When I checked my timetable at the beginning of the week and saw:
“Industry Guest: Matthew Williamson in Conversation with Emily Sheffield”
I could not wait to hear what the British fashion icon had to say about the illustrious fashion industry and his vibrant brand. It was definitely an added bonus that the deputy editor of British Vogue would be asking him the questions!
Williamson started by describing his brand DNA using words such as jet set, bohemia, luxury, print, colour, and embellishment. His collections are always lively, unique and vivacious but how did he break onto the fashion scene (minus his Saint Martins College education and vast amount industry experience)? He didn’t follow the trends of the 90’s he took his own approach for his collection, “My work was noticed because I was not doing what was going on in fashion at the time – my brand has been very natural and it took a very organic process to get to where I am.”
When asked about the favourite part of his job he described how much he loves the design process and how he is 100% involved in designing every collection, from inspiration to the final product. What was also evident was how proud he was about his store in Mayfair, London. He listens to what every customer has to say and declared he loves when they come to speak to him in his store (don’t all rush at once). “If the customer wants to engage with me I love it, they are they best critics.”
Sheffield probed into Williamsons use of displaying his clothes on his celebrity friends, such as Sienna Miller. He was quick to respond with wit, “Sienna is first and foremost my mate and would still be my made if I worked in a sandwich shop. It just helps that she loves my clothes as well.” He went onto say, “Unquestionably, its advantageous to affiliate yourself with somebody who reflects your collection and brand.”
Williamson described his biggest influence and motivator – his mother! He described a story that I found so inspirational. He reflected back on a time his mother saved her money to buy a Jaeger dress and how the dress made her feel special and unique. “The dress made an impression without anybody having to say anything…all the men at the party loved her and all the women hated her.” This moment inspired Williamson to create powerful clothing that would allow every woman to feel powerful and special.
Suzie Forbes, the principal at the Condé Nast College, thanked Williamson for his fantastic insight into the industry and told the students a little secret of his. He is absolutely terrified of public speaking and talking so openly about himself and his company. “Put your hand on my beating heart, I am literally like a wreck”, said Williamson to Forbes before the talk, and we all thought we couldn’t love him even more!
He was even a gentleman when we asked for a quick photo! #ohMW