Alex Mattsson discusses the politics of fashion. Interview by Carla Seipp

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Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

London may boast a diverse range of young menswear talent, but one leading the pack is Alex Mattsson. Alongside being featured in projects such as Selfridges Bright Young Things and Red Bull Catwalk Studio, his collections have been covered by the likes of i-D, Vice and Dazed Digital.

Inspired by themes ranging from science fiction to black metal music, the Oslo-born designer and RCA graduate continually evolves the use of material, cut and print in his designs whilst still maintaining his trademark of standout and attitude-filled menswear. Mattsson sat down after the showing of his collection Chuco 2.0 to explain his design process, the allure of London youth culture and plans of building an empire.

 

Your A/W 13 collection is influenced by Latino migration to California and biker clubs. Do you think it is important for fashion to have political undertones?

Fashion to me is about dreaming and pretending, not conveying political messages.
I see my chosen influences simply as a way to inspire myself.

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During the design process, what comes first in your mind: the silhouette, prints, colour, or something else?

The attitude and research of the collection-to-be is constantly distilling in my mind. Once I sit down to design, I have a couple of garments in mind that represent the collection. The rest of the collection seems to spawn from these initial illustrations. Silhouette and cut are normally the first things I establish.

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What about London as a city do you find inspiring?

London has everything you could ever want! Except nice weather. The youth culture here is so vibrant and fun. The fashion scene is experimental, fresh and inspiring. London also has the infrastructure to nurture young talent with platforms such as Fashion East, NewGen and Red Bull Catwalk Studios. That is important.

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You noted that music plays a major part in your work. Which artists are you listening to at the moment?

The moods that music creates really influence my work. It can paint images of shapes, colours and textures in mind that I translate into my designs. Hip-hop and reggae/dub are my main interests at the moment. My iTunes playlist includes 'Snoop Lion's' new reggae stuff, Brooke Candy, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP and of course Zebra Katz.
Having the opportunity to work with Red Bull Catwalk Studio is a huge privilege as it focuses on the relationship between fashion and music and supports young talent in both art forms.

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Who would you love to see in your designs?

I love seeing anybody wearing my stuff! It's a great feeling. If I had to choose someone famous, it would be Snoop Dogg.


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 What side projects have you been working on lately?

 I recently created an exclusive T-shirt range for Machine-A's store launch on Brewer Street in Soho. 

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What is the biggest challenge of working in this industry?

Apart from the standard challenges every young designer faces, I find the politics of the fashion industry quite exhausting. I try to distance myself from it and continue to do what I love.


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How would you hope to see your label develop in the future?

I would obviously love to see my label grow and prosper, as well as branch out in to womenswear and open my own stores. I want to build an empire and live the dream basically! 

http://www.alexmattsson.com

 

Later,

Carla