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Design Story

Matthew Williams, 1017 ALYX 9SM Alyx Creative Director

We met Matthew Williams, 1017 ALYX 9SM Creative Director in Paris ahead of his runway show for the presentation of the FW20 Collection. We talked about how he fuels his creativity and how our collaboration was born.

Beoplay E8 motion Alyx Edition

Can you tell a little about your thoughts on music and fashion - and how they play together?

To me music has always been really linked with fashion. I mean, I started really getting inspired by fashion by going out and seeing what people wore at clubs and concerts – to they had such a strong link. Each inspires the other equally. So, it’s hand in hand. To me music inspires my collection so much whether that’s songs, the people behind the songs, or the kids that go to the shows, and the same vice versa – it’s super closely linked. 

Where there certain music tracks or artists that inspire you the most?

It goes in waves over the years. There is always a different artist that I am inspired by. I’m inspired by rappers like Playboi Carti, and musicians like Morrissey from the Smiths, even Mick Jagger –there are so many to listen to and get inspired by. I also love Iggy Pop, he’s so cool.

Which kind of music did you listen to throughout the years, and how has changed your ways of designing clothes and your creative puzzles?

I was really lucky, because my father was really into music, so I’ve grown up between vinyl and playing records since I was a kid. So, it was everything from soul music, to blues, to rock and reggae – and then I got into rap music growing up in California in the 90’s. When I got to Europe for the first time, I got more exposed to techno. So, I have a super broad taste in my love for music. It goes in periods of which genres and artists I’m into, I’m always kind of switching between different styles. Right now, I’m really into Afropop. 

  • Matthew Williams
  • Matthew Williams holding the Alyx mini-bag

Watch the interview with Matthew below

In terms of the collab between Alyx and B&O how did it start and what are the synergies between those two things?

I met with the team at the Copenhagen fashion summit, and we really had a lot of shared visions. When that happens, the conversation becomes really fluid so our dialogue became really strong. I've always been a fan of B&O my entire life so it was just a dream to find a way to work on something together. I think definitely the synergies are craftsmanship with all the amazing finishes that you guys do with metal.  I also think that commitment to making products that are timeless and last forever are a quality that we share. 

Can you tell a little about the design process in terms of designing the Alyx Beoplay E8 motion in together with B&O?

We wanted to really merge the design language of both of our companies and I think that both Bang & Olufsen and Alyx are known for their work with metal, and anodizing and finishing. I felt that was a great way to link the two brands. We also added the graphic branding of our buckle on the case, which I think worked out really well. 

The iconic 1017 ALYX 9SM Buckle.

Alyx Buckle chain
Alyx buckle
Alyx logo

What is the buckle (Alyx iconic symbol) inspired by?

I mean, it has a double and triple entendre, but first, I just like it as an object and it's sculptural shape. The fact that it's made at a place that doesn't make things for fashion, I think, gives it an unseen value. I always remember this documentary where Stanley Kubrick talks about having clothes in the closets of rooms and scenes that nobody ever even sees, but there's this kind of unseen energy that makes its way into the screen through that. I feel the same way about the buckle being made in a way and at a place that's more mechanical with a company that makes engine parts. There is a weight and a sound to it that maybe somebody wouldn't know is why they gravitate to it, but their senses do. And then there’s the fact that I discovered it at six flags magic mountain when I was taking my family there. That's the place in California that you go for graduation or a birthday, or you might kiss a girl for the first time, or get over your fear of heights. So, it kind of represents for me, a place of transition, of being a child in your teen. I like that idea of transition and so it meant those things for me as well. 

Which role does the buckle in the collection?

I think the buckle is really like branding now, obviously we will make it functional as much as possible, but it's just like our logo at this point.

  • Matthew Williams portrait
  • Matthew Williams in his studio
  • Beoplay E8 Motion Alyx detail
  • Matthew Williams before the runway show

How would you describe the craftsmanship of your brand? How do you wave with different kinds of materials?

Well, the exciting thing about fashion is each category takes a lifetime to master, so we're always working and learning new things about shoes, knitwear, leather, tailoring, jersey, jewelry and the list goes on forever. So as we get better and more proficient in each process and build our language with certain materials, there become North Star goals that we really go for and sometimes those developments can take one, two, three years before they finally make their way in the collection. So, from a craftsmanship perspective we're constantly experimenting and trying things and they make their way into the collection when they can. I like to say that Alyx is modern craftsmanship. We use technology when we can or, we do with sustainability to create a new way of doing modern craft and I hope it's apparent when you touch and feel the clothes.

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