Matty Bovan Questions the Relationship of Function
and Decoration through Psychedelic Knitwear

Experimental UK-based knitwear designer Matty Bovan has emerged into the fashion limelight with his psychedelic tangled creations. Alongside fellow Brit Beth Postle, Matty was awarded the £5,000 L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award this past Autumn/Winter 2015 season, an honor bestowed to the most skilled designer at the Central Saint Martins presentations during London Fashion Week. Matty Bovan delivers a diverse mix of sculptural pieces, which are crafted, molded, and intertwined with multi-colored yarn, glittery fringe, and prismatic embellishments. Below, this WILD innovator speaks on his latest award-winning 12-look assemblage, the upsides and downsides of London living, and his many sources of inspiration.

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Image courtesy of Naomi Wong

My name is Matty Bovan and I’m a fashion knitwear designer. I am originally from York, England, but I currently reside in North London.

At Central Saint Martins, I specialized in Fashion Knitwear BA for four years and MA for one year-and-a-half. To me knitwear design gives a lot of space to experiment. I create the fabrics, and with that knowledge can take the textile anywhere. The amount of techniques are endless and have so many options. I utilize strange or new materials alongside traditional ones and work them together to create something contemporary.

My work as a designer is a very personal vision and an extension of the way I dress and put things together. I define style by it being a representation of an individual. To see someone who just dresses for themselves and for personal expression is what is most stylish to me.

 

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My Autumn/Winter 2015 collection consisted of sculptural dresses and pieces forming against and away from the body. Materials consisted of plastic cords, loosely hand-knitted with lurex, machine knit jacquards with eyelash yarn felted with lambswool, velvet, crochet nets, carved foam shapes covered in gems, hand cast resin brooches, and clay brooches hand painted. It was inspired by mixing of color and texture, but pushing the shapes into more extreme silhouettes. Also, the idea of constructing garments with brooches and jewelry, and questioning the relationship of function/decoration, runs throughout the collection. These gradually become bigger, and pushed to the extreme in the final looks.

For me, winning the L’Oréal Professionnel Creative Award was amazing, and a total shock! I had no idea until they announced it, and it is a bit of a blur. I was already feeling so privileged to open the show but to win that also made me super happy!

 

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I absolutely love London for the mix of areas, the culture and museums, the art schools, my friends, and its feeling of home. No one bats an eye at anything because they’ve seen it all and it has a certain energy that I just hope doesn’t get homogenized. My favorite places to hangout are Soho and South Kensington for museums and the V&A, Fashion and Textile Museum, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and Saatchi Gallery. But obviously most of my friends are in East London, so Dalston, Shoreditch, Stoke Newington. It is a shame the prices are rising each year though, that’s a concern for most people I know. Also, worrying how the corporate side of London is creeping into areas and killing them very quickly, e.g. Soho.

Besides fashion and design, I am most inspired by artists such as Fiona Rae, Gary Hume, Cindy Sherman, PJ Harvey, and Björk. I love taking photos and playing around with films and cheap cameras and the whole unexpected results you get with your surroundings. My friends also have an influence, whether it be through conversation or by watching films. Even certain fabrics, yarns, materials can set off inspiration. Towards the end of my last collection I suddenly became obsessed with the colors neon yellow and red, and had to use somehow. I suddenly painted my nails neon yellow and my shoes the same color, and fell in love with it! I seem to obsess over things like that.

I am fascinated by casting objects in resin and sculpting clay, things I touched upon in my last collection. I would like to develop my ideas and push the form and function of objects interacting with garments.

 

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The biggest challenge in my life at the moment is what to do next and take my work further. But I am currently working on some commissions and making myself some T-shirts and leggings, as I’m running out of clothes to wear!!

If I could have one, My WILD Wish right now would be to throw a huge party for all my friends and family and have loads of fun!

 

For more Matty, follow him on Instagram @BabbyM

Images courtesy of Gabriela Antunes 

text by: Nicole Zane










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