Back Issue__ Matt George

July 09, 2009 | By
Self-portrait.

Don’t let those baby blues fool you. Matt George is serious about his business. Having conquered the great north (he’s opened up his Goodfoot stores in all major Canadian cities), Matt is now picking up property across the American Monopoly board—spending half of his time in sunny L.A. and recently teaming up with one of the biggest names in music and fashion right now. ‘I love to be challenged,’ George says. ‘Working with brands like Stussy, adidas, or someone I consider one of the hardest working people I know’ (read: Kanye). Keeping himself busy, Matt has his hand in a bunch of different pots. He owns United Front, which is the parent company to several brands, some of the more visible ones being Goodfoot, Ransom, Nomad and Nvsble Tailors. Despite all the knowledge he’s acquired through his vast experience, Matt is always trying to learn new things. ‘The minute you stop learning, sleeping 8 hours a night and sweating everyday, you become the norm. I’m not interested in being a part of that movement.’

And even though all of these conquests might give Matt reason to be full of himself, he’s continually challenging his own accomplishments. When we ask him why he hasn’t really ventured into the women’s side of the industry, he says, ‘I would love to! But I haven’t quite mastered the men’s side just yet.’ But ladies, he is looking—for a potential new business partner. That is, if the right situation arose. ‘I think there is a lot of room for this, but I haven’t met the right person to work with.’ However, he does have a couple of smaller projects in the works for women, including the Ransom footwear line with adidas, which he divulges will have styles for women in the spring of 2010 (we’re looking forward to them now).

Between London, LA, flights, time changes, meetings, emails and calls we finally caught up with Matt. We talked to him about his opinions on the women’s fashion industry, how easy it can be to be successful, Kanye’s new line Pastelle—which he lets us know will have a women’s division—designing a car people actually want and reading about Chairman Mao.

With a fashion sense that people want to emulate, we asked Matt if style is something you have to be born with or something you can acquire. According to Matt, ‘Everyone has a style, some more aesthetically pleasing than others.’ We’re hoping a little more of these aesthetically pleasing looks are available for us ladies sooner than later.

Where do you see women’s wear going in the next five years?

Women’s wear is going in the direction of simplicity—effortless chic. Think Alexander Wang, Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, Balmain, Ann Demeulemeester. These fashion houses are all designing pieces that are easy to wear and trans-seasonal, each piece becoming a staple for everyday.

What women’s brands do you think are killing it right now?

This season, Givenchy, Balmain, Gareth Pugh, and Haider Ackermann.

What sort of designs or things would you like to see for the women’s industry? What do you think the women’s industry is missing?

I’m always more drawn to clothing that screams sex and strength. With men, why are the real timeless style icons like James Dean or Steve McQueen always top of the list? They all sell sex and strength. Women want to fuck these men; men want to be them. I think the same is true on the women’s side. When women are comfortable in their own skin, it is the sexiest trait. Women’s wear these days seems to be lacking this sex appeal. The homely look is for home. The boyfriend pants, shirts, bags is because you don’t have clean, warm, comfortable clothes at your or your man’s house.

There are some great women’s streetwear brands, but there aren’t really any brands that parallel the look or feel of a brand like Supreme or even Ransom. Why do you think this is?

I’m not sold on that women should wear or look towards the brands you mentioned as a go-to in their closet. I wouldn’t want to see any woman wearing clothing made by Supreme or Ransom.

Who are some individuals in the industry you think kill it for the ladies?

Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt and Kate Lanphear are amazing editors of French Vogue and Elle Magazine. Their personal styles are effortless. On the web, I look at a number of things. Simple basic easy and on top of trends is http://neroandnoir.blogspot.com/

Why haven’t you really ventured into the women’s side of things yet?

I would love to! I haven’t quite mastered the men’s side just yet. I would also need a partner who has the vision and drive to make women’s project work. I think there is a lot of room for this but I haven’t met the right person to work with this on.

Any plans in designing women’s stuff for any of your lines?

Couple on the go. Nvsble Tailors is unisex and the Ransom footwear collection, which is produced by adidas, should have women’s side of the business before Fall 2010. I’d like to introduce some styles to friends and family first, to see what the reaction is going to be.

What are your favorite female brands?

Rick Owens, Josh Goot, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga T's…

What do you think makes a brand successful these days?

A clear vision and direction. If you work hard on a plan and stick to it, it’s tough to go wrong. You also have to work harder and smarter than everyone around you. If you can complete one item off your list from the day before and have one win a day, you are miles away from the pack. No one will be able to keep up. You would be surprised how many of your peers can’t do this.

What are some of the more important lessons you’ve learned through all your experience in the streetwear industry?

To be honest, I learn from the people around me. If I were a car sales man I would learn from the people around me. The particular industry I’m around hasn’t taught me anything. It’s the people I associate with. My team, my friends, ex-friends, ex-employees, family, etc.

What is your role working with Kanye? How did this particular opportunity come about?

I am currently setting up, staffing and managing design offices in LA and NYC for all things KW. I was introduced and brought on through my close friend Willo, who I have worked on many great projects with and who has being working with Kanye for years.

Will there be aspects of Kanye’s line for women?

I have a feeling the women’s collection will be as strong as, if not stronger than, the men’s.

When will it drop?

KW is going to perfect the pieces he is designing. It’s a constant process. When he is comfortable, he will pull the trigger and it will take the fashion world by storm.

A lot of projects you work on, you’ve spearheaded, allowing yourself in a sense to be your own boss. How has it been adjusting to working with someone else and someone as professionally demanding and particular as Kanye?

I adapt easy. Ha.

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