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ALYX Spring Summer 2017

Dynamic Individualism

 

Having spent a decade working across the music, art and fashion landscapes, Chicago-born creative director Matthew M. Williams founded his own womenswear brand, ALYX, in 2015 which he now runs from Italy. His various projects within print and digital disciplines combined with his extensive exploration of garment construction have led him to create his own directional and unique philosophy. Informed by his Californian youth and urban subcultures, his collections centre on distinct individualism and refined forms, “I am inspired by the energy of New York city, as well as memories from my childhood in California,” said Williams. Every collection is profoundly personal – each piece and idea has some personal attachment to it. Focusing on sporty and streamlined silhouettes, technical fabrications and striking volumes, collections are experimental, youthful and iconic. The label celebrates dynamism with perverse details and an inimitable aesthetic.

New York City – where the brand maintains its roots having been originally based there – was the inspiration for ALYX’s SS17 collection; a tribute to the city’s disorder, eclecticism and hard-edged romance, “LOVE CHAOS references the state we are in right now. The internal struggle of loving New York City and America our home, but also recognizing the chaos and turmoil that surrounds us,” states Williams. Key to every ALYX collection is their offering of utilitarian accessories and stand-out footwear and this season was no different with heeled Mary Jane pumps, seatbelt buckled belts and low-top hiking boots. The brand’s modern take on femininity sees deconstructed leather and technical rain jackets - made in collaboration with Italian moto brand Spidi – paired with lightweight plissé tops, graphic hoodies and ball chain-trimmed denims.’

We spoke to Matthew Williams ahead of the anticipated ALYX collection launch at LN-CC this season;

 
 

LN-CC: HOW DID YOU FIRST INTERACT WITH FASHION, HOW WERE YOU INSPIRED BY SKATE CULTURE GROWING UP IN CALIFORNIA?

 
 

Matthew Williams: My first interaction with Fashion was probably when I was 8 or 9 years old and traveling to San Francisco with my family in the summer while shopping a bit for school clothes for the upcoming year and seeing how people dressed there. I grew up in Pismo Beach and lived in Venice Beach for many years, so I have been surrounded by skate culture my whole life. Skating was a big part of my childhood, so the inspiration comes naturally to me. It’s a style that is rooted in my past andis always present in my work.

 
 

HOW HAS YOUR BACKGROUND POURED IN TO YOUR NEW BRAND ALYX, FROM PATTERN CUTTING TO DESIGN, MUSIC AND CREATIVE DIRECTION?

 
 

My background and past experience has provided me with an amazing set of tools to use in designing and developing ALYX. I didn’t go to design school, but instead used these experiences to train myself. Working in the music industry taught me how to bring other elements of creativity into the collections.

 
 

NOW WITH FULL CREATIVE CONTROL OVER YOUR COLLECTION, HOW WAS THE TRANSITION?

 
 

This is the first time that I am working on a project that is entirely my own, which has been my lifelong dream. The biggest challenge in transitioning was building a really solid team to support the brand. Finding the right people who understand your aesthetic, agree with your overall vision and are pleasant to have around is hard to find; however, I have been lucky thus far in finding a team who can support my project and feel like family.

 
 

HOW DID YOU APPROACH ‘ALYX’, HOW HAS THE RESULT COMPARED TO WHAT YOU IMAGINED?

 
 

I am putting everything into ALYX. The project is really personal to me and I want every piece to be the best it can be. That is what I strive for every day. Each season gets better; we are continuously growing and building our team, learning more about the industry, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.


 
 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN REFERENCES FOR YOUR WORK, AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC?

 
 

I am inspired by the energy and culture of New York City, as well as memories from my childhood in California. I am always discovering new inspirations that affect each season and collection. Using found objects and reassigning their functions and meaning is a continual challenge and inspiration for me. I would describe ALYX as aggressive elegance.

 
 

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DESIGN PROCESS, HOW DO YOU LIKE TO WORK THROUGH YOUR COLLECTIONS?

 
 

Mostly I am just constantly developing and refining the same ideas… they get brought into the collections when they are ready and then applied to the theme or feeling of that moment in the season. We start maybe 5 months before the collections are shown to the world.

 
 

WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU FIND YOURSELF WORKING WITH MOST, HOW DO YOU RESEARCH AND SOURCE WHAT YOU WORK WITH?

 
 

Fabric development is extremely important to me. We drive around Italy and meet with suppliers to build relationships to get them to make special items for us. Its a slow process but makes a huge difference. I generally love Leather, Poplin, Nylon, Silk and Denim most.

 
 

CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOUR SS17 COLLECTION, HOW DOES ‘LOVE CHAOS’ TRANSLATE?

 
 

Often times, the collection names reflect word combinations that I like both sonically and visually. I want everyone to make their own interpretation of the collection names without giving too much of my own personal take on it. For me, LOVE CHAOS references the state we are in right now. The internal struggle of loving New York City and America our home, but also recognizing the chaos and turmoil that surrounds us.

 
 

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND STYLE AND MAINSTREAM LUXURY FUSION?

 
 

We are in a time where the two appear to be merging and the line between them is blurring. I don’t have a strong opinion on the topic. I want to make clothing of the highest quality while maintaining a good level of sustainability and awareness. That is what I try to stay focused on.

 
 
 

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES WORKING WITHOUT A RUNWAY SHOW OR PRESENTATION?

 
 

For the time being, ALYX is doing neither a show nor a presentation. In lieu of a presentation, we create a seasonal print catalogue with Nick Knight. The catalogue serves as a physical keepsake that makes a tangible imprint in time. We live in a world that is becoming less and less concrete. Physical objects still hold a lot of importance for me and the Nick Knight catalogues continue to be one of my favorite projects. We will eventually do a runway show but I don’t want to rush into it until I am fully ready.

 
 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT FOR ALYX?

 
 

We are launching our first men’s collection for FW’17. I am really proud and excited to present this collection to the world.