With an already impressive résumé as cofounder of the art collective Been Trill and art director for Kanye West’s DONDA, outfitting the likes of Rihanna, Gaga and West – Matthew Williams is no stranger to articulating the next now to the haut monde. Enter Alyx: Williams’ solo brand named after his daughter, “I wanted to begin something that could be a project for the rest of my life…in naming after her, the name shows a personal commitment and a dedication to its longevity.” Alyx is a take on what Williams knows best, that is paparazzi-ready streetwear reinvented for luxury. “There’s always elements of youth-inspired product within the brand. There are pieces in each collection like the belts, accessories, collaborations, etc. that young people can afford to buy and therefore become a part of the brand,” says the designer. Matthew is a L.A. transfer and his cult-worthy label operates out of New York City. It’s no wonder then, that within Alyx’s collections is plenty of West meets East coast.
With nearly a decades worth of experience behind him Williams notes, “It’s rewarding to do a project that is fully reflective of who I am,” furthering, “The whole process took over a year to get everything together.” The sophomore collection, SS16 is the upshot of that personalized experience and understanding, full of nods to his red carpet clientele and skate culture influences, “Each collection tells a story through imagery. It’s how the pieces live on in your wardrobe–each piece is looked at individually and created to the best it can possibly be, while also fitting into the collection and brand story.” Ongoing collaborations with friend Nick Knight show the extent of Williams impressive roster of collaborators. Knight photographed the FW15 catalogue, “Because of our personal friendship we spend a lot of time focusing on making the work good, not letting ourselves be defined by budgets, time and deadlines… The collaboration comes from a very honest place,” says Williams.
Maybe it’s his time invested in collectives to realize identities beyond the individual, but those industry interactions seem particularly important to Williams and what he wants Alyx to become, “The fashion community is larger than ever, but because of the connectivity, it is also smaller and more finite. Everyone is aware of everything going on at the same time. Store, editors and brands are all working together to define success in our industry.” Right now, he sees his brands size as an advantage as that definition is yet to be clear, “We are a new brand so we don’t have our structure built yet, therefore we can adapt to the changing system now and hopefully land in a good place in the next few years where we can grow and see where the system ends up.” Reasonably, if Williams wins the Young Designer prize, he plans first on, “Paying back the loan from a bank that I took out to start the brand.”
Presenting Models.com’s exclusive spotlight on each of the 8 finalists of the LVMH 2016 Young Fashion Designer Prize in anticipation of their final presentation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.
On June 16th, LVMH will announce the winner of their 2016 Young Fashion Designer Prize from a pool of 8 finalists – Aalto, Alyx, Brandon Maxwell, Facetasm, Koché, Vejas, Wales Bonner, and Y/Project. Started in November 2013, the prize was launched to champion standout talent and foster their labels. Winning means getting a seal of approval from a jury of fashion’s foremost designers and industry professionals like Nicolas Ghesquiere, Marc Jacobs, Riccardo Tisci, J.W. Anderson, Phoebe Philo, Karl Lagerfeld, and LVMH’s own Delphine Arnault. Aside from being recognized by the industry, the winner receives a 300,000 euro grant and a year’s worth of expert technical and financial support from the foundation. Of course, success in the industry for these designers isn’t dependent on winning, but it certainly sets the stage.
Stylist William Graper
Hair Joey George (The Wall Group)
Makeup Cyndle Komarovski (Honey Artists)
Manicurist Yukie Miyakawa
Producer Jazmin Alvarez
Art Direction Stephan Moskovic
Editors Irene Ojo-Felix & Steven Yatsko
Text by Steven Yatsko