You may remember I was doing an internship with the fashion designer, Matcho Suba, of Project Runway Australia fame. At uni we had an assignment where we had to interview someone in the industry and I thought "hey, why not Matcho?" and thus, my interview was born. I received a high distinction for it so I'm happy but just remember, I'm studying fashion design, not journalism!
You can see more of Matcho's work here!
Grace Brewin: Where did you study fashion design and what was it like?
Matcho Suba: I did my first degree at a fashion college in Slovakia [which was] four years, then I
moved to the UK. I did my second degree, Foundation of Design, in Birmingham [at the] University
of Central England.
And then I did my Foundation degree and Masters degree at London College of Fashion,
specialising in womenswear and surface textiles, and that was amazing. My best study experience
was at London College of Fashion because it was very industry-oriented. Many of the designers
came from industry and treated you more like an actual professional rather than a student. I loved
GB: That sounds really good!
GB: Why did you decide to move to Melbourne to pursue fashion?
MS: I moved here because of my partner and it wasn't really [to] pursue fashion but I felt like a little
fish in a big pond in London because so many people want to be fashion designers. In Melbourne
there's not as much competition.
GB: Like more chance?
MS: Yeah, there's a much bigger chance in Melbourne to make it rather than waiting ten years to
make it to fashion week [in London].
GB: That's interesting.
MS: And it was the best move.
GB: Everyone in my class talks about how they're going to go overseas straight away so it's just
interesting that you've come to Melbourne.
MS: If you make it here, then you can move to a bigger city.
GB: That's true.
GB: What was it like on Project Runway and was it a good gateway into the industry?
MS: It was, I had so much fun on the show and it was definitely a door-opener for me because
before I applied for the show I didn't know anyone in the fashion industry [in Melbourne] -no
stylists, no models, no fellow designers. After the show, so many doors opened and people wanted
to work with me, people wanted to use my stuff, so it definitely helped me a lot.
GB: You were the fifth last contestant to make it to the end, is that right?
MS: Yeah, so it's not bad.
GB: Yeah! How many people were there?
MS: 12? ... Yeah. And I really don't hear much from the ones who finished [after me].
GB: How did you apply or when were you approached for Melbourne Spring Fashion Week?
MS: I wasn't approached, I applied myself and yeah, I just went onto the Spring Fashion Week
website and downloaded the application, did a questionnaire, sent my picture and then the whole
process started- the company who runs fashion week came here for a couple of interviews and it
just went from that.
GB: That's interesting. I wondered if it was an application or they just approached people.
MS: They do approach some designers, some people get approached. Some people, obviously if
you're on your own or your label isn't up there you have to do it yourself. I'm hoping that I'm going
to get approached next year [laughs].
GB: They'll probably just call you back!
MS: "Hey you want to do it again?" "of course!"
GB: What is important to you in fashion design?
MS: Stay true to yourself. Stay true to your own signature. Do listen to other people, do listen to
criticism, especially the uh [pauses to think].
GB: Constructive criticism?
MS: Constructive criticism! But yeah, stay true to yourself, don't follow trends, don't follow the
people. Do your own thing. There's always going to be people who are going to hate it but some
people are going to love it so there's always pros and cons in fashion. The main thing is to stay
true to yourself and keep dreaming- never stop dreaming. Always follow your dreams.
GB: That's really nice!
GB: Do you have any inspirations that you continually return to?
MS: I don't know... Like I've said before, I call myself a storyteller [rather] than a designer. I like to
tell a story through my collection rather than just "I was inspired by a butterfly or the sea or the
sky." There's always deeper things and I like to kind of create my own people and characters that I
get inspired by. I create this whole story like I did for this collection.
GB: That sounds really cool! It sounds like what our design teacher is making us do. Have to keep
pushing and all that.
GB: How do you find the fashion industry in Melbourne compared to internationally?
MS: Very different. It's a little bit behind, I'm seeing, but it's getting there much faster than when I
came to Melbourne [for the] first time, eight years ago and I went actually to Loreal Fashion
Festival. You cannot compare. What's happening now and then was completely different. Like
fashion's evolved so much. So many Australian designers are making it internationally- New York,
London, Paris, Milan- London and New York, mostly. It's evolving but Australian designers aren't as
adventurous in fashion. They're kind of very scared, they're following trends- what my friend's
wearing, what she is wearing- rather than keeping to their own unique style and signature. Yeah,
but I think Australia's on its way to reaching the international fashion [standard].
GB: It seems to be picking up.
MS: Definitely, definitely. There's lots of young designers coming out of Australia which is great.
GB: Why did you decide to start your own label and how difficult was it initially?
MS: It's still difficult, I'm still at the beginning of it. The most difficult part is having financial
backings. You can have amazing ideas, you can have amazing collections, but what is the point if
you create one piece and you cannot reproduce, you cannot sell, you cannot put it in a shop. Yeah,
the hardest thing is the financial backing. I'm still working on it to get sponsors in, to get people to
believe in you to get their money back. It's difficult but you just have to do it. Don't give up-if it
doesn't happen in three years, keep trying- it's gonna happen in the fourth. And I've got massive
dreams to take the label internationally.
GB: Well that ties in well with my next question- where do you want to see your business in the
next five years?
MS: New York.
GB: New York?
MS: Definitely New York and I have dreams- I want to apply for two competitions. I want to do the
Woolmark Prize so I'll definitely work to create some collections using wool and I would like to
apply for that in Australia as an Australian contestant. And the other one is CFDA [Council of
Fashion Designers of America] awards which is one of the biggest fashion prizes in history and that
would be amazing even just to make it to the top ten. That's my dreams- both of those
competitions, either of them if you make the final or even semi-final you are on your way up there.
So many amazing massive labels apply for these competitions, even if they didn't win they've gone
up since they applied, it's fantastic. So that's kind of my dreams- and America, New York!
GB: I just have one more question- I just wanted to know if your childhood ever influences or
inspires your collections?
MS: Definitely, yeah. My collection I did for my Masters, 'Folkloria', was inspired by traditional
Slovakian folklore that was kind of my childhood memories- seeing my mum performing wearing
this costume. And my 'Chernobyl' collection, that was my childhood, where I used to live. I lived in
a little village next to the Ukrainian borders where the whole thing [nuclear reactor] exploded. Yeah,
there's always influences from childhood, like the memories. Not all the collections but I definitely
go back to references for things I'm doing.
GB: Awesome, well thank you very much for answering my questions today.
MS: That's alright! Thank you and good luck with it!
So there you have it! Matcho was very professional and had some great, insightful and inspiring answers to my questions and I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to work with him.