Los Angeles isn’t a city known as the birthplace of luxury men’s suit brands, but Derek Mattison believes that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be. “There is this idea that everyone here wears flip-flops and boardshorts,” said Mattison, a Detroit native who moved to Los Angeles eight years ago. “That is not the L.A. I see.”
With the unabashed confidence of a tech entrepreneur — Mattison founded Internet marketing company ESN Interactive — he has launched a namesake brand to dress men that share his sartorial tastes for suits with classic quality, but not classic fits. To house that brand, Mattison has opened a 1,000-square-foot store on Melrose Place, the leafy thoroughfare where Marni, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Temperley are among Mattison’s retail neighbors.
“I want to create a global lifestyle brand from scratch,” said Mattison. “I looked at other guys who are doing it, and I thought, ‘Why can’t I?’”
Although he has no formal design training, Mattison has a lot of experience buying and wearing suits. A self-professed clotheshorse, he tailored suits by Dior, Tom Ford and Jil Sander to his preferences by shortening jacket lengths, narrowing lapels and dropping the buttons so much that he figured he might as well make suits for himself. It turned out those suits appealed to his friends, too.
“The higher-end brands fit their clothing like garbage bags. I call them the hedge fund manager brands,” said Mattison. “Those hedge fund manager brands, I love how their suits are constructed. I love the fabrics. Let’s just make them fit cool.”
Signatures of Mattison’s suits are slim, one-and-five-eighths-inch lapels — even slimmer than Thom Browne’s two-inch lapels — and one-and-a-quarter-inch collar rolls. The suits also feature low buttons, hidden front plackets, small cuffs and front pockets, and numbered labels in the interior pockets that read “Made by hand in the California Republic.” Mattison uses Donegal tweed, Italian superwools, cashmere and corduroy. Suits come in black, gray and navy, and they are priced on average at $3,200.
Mattison believes the slim lapels make them appropriate for formal or casual occasions. He often pairs his jackets, which each take two days for a master tailor to make, with jeans and T-shirts. The brand has its own denim for $300 that Mattison said has “no contrast or colored stitching. It is simple, but has elements that look like tailored pants.” Mattison sells ties and footwear as well and Ts are in the works.
In partnership with Commune, the Los Angeles design firm that Mattison also hired to work on his Sixties-era Buff & Hensman home in the Hollywood Hills, he created a Melrose Place boutique that is the opposite of a surf shop. “We wanted to tap into a darker, David Lynch kind of thing. It is not beachy L.A.,” said Pamela Shamshiri, a principal at Commune.
The store’s surfaces are mostly dark or reflective. There is black ceilings and flooring, and mirrors and brass panels cover the walls. Clothes are on tubular metal rods that descend from the ceiling. A vine that ran the length of the ceiling was severed during construction, but hanging plants bring touches of green to the store in its place. Light filters into the space through two skylights.
Mattison chose the Melrose Place location because he feels it’s a good launching pad for an upscale brand. “When you are selling $3,200 suits in L.A., where do you go? It’s not a Venice brand. It’s not quite a Beverly Hills brand,” he said. Discussing Melrose Place specifically, he continued, “This is definitely a destination street. You are not going to have a whole lot of foot traffic, but the foot traffic you do have [is from serious shoppers.]”
Mattison, who plans to enter wholesale in fall 2013, doesn’t seem overly concerned with the financial aspect of operating a store. He said he’d ordered 90 suits and a “couple hundred pairs” of jeans — an amount that would equal at least $348,000 in revenues if it were sold — to fill it, although he isn’t pushing to reach a certain sales goal. “I am thinking of it as a place to start a brand. I care about sales, but that’s not the idea behind the store,” he said.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)