Most outside collaborators brought on to work with high-level brands and designers would not report that the “reins are pretty loose.” But for the team at Matte — Max Pollack, Brett Kincaid and Matthew Rowean — that’s exactly how their relationships with brands like Alexander Wang and Tom Ford have come to be; the trio is the go-to for companies in New York to translate the runway experience to video, having done so this past season for Wang, Ford, Ralph Lauren and Ovadia & Sons.
“There were a lot of people doing the tried-and-true fashion films for a long time, and they still are doing it, but they were kind of falling on deaf ears because people don’t want to watch that,” says Kincaid. “So brands are figuring out that they could make something that was consumer-friendly, versus just a 16-look, direct-on thing. Something that could be used for some commercial value.”
The company, founded in 2011, has evolved from concerts and other music-based projects to the fashion sphere; coming out of the music industry prepared them for fashion videos, they say.
“There are a lot of similarities with live — you’re dealing with chaos and you don’t have the opportunity to have a song redone,” Kincaid says.
They turned to fashion when they saw there was an opening to create “really beautiful editorial films” out of a traditional runway experience — something they see as a “niche that we’ve been trying to carve for ourselves,” Rowean explains.
“There is all this thought and consideration going into the set design and all the other emotional elements of the show; you have incredible music being scored for these shows, you have these amazing sets being built, and for a long time it was only being experienced by a small audience,” he continues. “The show coverage was very simplistic or not very evocative of that entire experience.”
Concepts come from the designers’ directive, but they’re very much left to create as they see best.
“Generally there’s a top-line genre or mood or theme or emphasis that kind of informs the set design, the music; oftentimes now there is some sort of digital media playing in the background and that informs the direction too,” says Kincaid. “Tom Ford is going to have a very clean set, while Coach the last couple seasons has had a very busy set and that somehow relates to the campaigns that they’re putting out.” The videos, therefore, are consistently “informed by the season’s direction,” he continues. “Like any other form of content, they want what we make to be indicative of the show — and on a high level.”
As for where they see video format for shows going? “You see a lot of conversation over if the importance of a show is dying down,” Rowean says. “At the same time, I think there are fewer brands doing things, and the ones that are doing things are doing things in a big way, and they’re thinking about how content plays into that.”
That being said, “I think there’s still an affinity for having a textural look and feel,” says Kincaid — something they no doubt hope to capture on camera.
More From the Eye: