthew Cunnington. he had been a student of Zowie Broach, half of the design duo behind the brand Boudicca. Two of Zowie’s students showed the strongest installations, they were Matthew Cunnington and Carri Mundane. Also on view was an amazing tailor from Saville Row with an exhibition that scanned the decades.
Last Spring Matthew participated in the International Festival for Fashion and Photography and walked away with the grand jury prize. His designs speak volumes but Matthew is a man of very few words.
DP: I know that you are passionate about designing? How did it start for you?
MC: The first recall l have about deciding to devote myself to Fashion Design was when I asked for information about fashion design at a careers evening in school when I was 14 and seeing Fashion illustrations by Artists such as Julie Veerhoeven.
And for John, he has always enjoyed the gift of being able to choose everyday what to wear, combined with being able to express creativeness to make other people enjoy what they wear.
DP: Who has had the biggest influence on your life so far?
MC & JS: We like to think that they know who they are with out having to be mentioned.
DP: How do you feel about the color black?
MC: For my previous collection (Hail Mary) I decided to capture the whole collection entirely in black as I felt the colour helped to portray the emotions and essence of depth from my inspiration. There is no other colour that would have had the same impact for me.
Silhouettes can be excentuated and defined with the use of black.
DP: Why do you want to start a business with John and not go it alone?
Do you share a similar aesthetic?
MC: Yes we do share the same aesthetics. We have a simular creative style and technique of designing upon the stand. We design for the same customer in mind and try to capture thought provoking garments with attention to detail. Two people with similar ideas and dreams and striving to work at what they love to do.
DP: What did Hyeres contest mean to you?
What did it bring to you and do you still have the potted palm?
MC: Hyeres was an amazing experience. It was every thing I had hoped for and more. It was a great oppurtunity to work with very talented people, make amazing friends and finally see my collection brought to life upon the runway. We experienced a feeling of contentment and felt privaledge to have been selected to participate in the Festival. With the potted palm I decieded to leave it in Hyeres in the Sunshine. I hope to plant it on my return. Although I would have liked to have planted it at home in the UK I felt that the warmer climate would be more suitable.
DP: WHat do you like to do when you are not working?
MC: I love to Garden the I love the fact that plants have there own way of producing shape and form without the intervention of a human.
The way certain plants are very architectural is always a joy to see. I love the way each year they find a way to rejuvenate or to grow stronger. Johns favourite hobby is talking to friends in cafes – with coffee and cake.
DP: If you had to choose three objects that are precious to you, what
would they be?
MC: I think the three most precious objects to me are my Mannequin, my sewing machine and my nans cabinet, I would be lost without them
DP: I know this is rather broad, but what does fashion mean to you and
what do you bring to it?
MC: To both John and I Fashion is a mode of expressing individuality and personality. we like to think that our designs are creative, thought provoking and capture emotion. Both John and I want our customer to fall in love with the individuality of the garments because of what they portray to themselves. Because they like the way it is worn, the details and the cut. Not just because it is fasionable of the time.
Fashion is a way for us to feel free.
DP: Who is the person that you hold in the highest respect?
MC: There are many people that we respect and admire, different reasons for different people
DP: When things get very difficult, is there someone that helps you find
MC: I would not say some-one in particular (apart from each other) but more so a place. To be in the Garden or the open space of nature.
Matthew Cunnington received the Jury Prize at this year’s festival d’Hyeres.