SWELL Stopped by Matix HQ in Los Angeles to sit down with VP of Merchandising and Design Chad Heit. We talk workwear, Matix’s big comeback, then go have a skate in their warehouse.
SWELL: Walk us through your design team’s innovation process for the Holiday 2013 line?
Chad: We start off with a hindsight meeting and go over what did well & what did not for 2012. The designers then do research & inspiration gathering ideas from traveling, web/books/magazines, reference samples (vintage & new), photography, architecture, etc. We also will develop a color story then develop story boards for the season. Steelcraft was one of our themes for Holiday 13 which consisted of casual outdoor & military inspired pieces.
SWELL: The Barclay Jacket is a clear favorite among SWELL fans, what inspired this neo-bomber look?
Chad: The bomber jacket is just a timeless silhouette, it will never die we just updated it with a detachable hood and a modern fit that is relevant for our market. It’s great to see that the US, Asia, Europe are embracing the casual look more than ever, the Barclay just fits well in that realm. You can dress it up in a shirt & tie or you can dress it down in some jeans & a t-shirt.
SWELL: What is vegan leather? And why should we care?
Chad: Vegan leather or faux leather is an animal friendly leather which is an alternative to real leather. Or called the poor mans leather, we’re not trying to saves cows just your dollars.
SWELL: Designing clothing over a year before it will hit shelves, how do you keep stay on trend?
Chad: We don’t really follow trends much but there are just obvious things we like that are just on trend. Sometimes we notice that we are on trend without even knowing it and we like to trickle new things in each category to keep it fresh even the small details are just as important to evolving trends.
SWELL: If that jacket was a surfboard, what would it be?
SWELL: What artifacts around the office here have significance in the whole design inspiration?
Chad: We love military & workwear related artifacts but I would say a little bit of everything around our office helps set the vibe for inspiration.
SWELL: The corvair has sick a sick rugged feel. How would you complete the look?
SWELL: Congrats on getting a SIMA nomination. Whats the secret to the huge turnaround?
Chad: Focus and hard work, we really looked at what we are good at, narrowed the line offering by cutting back on skus and making the categories we are best at even better. More than ever we have clarity where we want the brand to go and what that looks like. With a small team we make a lot of shit happen, and would like to thank the team for all their hard work and getting just nominated is a huge success for Matix.
SWELL: We hear the Matix Crew are no strangers to weekday partying. Which local watering hole would you say fits the Barclay best?
Chad: Gasser’s Lounge.
Chad: One name – Daewon Song. Also Turk Stopnik with his frontside wall jam.
SWELL: Whats the next big thing coming out of Matix?
Chad: For Spring 2014 our bottoms category just keeps getting stronger from boardshorts to walkshorts. Go get them at SWELL!
SWELL: Thanks for having us, now where should we grab a burrito around here?
Chad: Los Pollos Hermanos (The Chicken Brothers).
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