If the phrase “you are the company you keep” is believed to be true, then it is no surprise that Alyx founder Matthew Williams is a huge success. A member of the #BEENTRILL# collective along with designers Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston, Williams was best known for his work as creative director for Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kanye West prior to starting Alyx. Following years of life on the road, fulfilling other creatives’ wildest dreams, Williams was ready to begin living his own dream: creating a fashion brand.
Williams teamed up with Luca Benini of Slam Jam—an Italian production, distribution and retail company—to start Alyx, named after Williams’ first born daughter, in 2015. Although Williams has no formal education as a designer, Benini was impressed by Williams’ knowledge of context and culture and his experience as a creative director. Dedicated to the process and eager to keep an eye on the production, Williams moved his family from the U.S. to Italy, where Alyx is manufactured. In the early years of Alyx the brand only produced womenswear, with Williams’ wife Jennifer as the main point of reference. From the beginning, Williams incorporated uncommon technical materials and fabrics—like metal cigarette lighter caps and looping wire. Though his designs were well received, it would be his hardware that made Alyx stand out.
One of Williams’ biggest influences is his California upbringings. Punk rock, skipping school and aimless drives around town had a profound effect on Williams. After a trip to a Six Flags theme park, he realized the untapped durability and practicality of the roller coaster seat belt buckle design. He took what was purely a piece of functional machinery and remade the buckles into sleek, desirable closures. The buckles are now considered the signature item of Alyx and can be seen on the brand’s most popular pieces—including the aptly-named Roller Coaster Belt and Chest Rig.
After Williams' first few collections helped him become finalist for the LVMH prize, it was clear the business was ready to expand. Alyx debuted it’s first men’s collection in the fall of 2017. After pieces of the collection were seen on tastemakers like Kanye West and Luka Sabbat, the brand’s mens business became an almost-overnight success. Collaborations soon came from a variety of big corporations, hoping Williams would add his flare (and roller coaster-inspired closures) to its brands. Vans tapped Williams to tweak classic silhouettes like the Sk8 Hi. Nike has had an ongoing partnership with Alyx (under the MMW banner) since 2018, producing full capsule collections of apparel and new sneaker silhouettes such as the Free TR Flyknit 3. Dior has even incorporated the Roller Coaster Buckle throughout its men’s collections since Kim Jones’ appointment as men’s artistic director in 2018. Alyx is still a young label, but it’s impact has already been felt among brands across the fashion spectrum. There’s no indication that Alyx’s thrill ride is stopping anytime soon.
What is Alyx?
Alyx is a fashion brand created by Matthew Williams.
Where is Alyx from?
Alyx is produced in Italy.
What does 1017 Alyx 9SM mean?
Founder Matthew Williams birthday is October 17, Alyx is his daughter’s name and 9SM is a reference to the brand’s first studio address in Saint Mark’s Place, New York City.