Designer Buzz: Matthew Britten

1/11/2011


I'm excited to see local designers like Matthew Britten because he has something so different to offer South African fashion. I find his pieces to be ornate, bold, edgy and sexy. He was recently featured on Between 10 and 5 for his graduate collection and I think 2011 is the beginning of a beautiful design career. Matthew was kind enough to give me an interview and talk about his inspiration and future endeavours. 

Describe your design aesthetic
My design aesthetic is varied but when designing women’s wear I always want to pay homage to the female form. With my men’s wear I tend to lean towards a tighter more tailored aesthetic. My design philosophy is to always create bold designs for strong individuals.

Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in the world around me, in military uniforms, in fetish clothing but my greatest source of inspiration is History and society.  

Why do you love the fashion industry?
I am in love with the idea that a simple piece of clothing when arranged in an outfit can portray your individuality and mood. I also love the fact that fashion is a constant in everyone’s lives but it undergoes constant change every season.

What’s on your IPod at the moment?
To be honest I don’t own an IPod but right now I’ve been listing to Mark Ronson’s latest album, Klaxons, always some Gaga, Florence and the machine, Yacht, Bon Ivor, Mumford and sons, Patrick wolf, The Black Keys and The xx lately.

Favourite quotes?
“The more obsessed you are with sex, the more sentimental you are. We need to be wary of people who don’t like sex, there’s something unnerving about them.” Michel Houellebecq

“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally.” Oscar Wilde

“Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much.” Oscar Wilde

What trends do you favour for summer?
Lace dresses, jumpsuits, wide leg trousers, shirt dresses and floral maxis.

What fashion item should be banned?

So many to name, but my top 5 are: Crocs, Monogrammed anything, platform flip-flops, Guess anything and white loafers.

Who would be your dream client?
Daphne Guinness, she is an extraordinary woman. Her eccentric sense of style and patronage to Haute Couture has made her one of my favourite fashion icons, oh and the fact that she lives in really high heels. Her interest in armour-like fashion makes me think of her as a modern day warrior women (a style I’m obsessed with). I love that she personifies the McQueen woman and that she is wilful enough to make things she cannot find.

Who are the designers that you admire and why?
Alexander McQueen, and not because he’s dead, I find his career extremely inspiring. I admire the innovative spirit he brought to every show and the theatricality of his shows. He was immensely talented and I regard him as the single greatest loss to fashion of our time.

Charles Frederick Worth, purely for the fact that he is considered the father of Haute Couture and that he was the ‘it’ designer of the Victorian period.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I hope to be some what of a presence in the South African fashion industry with my own ready-to-wear and high fashion labels and running my own design studio.

What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Lee Alexander McQueen once said “Have a complete understanding that you're good at it before trying. Otherwise, don't bother because it's not worth the pain. I wouldn't try to be an actor.”


Matthew is designing me a dress for the J&B Met, I can't wait to wear one of his pieces! You can contact Matthew at brittenmm@gmail.com .

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