gal-dem in conversation with Briana Wilson: the creator of fashion label MATTE
05 May 2016
gal-dem got the chance to talk to one of LA’s freshest new designers: Briana Wilson, owner of brand MATTE. Loved by celebrities Kim K and Draya Michele, MATTE is a brand that empowers women’s bodies whilst celebrating women of colour. Briana herself is a young entrepreneur, not only slowly conquering the LA fashion scene, but also producing music. At only 23 years old we see a huge future ahead for this one.
Image: Briana Wilson courtesy of MATTE
gal-dem: What made you start MATTE in the first place?
Briana Wilson: I wanted to work for myself. I had lots of business plans & ideas back then but MATTE really became a passionate thing for me early on so I shifted all my energy to it.
What does MATTE stand for?
It stands for fearless, fresh and stylish women. I like the idea of women wearing risky things because it gives them confidence but at the same time adding basic quality pieces to their wardrobe that can be paired with many things over and over.
Who is the ideal MATTE woman?
A woman that does and wears what she wants because she wants to. A woman that’s sexy but knows she’s more than that. MATTE is completely run by women; I love being on set with all that feminine energy. Women that work hard and slay their craft.
Being so young, how did you know fashion was a field you wanted to go into?
It was just an idea! I truly believe I can do anything so I thought why not? Fashion is not the end though; I will have multiple businesses in all types of creative fields. I want to get into music at some point, via producing (I actually have beats on sound cloud).
You tend to use women of colour in your campaigns; is this a conscious decision for the brand image?
Definitely. I think it’s our time. I love all types of women with cool looks, and try to keep it diverse, but my first choice is and always will be women of colour.
Image courtesy of MATTE
How do you come up with the concepts for your shoots?
I have an overall aesthetic that I feel MATTE actually built on its own; I try to build on that. I just visualize then plan, but I think mainly the clothes speak for themselves! I only need a model, a makeup artist and some shoes! 90 percent of the shoots are shot in my living room.
Is it easy being a women of colour in the fashion industry?
For me, yes, because I don’t feel I need anyone or acceptance into the industry. I have different goals than most designers. I haven’t thought about fashion week (didn’t even attempt to go), I don’t come out with collections on time, I haven’t accepted any retail offers yet…MATTE’s untraditional. I’m definitely going to wow some people and make big waves with the goals I’ve set but I don’t need anyone but myself to accomplish them, so I’d say my race has nothing to do with it.
Being a one-woman team, how do you find the time to do everything?
Hahahaha! I’m answering these questions at 4:12 AM. I bought fabric for like 20 different styles today, and shot a look book. You just gotta be passionate about it!
Which celebrities would you love to see wearing your clothes?
How does the fashion scene in LA differ from other states?
LA isn’t as fashion-y as NY. In New York everyone gets it lol, I was so inspired by style when I lived there, they take it seriously. In LA things are way more relaxed, it’s good for me because I get to squeeze in the middle.
You can visit the MATTE website here.