A member of the distinguished alumni from the internationally renowned fashion institute Central Saint Martins, class of ’94, Matthew Williamson landed his first job — a freelance design project with Marni — soon after graduation. Positions at fashion companies Monsoon and Accessorize followed, leading up to the cumulative moment when the young designer founded his eponymous luxury fashion house in 1997 with business–savvy partner Joseph Velosa. The designer’s A/W 2011 collection retains Williamson’s whimsical love for vibrant prints, finding force in fusion, with seasonal balance achieved in the insertion of greys. Today, having nurtured a global reputation, the designer’s name has become synonymous with the British fashion scene. Catering to an insatiable appetite for travel and exploration, Williamson’s exotic expeditions infuse his collections with a bright joie de vie that has become the designer’s signature.
What are your Fashion Week rituals?
I always check into a hotel for the two nights before my show and the night of the show. This way I don’t have the extra worry of food, travel, etc., as the hotel is just across the road from my studio. It also means I can book massages when the stress levels get too high.
Where do you eat the most when you are at the studio?
I tend to eat lunch at my desk whilst working. I’m trying to discipline myself not to do this and to try and get out in the day and have a break. So far this year that hasn’t happened!
What is your biggest Fashion Week fear?
That key samples won’t get finished on time. They somehow always do but it never stops my worrying.
Who do you most admire in the British fashion industry?
Several people really … Paul Smith and Natalie Massenet at Net-A-Porter for their creative vision, consistency and long term business sense, and Joseph Velosa, my CEO, for the same reasons.
If you could have any other career what would it be?
I’ve been thinking about this recently, but I’m not entirely sure. If I stopped fashion tomorrow it would definitely be something totally different. Maybe to do with natural conservation.
Who has helped you the most with your career so far?
Joseph [William’s partner and CEO].
What is your current favourite piece of fashion in your closet?
My new leather biker pants from Burberry.