Undeniably one of the most talented among the new generation of designers with his clothing having already appeared in movies, television series and magazine photo shoots, including LIFE SIZE 2, Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and FORBES, creative fashion designer Matt Sarafa is ready to share his upcoming new line RI¢H during LA Fashion Week this spring. Matt is also teaming up with designer Jonathan Marc Stein to create a line of one-of-a-kind dresses that will also be shown at this year’s LA Fashion Week.
Having already shown at multiple New York Fashion Weeks, and Paris Fashion Week, Matt is ready to take on the trendy world of fashion in LA during this year’s LA Fashion Week. Matt’s new line RI¢H will mark his return to fashion after a sitting out a season, and his debut during LAFW. RI¢H is a collection that is all about reimagined streetwear-meets high fashion silhouettes using only top of the line, cutting edge materials, and of course tying in his signature aesthetic and vibes. Red is the signature color of this collection, inspired by the infamous red faux fur coat from his previous line FAKE, which was featured throughout the eighth season of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and sold out after he and his coats first appeared on the series.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Edgy, Unapologetic, Personable
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I would say my biggest strength would be applying my hard work ethic to everything I do in life. but at the same time, it can become a downfall when it starts to take away from all the fun stuff life has to offer.
Why and how did you decided to become a fashion designer?
I stumbled across Project Runway at 7 years old and instantly became hooked on fashion. I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do with my life, and here I am today!
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is so exciting to me because there really are no rules that you have to follow. The freedom of expression is really what attracted me to the industry in the first place!
How do you describe your fashion style?
My style is just very “Matt Sarafa!” I love to push boundaries and blur gender lines. I like fashion that is fun, fresh, exciting, and really puts on a show.
What is it like working for yourself now and who is your dream client?
Working for yourself is the best feeling. I love being in control and being a boss bitch! Owning my own business and making my own money has really helped me grow as a person and learn more about myself too.
Fashion can be whatever you want it to be- that’s the beauty of it! To me, fashion is that immediate boost of confidence you get when you put on a bomb ass outfit, and that’s how I try to make my customers feel when rocking my designs.
Who is your biggest beauty inspiration?
I used to be an avid beauty YouTube watcher, but these days I just don’t have the time!! However, on my Instagram explore page, it makes me sooo happy to see all these super young boys having the courage to experiment with makeup and fashion. I didn’t have that confidence back in the day, so it warms my heart to see that the world is changing slowly but surely for the better!
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
My favorite part about being a fashion designer is seeing people light up as soon as they put on my creations. I have people from all over the world who send me pictures and messages telling me how much they love my clothes, and that’s the best feeling ever.
Tell us about your newest clothing line RI¢H?
RI¢H is super exciting for me because it’s kind of my reemergence onto the Fashion Week scene after taking a couple seasons off to focus on my wildly successful FAKE collection. The last show I did was Paris Fashion Week, and I can’t wait to get back into the hustle and bustle. RI¢H is inspired by the success of my previous collection after being featured on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” and is super edgy, luxurious, and badass. I can’t wait to debut it!
Where and when will be your new fashion show?
My LA Fashion Week Show is on March 29th at an exclusive event space in one of the hippest fashion areas of LA. This is the first time I’ve planned a fashion show (or any event, really!) from the ground up, and it’s definitely been an experience and a half! With that said, I know it’s gonna be iconic and I’m super excited to show off all my hard work!
How did you select the materials you used?
Fabric and materials shopping is one of my favorite parts of the design process. I have all my secret little sources and hidden gems here in Downtown LA, and I actually did a lot of custom prints, fabrics, and hardware for this collection as well. I’m a full-time student at UCLA, so I definitely took advantage of the resources we have there by using their acrylic laser cutter and 3D printing machine to create custom embellishments for my garments.
What is different from your brand to other brands?
I’m pretty much a one man show and take care of every aspect of my company. I think the authenticity translates well to my fans and customers since I call all the shots with everything.
How is working with big name celebrities in the entertainment and fashion business?
These past few months have been crazy in terms of celebrity exposure for me. Within the past 6 months, I’ve gotten my pieces on huge names like Tyra Banks, Iggy Azalea, Skai Jackson, LisaRaye, and several others. All of this exposure has been 100% organic networking and hard work.
How do you stay up to date regarding fashion?
I love keeping up with what’s hot at the moment and what celebs are wearing on the red carpet. I never like being out of the loop but at the same time I always beat to my own drum.
Describe your creative process?
My creative process always starts with a mood board and sketching. Then, those sketches go through several tweaks and alterations until they are ready for patterning, material selection, and manufacturing!
Tell us about a project or collection which has been your greatest achievement?
So far, I think Paris Fashion Week was my greatest achievement to date. I was the youngest designer to ever show a collection there, and it was also actually my first time in Paris ever! Never in a million years did I think I’d be where I am today so early on in my career.
Who was your role model as a child?
Ever since I was 7 and realized I wanted to be a fashion designer, Tim Gunn was always such a huge role model for me. Getting to become a part of the Project Runway family and have the opportunity to be mentored by Tim was such a full circle moment for me.
Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?
Naomi Campbell will always be the baddest bitch in the modeling game for me. Everything about her is so fierce, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with her someday. In terms of designers, I like brands that aren’t afraid to push boundaries. Some of my favorites include Versace, Moschino, Saint Laurent, The Blonds, Balenciaga, and sooo many more.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
In 5 years, I see myself continuing to grow my brand. I’ve always said that I wanted to have my own fashion empire like Chanel or Marc Jacobs. I’d love to expand my line to include cosmetics as well.
What advice do you have for other aspiring fashion designers?
Keep going!! The fashion industry can be brutal at times, but if you’re truly passionate about design, it can be the most rewarding job in the world. Also, this business is all about networking so stay humble and be nice to everyone. I can’t even tell you how cocky some of these bigger designers I’ve come in contact with are, and it’s such a bad look.
Do you support any charity?
I’ve been raised in a household where my parents have always stressed the importance of giving back. Since I was little, I’ve been a part of multiple charity organizations from “Children’s Hospital LA” to the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.” My personal favorite causes to volunteer with are ones who cater specifically to LGBT issues, since that is something so close to my heart.
Something people don’t know about you?
I’m totally bilingual! We spoke a mix of English and Spanish in my household growing up, so I’m pretty much fluent.
Where can people see more of your work?
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Own who you are and celebrate it.” – RuPaul
Favorite Singer/Artist: Lil Kim
Drink: Lemon Drop (Now that I’m finally 21 heyyyyyyy)
Tv Show: Pretty much any reality TV show
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Matt Sarafa