Maison translating to “house,” a beautiful French word that rolls off the tongue and lingers in our hearts much like a freshly baked chouquette paired with a decadent cup off coffee. Today, we feel inspired by this word – as perhaps all of our ambitions and desires are housed somewhere, our hearts, our heads, our souls. Of course we love feeling inspired, and this reaction manifested itself into us sharing the story of an emerging Canadian designer who is driven by passion and has an unwavering devotion to curating imaginative and ornate collections.
Educated in Milan, Matthew had an appetite to succeed in this fast paced fashion industry. This now sought after designer was at one time enrolled in a summer program at Parsons School of Design at the tender age of 16, and earned a high profiled internship along the way. After some time spent travelling and navigating through his surroundings, his journey came full circle when he decided to move back to Milan. After some time immersed in Italy’s captivating culture – a country renowned for fashion innovation and illustrious designs, he returned home to Canada to launch his collection Maison Matthew Gallagher. At the age of 26, he debuted at the Fall/Winter 2013 World MasterCard Fashion week in Toronto, where he garnered acclaim and adoration from many top Editors.
Matthews’s designs are as ethereal as they are imaginative and his influences can be traced back to his years spent in Europe. Of course our perspectives change when we dive head first into various cultures, learning the languages, and understanding differing ways of life, broaden our horizons and surely diversify perspectives. His fashion aesthetic is opulent sophistication, meets a sharp attention to detail, and an appreciation for precise tailoring. What is next for this rising star? We’ve learned that he would like to create custom pieces for cliental who crave the finer things in life. His passion for design, as well as life is reflected in his collections. Let us leave you with some food for thought – “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyways.” Earl Nightingale. – Read On.
KA – Your Current Fall Collection is Chick and Demure – clean lines, solid tones and high necklines – who is the MMG Woman?
MG – The Maison Matthew Gallagher woman is understated, she is strong and sexy yet always chic. Her style is able to boarder on playful, classic and seductive while never sacrificing elegance. An escape from the reality of how casual the world has become and always appreciating the fantasy of what fashion is all about.
KA – You mentioned you trained in Milan – can you give us insight as to the couturiers you’ve work with, and experiences that have help shape you as a designer?
MG – My experience in Milan helped round me, not only as a designer but also as a person. I studied in Milan and was able to create a incredible circle of friends who all wanted and enjoyed the same things I did. We had an intense workload and learned not only from the professors but also each other. After I finished school I interviewed for internships which resulted in working freelance at Ports 1961 as a fashion illustrator and ultimately a costume designer for Ubisoft.
KA – What do you love most about Milan, why and how do you choose to bring that to Toronto?
MG – I love the overall sense of style in Milan. People take risks and looking casual doesn’t mean yoga pants. No matter what occasion people are well presented. I like the respect Italians have for luxury goods, they understand and appreciate the fit and quality of apparel. All of the fitting techniques I’ve learned came from Milan and something as simple as that can make all the difference when creating a collection. I want people to take more pride in how they look, I want people to dress up again and I want people to feel good in the clothes they are wearing.
KA – What is your favourite part of Canadian Fashion, and why did you choose to officially launch in this country.
MG – My favourite part of Canadian fashion is how supportive Canadians are of young emerging designers. It is rare to get a shot in this industry and to have people looking out for you. I was extremely fortunate to be able to work with The Collections. Without their support and services I wouldn’t be in this position. I felt like I wanted to come back to Canada to launch my brand because there is something romantic about going back to where you started to begin again. I wanted to be in a place where my work could be fully appreciated and not get lost in the hoards of aspiring designers.
KA – We heard you were doing projects in the Cayman Islands – tell us more about this.
MG – I was honoured to be chosen as the Cayman Islands Stylemaker by Cayman Islands Tourism. They offer a wonderful recognition program by profiling, supporting and helping promote an emerging talent each year.
KA – What should we be expecting to see for your upcoming Spring Summer 2014 Collection?
MG – For my Spring/Summer 2014 collection you should expect something different! This is a collection of firsts for me. I have incorporated a print in my collection as well as color. I wanted to take a risk and create something playful, relaxed and elegant with some pieces that were very editorial.
KA – What would be your dream fashion collaboration?
MG – It would be a dream of mine to collaborate with Iris Van Herpen. Her collections are incredible intricate and quite honestly, pieces of art. It would be intriguing for me to see how such avant guard style and innovative techniques would translate to wearable, marketable clothing.
KA – At KA we totally understand that feeling Designers must have by the never-ending spin of creating collection after collection, season after season – How do you cope with this?
MG – I honestly just get lost in it all. It has become a piece of me, an extension of myself. I love doing what I do and I am constantly thinking about new ideas, cuts and new ways to construct something. It is difficult to escape that frame of mind but I don’t find it unappealing. I am creating my own little world each season and in all honesty, it is just really fun. I live for it!
KA – Tell us about your creative process…how you unwind and connect to the creative flow.
MG – My creative process always starts with illustration. I spend days drawing ideas and then once I feel like I have a interesting group I usually place them together to see if I have something cohesive. After that the editing process begins. Once I feel like I have a strong collection, I have already imagined types of textures and fabrics I want and the search begins. Often times I find something I hadn’t thought of and from there a new look is born and the textile is incorporated in other looks. After that, I will look back at the collection one month or so later, or often while I am in the process of making the prototypes and have a last minute revelation and do a final edit to round out the collection.
KA – Who is Matthew Gallagher?
MG – If I was to describe myself I would say I am a simple, small town kid who had a dream and worked hard to make it reality. Always keeping friends and family close to keep me grounded and never change from my initial morals and identity that were distilled in me from my incredible supportive parents. I will never forget who I am and what I stand for, always stay humble and never feel like I can’t do something better and learn something new for next time.
Story by Sarah Harris, KA MAGAZINE