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Nazanin Rose Matin

(MA Printed Textiles, 2003)

Nazanin Rose Matin (MA Printed Textiles, 2003) creates exclusive capsule collections that represent a fresh and clear-sighted vision of luxury. A resort wear designer, she has an incredible eye for print – inspired by her mother’s wardrobe and a love of the '70s. She started her career working with Alexander McQueen in London, followed by several years in Paris at Christian Lacroix, Celine and Kenzo before launching her brand which focuses on luxury fabrics, delicate and colourful prints with a carefree yet sophisticated aesthetic. The brand is sold internationally and online.

Before starting your own label, you worked for Alexander McQueen, Christian Lacroix, Celine and Kenzo. How did working at each of these fashion institutions influence your work?

My first experience at Alexander McQueen was an incredible lesson in appreciating sophisticated fabrics, colour, textiles and showmanship. Whilst I learnt a great deal about creativity in London, working for Parisian fashion houses, such as Christian Lacroix, Kenzo and Celine, taught me all about luxury. I designed prints and textiles across accessories and womenswear and was responsible for production too. This meant numerous trips to the suppliers in locations such as Lake Como in Italy, which gave me an incredibly broad perspective and insight into the design process. I had always wanted to launch my own brand, and after spending time learning my craft in both London and Paris, I felt ready to start a business. Today, in addition to running the business, I’m also working as a consultant for brands ranging from LVMH to Levi’s, so I’m still close to these large, influential institutions.

Do you feel that by starting your own brand you have more to think about than just designing? And if so, what are the other elements you must keep in consideration?

Running a business brings new challenges to solve each day, from customer service to production and quality control. I believe it’s important to learn each aspect of the business yourself, before hiring anyone to take on the work, so you have a good understanding of the various roles and responsibilities. I also think you need to define your style and build a strong identity first before trying to understand the positioning of your brand, and who your target market will be. Being a small business owner means that I need to play several roles all at once. I could, for example, oscillate between logistics, accounting, designing, social media and PR all during the span of a single day.

You said you always liked the fact that resort wear intimately relates to the fond memories of being on holiday. Is that why you decided to go into this area of fashion?

Resort wear just naturally seemed the perfect way to showcase my prints and textiles. My collections combine influences from my coastal upbringing in the South of England where I spent a lot of time by the beach, to my time in London, Paris and California. The juxtaposition between the natural coastal landscapes and the intoxicating creative energy of these cities has helped shape my design ideas. I think the experience of living in different countries broadens your outlook and creates a more expansive mind by way of the different people and cultures you are exposed to. It has influenced my work tremendously.

I think that we all tend to want to wear more print and colour when we are on holiday and my favourite pieces are the ones you can wear during the transition from the beach in the daytime, through sunset, and into the evening.

Nazanin Rose Matin collection
Nazanin Rose Matin collection

Your clothes have beautiful bold patterns. What goes into your thought process when designing the textiles and then the garment? Which comes first – the design of the garment or the selection of the textiles and patterns?

They both go hand in hand. I enjoy the full process, although I love creating designs and seeing them come together the most. The design and development process can be a long one, so it is exciting to see the drawings and the prints come to life when the first fabric samples arrive. 

My design process starts with an idea – something that sparks my inspiration that often involves travel or photography. This is the time when I sketch and allow my ideas to take a course of their own. Once I’m satisfied with the design direction, I look through the drawings, sketches and paintings and start editing and refining my ideas, gradually turning them into prints and and then silhouettes. Colour is an especially important aspect of my work, colourful prints capture the joy of summer. Nature has a great colour palette as source of inspiration, from the burnt oranges in the sunsets to the azure blues of the ocean.

Do you feel that perhaps the UK is not a market for resort wear? Or has this changed?

Resort wear usually implies an element of travel, and travel is often associated with holidays and happiness. A lot of people in the UK look forward to that escape to the sun, whether that’s somewhere close to home or abroad if they are able to. I think this means there will always be a market for resort wear in the UK. As a society, we will always be curious to learn about new places and cultures. And now, more than ever, we are so appreciative of the world and its people.

How do you feel the rise of online retail has changed how fashion is bought and consumed?

Our brand has from the start been focused on e-commerce channels and social media. Instagram has been pivotal for fashion in general – and our brand benefits tremendously from the little community we cultivate there. Small brands can stand next to large ones, and consumers can choose to follow brands that interest them. 

For a small business, online retail allows you to reach a much larger audience, so that’s positive. I also love hearing back from customers saying how they treasure their pieces, and wear them many times over. Having an online store gives you a direct connection with your customer, which is great. When I hear back from someone telling me they love a piece, it just encourages me to create more.

Nazanin Rose Matin collection
Nazanin Rose Matin collection

The past year has meant that we have hardly travelled and therefore have not looked to update our beach wear. How has this impacted on your business?

It’s been a time when all of us have had to adjust to changes in buying habits. I’ve always been a strong believer in quality over quantity but now, more than ever, I think it’s become apparent to all of us that we don’t need to over consume. Being at home has helped me streamline the way I consume products and where I place my purchasing power. We must be aware of our impact on the environment, and this is really making headway in the industry. I want to make women feel confident, comfortable, and good about themselves and invest in pieces that can be worn season after season, and that means items must be made responsibly, and must last the test of time.

Do you feel that some items of resort wear can be readily adapted to home wear in the current climate?

I decided very early on that I just wanted to make simple, uncomplicated silhouettes that would be the perfect base for my prints and textiles. With each collection, I’ve added more pieces and designs but always aim to keep it simple and stay true to the principals that our items can be worn on any body shape, and in any relaxed setting – at home or on holiday. The modern woman typically leads a multifaceted, busy life that balances work and family, so I wanted to create collections that felt approachable, effortless, and not overcomplicated. Commitment to quality and craftsmanship continues to remain the core of our brand.

What’s your biggest source of inspiration?

I am inspired by everyday life: art, architecture, movies, old magazines, books, nature and of course flea markets – they’re a great source of inspiration. I love travelling and discovering different cultures, people, places and buying products from the local artisans and craftspeople.

What type of woman wears Nazanin Rose Matin?

She is laid back, effortlessly chic, and in tune to what is going on in the world. I love having the opportunity to create pieces that myself and other women can wear so they feel empowered and confident. We stand for individuality and inclusivity, using our platform to encourage women to be their truest self and comfortable in their own skin. I think that resonates with our customers around the world.

Interview by: Lisa Pierre

Date: August 2021

Tags: alumni_storiesgenerationrca

Nazanin Rose Matin
Nazanin Rose Matin

"I want to make women feel confident, comfortable, and good about themselves and invest in pieces that can be worn season after season, and that means items must be made responsibly, and must last the test of time." Nazanin Rose Matin