“Hey boo! Come look at this! I’ve been Googling myself all day, it’s hilarious.” Matthew Arthur, fashion designer, is nothing if not adorably charming. The day we met up, the cast of Lifetime’s “Project Runway: Teams” was announced, and he was in it. In typical Mat fashion, he joked about the situation, making light of commentary already garnered by the public. It’s his ability to be humble about his work that makes people (like me) love him, and his talent that has gotten him noticed.
Photography by Aaron Henderson
Like many who have moved up the “Project Runway” ranks, Mat is a self-taught designer. As an experienced artist, fashion design was not a far stretch. He began by making minimal things like bags, and taught himself about design by taking things apart and putting them back together. “I made myself a vest for work, and a coworker asked me to do a menswear collection for a charity fashion show. I got a crazy response, and it really gave me the first idea that I could actually do it.” Since then, everything in his design career has grown in a very organic, community-driven fashion.
With eyes glued to the outdoor screen, surrounded by the increasingly present fashion community of New Orleans at his premiere-watching event, Mat bashfully admitted, “I’m so glad y’all are here…I’m so nervous about all this!” But after just a few episodes, and with a veritable push for the modernization of the kilt, Mat was easily a crowd favorite from the start, making a lasting impression among viewers all over, just as he has done within a small but potent group of creatives in his home city. Playfully combining skill with point of view, Matthew Arthur consistently displays who he is as a designer, on the silver screen or at a local runway show.
Mat is one of the original designers who showed with New Orleans Fashion Week, which wrapped its fifth season on the helm of his “Project Runway” debut. The city of New Orleans has had the pleasure of watching the budding designer’s evolution. With each collection, Mat, a socially cognizant and expressive designer, makes his intention clear, whatever that intention may be.
In anything you do, intention is the number-one thing. As long as your intention is pure and good, and you truly want to acknowledge and work through an issue or idea, it will come across as being pure. I leave my work open to interpretation, but if you don’t leave my show with a smile or in tears, you weren’t present.
Primarily a street and daywear designer, Mat enjoys the presentation just as much as the clothing itself. “The art moment comes with the presentation. I love the actual styling and seeing what I can put together that doesn’t really make sense, but by putting it together, it does.” Taking a dark and challenging issue, like addiction, and creating something relevant and beautiful out of it, inspires the designer. “I like dealing with a heavy issue, and making it light and airy, beautiful and not so dark.” His most recent collection, Fall/Winter 2013, is focused on time and the way we as humans handle it. “We’re always pushing for the future, we forget to remember the past. Is time linear or circular?” he wonders. The collection honors the way we catalog time, inspired from hieroglyphics to typewriter parts down to the way trees develop rings. “I want my audience to become the future, manipulating the collection by how they view it.”
Fresh from filming the ongoing season of “Project Runway: Teams,” Mat was joined in March at New Orleans Fashion Week by “Project Runway: All Stars” winner, Anthony Ryan Auld, also from Louisiana, and an ever-increasing group of designers from Louisiana to Texas to South Carolina to New York. “There is an amazing pool of talent in New Orleans,” he says. “And there’s quite a huge variety of work to pull from. There’s casual daywear to avant garde to couture streetwear. There’s a lot of polished talent here that should be seen on a huge scale.” The biannual event, produced by the NOLA Fashion Council, has reached more than 80 million press impressions spanning 3 continents, and reached over 1.4 million users through social media in its 2.5-year history.
As Mat wrapped his last season of “Project Runway” and NOLA Fashion Week 2013, he geared up for the launch of his online collection, Mattingsworth, and the continual growth of his name and brand. As for Amelie G, we’ll be watching from the ground floor with nothing but pride and admiration.
The history of the necktie is as rich and colorful as the patterns that adorn them. Designers, actors and royalty in the 1920s and 1930s left a distinctive stamp on the tie that gives the modern man the opportunity