With Telstra Perth Fashion Festival only days away, the entire Perth fashion scene is buzzing. Designers are sorting out those last minute dramas, stylists are working their butts off putting together the hottest combinations and bloggers (myself included), fans and fashion freaks are perfecting their outfits and praying the sun comes out. Fashion is on Perth’s brain right now, so I thought this was the perfect time to introduce you to new bespoke Perth designer (who I know will be showing on a catwalk one day in the future) Matthew Avery, the creative director and genius with a sewing machine behind label ERIC&EDWIN. I’ve known Matthew for years (since our university days) and this man has always had a fashion brain. When he wasn’t studying (or we weren’t out on the town) he would be designing and making clothes for all of his friends (and himself) and I envied his creative spirit and drive. Nowadays he’s juggling a full time job and has recently started his label that I know will turn heads. Meet Matthew!
Describe yourself in five words?
Conceptual, creative, visual, curious and a dream-biggerer!
Tell us a little bit about what do you do and why?
I feel like I live a bit of a double life at the moment. By day, I work in public relations, a career path that struck a chord with me when I was studying my law degree (I know, right) at Murdoch University. When I’m not exploring the endless possibilities of PR though, I am creating, which ultimately led me to Eric&Edwin. I think it is my tendency to visualise concepts and my curiousity for exploring new things that is the driving force behind the label. ERIC&EDWIN is all about making memorable pieces that people can feel themselves (or a version of themselves) in. I think what is so unique about the label is the one-of-a-kind, bespoke element of it. In a world where we are consumed by so much mass-production, I hope to share an element of grass roots individuality with ERIC&EDWIN.
What’s a typical day like in your world?
A typical day? Well, it generally starts with a coffee. I work in Subiaco so a morning coffee has become quite the ritual – so many great hotspots! When I am not working, I like to work out and create of course! My life feels very balanced at the moment and when things are balanced in life, positivity radiates from that and drives me to go even harder.
How do you juggle the label and a regular full time job?
The great thing about ERIC&EDWIN is that each piece is a one off design. Whether it be the length of a skirt, fabric choice, texture, print designs or any other elements of a garment, every piece is a one off, which is useful while I work full time. I never feel time poor when it comes to my passion (except when I can’t think of anything but my next creation).
Where do find inspiration for your designs?
I really think that creativity breeds inspiration – given the conceptual nature of the label, I find flexibility in my designs in that I am not constricted by particular aesthetics or seasonal looks. I take a lot of inspiration from different eras – particularly the 70s 80s and 90s at the moment, it’s just so fun and free! I also draw on different elements of pop culture, vintage fashion and a number of iconic trailblazers to fuse different elements of each look to get something fresh. However, in terms of aesthetic – a fusion of bold adrogynous and complete femininity in bespoke garments is what we’re all about.
How long does one garment take to design and complete?
I find that every garment is different. Sometimes things that seem easy on paper can take more time to put together, but my mum (whose an expert sewer and who has taught me pretty much everything I know) has always told me that 80 per cent of sewing is away from the machine. And she is so right, I definitely spend more time planning and measuring and cutting and draping and steaming than I do at my machine. The time it takes to create a new piece is dependent on a number of things, but I’ve always been very deadline driven, so if I have something to work toward, then I get the job done. That’s why I always find it so difficult to make clothes for myself! Once I’ve sewn a garment though, completing all of the finishings takes some time too – because if it’s not as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside – it’s not finished!
Fashion is a female dominated industry – what do you want to bring to the scene?
I think everybody in this industry is in it for a common purpose – to share their passion, whether you’re a male or a female. I enjoy sharing my creativity, vision and passion with the world (one day… hopefully!) so I aim to bring something fresh and unique to the fashion landscape – because I mean, no-one else knows what’s inside my head except me right?
Anything exciting coming up for the brand in the future?
Who knows what’s around the corner, one of the greatest things in life is the unknown right? Following the success of the first ERIC&EDWIN shoot, and the feedback it’s gotten, I’m working on a few different projects. I have a few custom designs underway for different clients, and I am looking forward to doing some more conceptual work in the future. ERIC&EDWIN is still in infancy, so I am really excited to watch it grow and evolve. I work with a fantastic creative team and we have some great projects planned for Spring and Summer so watch this space!
What is your favourite thing about the Perth creative scene?
I’ve always been a very creative person, and I enjoy being around other creative people. I thrive off creativity – and I think the great thing about Perth scene is that it continues to grow. It’s almost like a cult, and I really enjoy the diversity and uniqueness of people on the scene, and since starting ERIC&EDWIN I’ve found the scene to be very inclusive and supportive of newcomers, which is such a fantastic thing.
Where are your favourite places to eat, drink and shop in Perth?
Well before moving to Northbridge I was a Beaufort Street native – so I would often hit up MoMo’s vintage boutique for some striking pieces, and I also have a few secrets for those great (and cheap) essentials, and hotspots for unique op-shop finds.
Another Mount Lawley favourite is Clarences – great wine list, and boy do they do a killer whiskey sour! I also really enjoy a good Gin and Tonic so PICA or Frisk are also up there among my favourites! I am loving the small bar scene in Perth at the moment! Eats? Hmmmm… Guilty pleasure would have to be Varsity Burger on Aberdeen Street – amazing for the weekend feast. I quite enjoy going out for breakfast, so I can’t go past Tuck Shop Café or Mary Street Bakery for a coffee or two and a bite to eat.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
This is a tough one, but if I think about it in terms of what I am most proud of – I am very proud of the fact that I’ve been brave enough to share Eric & Edwin, something I am so passionate about, with the rest of the world, so I think that is an achievement in itself. Working on our very first collaborative project with the amazingly talented photographer Sebastian Mrugalski and genius stylist Niamh Bambrick was also a big achievement, seeing my garments come to life was very very rewarding. I think bigger things are just around the corner though, so watch this space!
So if you’re in need of a beautiful, original and bespoke garment Matthew is your man! You can find his latest collections on Instagram, but seriously watch this space. I know he’s going to kill it!
If you could have anything designed for you, what would it be?