Interview & Images: Darrel Hunter
Mattijs Van Bergen has had quite a bit of success since starting his brand, Mattijs, five years ago. Recently he won the Mercedes Benz Dutch Fashion award and also the International Fashion Incubator Award earlier in 2012.
Another success for his brand saw him being invited to Pitti W to present his beautifully crafted, avant-garde collection. As Mattijs talked me through his gorgeous collection it wasn’t hard to see why he has been prospering.
ModeHunter: First of all how did this all come about?
Mattijs Van Bergen: I started out doing a BA in Fashion in Holland and then a Masters at Central St. Martins in London. Following the completion of my masters I had originally planned to work as a designer for an established label but there was such a good response for my work straight out of St. Martins that I just decided to try and set up my own label. It has been up and down as it is for every designer out there but it is really going well.
MH: What is the inspiration behind your current collection?
MVB: I tend to travel a lot and when I am abroad I purchase fabrics, sometimes vintage fabrics, sometimes it is just retail and other times wholesale. I try to find special things to bring together in the collection so it is very much about textiles and a mixture of materials. It is about colour and a lot of craftsmanship. There is a lot of detail and hard work in the garments but I try to keep it pret-a-porter.
MH: So combined with the unique quality and detail you prefer to keep the pieces as ready-to-wear rather than show pieces?
MH: Is your first time at Pitti W?
MVB: Yes, we wanted to test Italy as we don’t have stockists here as yet but the response has been really well over the past few days. Part of the prize for winning the Dutch Fashion Award is international support from the members of the jury so that is why I was invited here.
MH: It is good to hear you are generating interest in Italy. Are there any other countries where you are distributing at present?
MVB: Well of course we are represented in Holland but also Mattijs is currently being distributed in the UK and also the Middle East is going really well.
MH: Which types of women’s wear do you mainly specialise in?
MVB: The main focus of the collection is dresses. Whenever I begin designing something I mainly think of the dress then I have to really pull it apart and say well we also need a skirt and a top. This (points at the rails) is not the full collection as it is the beginning of the season; we are still developing the heavier pieces like coats. So the focus is really on dresses, special occasion pieces, the more glamorous stuff but there is also a balance between the easier pieces.
MH: As we move into award season have you had much interest from stylists for some of your more glamorous dresses?
MVB: Yes that would be amazing. There has been a lot of interest from stylists in Holland as there is already a lot of red carpet events happening but I am hoping we can also be represented internationally. Maybe go to Cannes, the Oscars or one of the many others.
MH: In conjunction with dresses and skirts is there anything else you produce at Mattijs?
MVB: We also do jewellery, belts and accessories all made out of copper, pendants. This season we developed pieces with real butterflies and dragonflies. We tried to embody the feeling of catching and collecting things with the jewellery. We also do shoes. It is our second season doing shoes and we collaborated with United Nude. Again in this collection we wanted do something that was a mixture, we call the shoe the harem, it is a wedge with fringing which is copper just like the jewellery.
MH: So what is the next step for Mattijs?
MVB: Taking care of the business side of the brand, getting more retailers, more stores, which sounds boring but is so important. From here (Pitti W) we will go to Super in Milano, which is a really good new fair. We will also be at Tranoï in Paris and also looking at presenting in Paris hopefully for Spring Summer 2014.
To see more of Mattijs’ innovative designs and to find out more about the collections please visit mattijsvanbergen.com