I visited Alyx’s showroom in Paris back in January and—frankly—I’d like to go on record saying it is one of the coolest men’s collections I saw this season, if not the coolest. Maybe I’m biased because the brand represents exactly how I’m dressing at the moment: A blend of technicality, utility, innovation and updates on classic men’s styles that hint at something futuristic. Any of these pieces would live perfectly in the Blade Runner universe (and they have—unfortunately I can’t find a photo on the internet but in Blade Runner 2049, Mariette wears Alyx Tank Boots), for example; a world not far off from our own, full of stimulation, corruption and extreme technological advances.

I’d like to think that, as our world continues to change rapidly around us, we’ll continue to innovate on the clothing we wear. We’ve gotten to a place that’s graphically “heavy”—centering on a lot of clothing that is more filler than substance. If anything, clothes today feel like they were drawn up with a trend-report in mind; there’s less focus on talent and emotion. Matthew Williams is out to create clothing with feeling and passion in mind. All that said, Just as with people, I’m attracted to authenticity. So the same goes for clothing. I like to know a brand is being crafted without an ulterior motive, or at least one that is not solely commercially driven). With my visit to the showroom swimming in my mind (scope the photographs from the space above), I had a quick conversation with Williams about his new collection and what Alyx means to him.

One word that comes to mind when I think of Alyx is “technical.” I know you have a meticulous process when it comes to fabric selection and design. Where does that need for technicality come from? How do you develop your accessories? They’re quite unique, but also utilitarian in nature.

I am really fascinated by unique fabrication and technical materials. I love fabrics that have both a story and a purpose. For instance, this season we used a Dyneema fabric, which is the strongest fabric in the world. We see the fibers used to build suspension bridges. It can stop bullets and knives and it’s used a lot in protective garments, whether in the military or police forces. We were able to use this fabric to create a detachable vest for our Mackintosh collaboration. In this way we are able to honor the fabric’s function but also repurpose it completely. There is so much technology and advances in fabrication these days and I love exploring these concepts and developing them further to incorporate into the world of Alyx.

There are plenty of descriptors for your brand from various online sources, like show reviews and blog posts. People love Alyx, but I’d like to know how you’d describe the brand. Thinking on that, who is the Alyx customer?

For me, the menswear collection represents my ideal wardrobe. I look to create the pieces that I would want to wear over and over and keep in my closet forever. In this way, the collection has a lot of personal energy and emotion and I think that that reads in the clothing and appeals to the customers.

What drives you to create new collections for Alyx? Do you think something is missing from fashion as it currently stands?

I want to create emotional clothing. More authentic emotional clothing brands. Less data driven design decisions. More design from instinct.

Speaking of fashion as it currently stands, the calendar is pretty relentless. How do you keep up with the speed of the typical calendar?

The fashion calendar is always something that we are trying to keep up with. Going forward we are going to show only main collections, with mens and womens being shown together. Our goal as a brand is to make quality product that has a voice. I would rather take the time to make something that has purpose for me and deserves to be made.

Was the intention always to start with women’s and develop a men’s collection after, or was that more of an unconscious decision?

Yes, that was always the plan.

Noting the piece about your label in The New York Times, and chronicling your production in Italy, how has working in Italy affected your work and the evolution of the brand? Has it affected this current collection at all?

It has been so great to be able to work and develop the clothing in Italy. The craftsmanship is the best in the world in my opinion. I have been able to work first hand with our suppliers and factories and develop a lot of custom hardware and fabrics. There is also an amazing culture and lifestyle there that has definitely informed both my work and personal being.

It’s a generic question but one I have to ask—where does this inspiration for this season come from? How often do your Californian roots inform your work?

This season revolves a lot around making the pieces I feel represent Alyx better and better each season through fabric development and special treatments. Some of the key pieces include garment dyed puffers, digital print camo, silk nylons and Japanese membrane linings with taped seams—to name a few. Incorporating these ideas and developments into the previously established world of Alyx have really helped to define and inform this collection. As far as my inspiration and childhood, these aspects always inspire my work, consciously or not. They are a part of me and have defined me as a person and so they will always be present in my creations.

Tags: paris-fashion-week, paris, alyx, alyx-studios