My first experience with Matthew was the Stüssy x Timberland campaign. That was before I had a modeling contract; I was just, like, an Instagram kid. They put me in there using this crazy 3D rendering thing that was super ahead for its time.
I really met Matthew in 2015 at a Hood by Air Show. He gave me my first Instagram name. He had called me the new "it boy" and so I made that my Instagram name for a second. He always thought I was tight, believed in me and fought with me. He always showed love, finding ways to include me in projects, or have me be part of his ideas or just hanging out. He definitely is one of my really, really good friends and my OG at the same time—I don't have too many OGs. He had just started to venture out at that time; he kept me updated with the times and what he's doing. When he first started ALYX, I was going to his little office on St. Marks, seeing him in New York or going to the #BEENTRILL# store. It was always super casual, but he definitely put me on to a lot of shit.
With Matt, it was never about no Instagram shit; he was never on some clout, he just thought I was a good kid. He just wanted to hang out, and have me be part of his stuff and be a part of whatever I'm doing. I had nothing going on at the time and he was just super supportive. He always showed love before anything that's happening now. Before the big campaigns, before the modeling contract, he was just a genuine, really, really nice dude. There are a lot of people that fake their interest in youth culture. There are only a few that are actually about it; there's only a few that give kids a platform and have the youth be a part of their shit instead of just stealing from the kids.
Matt’s brain moves a mile a minute. In a conversation, he'll accidentally give you three crazy ideas—we could just talk ideas, fashion history, art. He also knows a lot about weird technical stuff, and fabric and technology. He's super ahead.
There's multiple reasons why I wear ALYX. One, there's a high taste level to it; there's big attention to detail, he's not doing too much. He's not creating a brand that's just fucking putting graphics on tees and making things with exposed zippers. He really cares about the utility and technicality of things—as much as what it looks like. I really like that. He pays such close attention to the fabrics he uses, the cuts, the seams and the patterns. Some things are paint seamed. He's just very aware of what he's doing on almost every level, as part of the whole entire process. On top of being a creative director, he's a true designer.
There's plenty of designers that have ideas, present them to, like, a million people and when the finished product comes back they give the final "OK." That's fine; that's how a lot of things operate. That's how a lot of things have to operate depending on the scale of the brand. I'm not knocking that method. Matt doesn’t operate that way. He really spends all his time in Italy just working every single detail. It shows in the work!
He is really trying to do something with ALYX Visual and those three packs of T-shirts. Every one of those T-shirts saves roughly 1000 gallons of water. He's still trying to be eco-conscious about the whole shit. It's a great addition and it gives the brand even more of an identity. I love ALYX.
There was always a conversation: "What about your first show? Will you consider doing presentations?" He was going to do a presentation in New York and then ended up not really doing it because he didn't want to undersell himself, or do something mediocre in any shape or form. He just waited it out. I was honestly surprised his first show wasn't women [only] because ALYX started as a women's brand. Now, it's transcending into this unisex thing, but also very masculine. The men's line has become really strong.
The women's was always strong, because that was where it started and now the men's is catching up. People are going to catch on. I think he's been very, very underrated because he's not making things that people really want to see right now. His aesthetic is amazing. He's killing it, but that's not what people want to see right now. I think that’s fortunate, because he's looking ahead.
His accessory game is literally next level. If there's one thing people really, really like is the belts, the bags, the shoes. That's just killing it. He's killing the accessories. I just think now that he had a show, a bunch of people in the room—the press around it—people will be more aware and see that the clothes are also sick.
Now the whole thing with Nike, that gave him a platform. Even though it's under Matthew Williams, it still has that ALYX exoskeleton. It's really a 360-degree vision. He's looping it all back in, into one solid concept. You can't knock his brand right now; you couldn't if you tried.
I just think Matt is just a really down to Earth dude that cares about only what he really needs to care about. He's not in a scene, he's not in some extra shit, he minds his business, hangs out with his friends and supports his friends. I think that says a lot about his character, he just chills with his family in Italy. He works really hard. He's been working really hard for a very long time.
Anybody that really understands him—understands his history—this has all lead up to now. This is honestly just the beginning. He's been thinking, and using his brain and collecting information as much as putting out ideas in different medias and spectrums beyond clothes. From installations, to ideas, to graphics and even clothes working with McQueen and Gaga. Now, all of that information made him into the person he is—but he's still growing and still moving a mile a minute. At the end of the day, what's crazy about Matt is that he never changed at any point. He's the exact same person.
What's sick about Matt is that no matter how high up he gets, or no matter how fast things move, he always keeps the same pace. If that says anything to me, it says that he is prepared to have a long and lasting career, where he continues to evolve and iterate and innovate. I think that's super exciting for the future for him and his brand. That's why everybody loves him: He's not trying hard to fit in or be part of the scene. He laid the concrete on the floor, paving his own way and his own road. He's killing it.
-Luka Sabbat (Stylist, Model)