Meet Mateo, the menswear designer who had once considered a career in acting.
Mateo graduated this year with a show-stopping collection that was sponsored by internationally renowned lace house, Sophie Hallette. He talks us through inspirations behind this years’ collection and the rush of a big show.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Colombia, grew up in Spain and have been in London for seven years now, so I’m a little bit from all over.
I would say my work is ever-changing, but always fun and expressive. Perhaps I’m not the kind of conceptual designer who differs on contemporary matters but more like the kind of designer to bring you a little bit of fun and joy with a collection.
Did you know right away what type of designer you wanted to be?
I started studying stuff like graphics, technical drawing, life drawing, even acting and humanities. When I first arrived in London, I thought acting was going to be my career but it changed, first into arts, experiencing textiles and then evolving into fashion.
I was always good at creating stuff, things like product design. I was also very good at anything related with computers (which now comes very handy with all the new technologies in the fashion industry).
Going to open days and doing a few summer courses offered at University of the Arts London (UAL) helped me to decide what to study. I found myself wanting to be a menswear designer.
What’s the best thing you’ve done so far?
Creating my graduate collection is probably my latest goal. The whole organisation of everything, from day one until the end – sketching, sourcing fabrics, arranging sponsorships, sewing stuff, making a thousand mistakes, meeting all kinds of creative people willing to help you on your way, models, photographers, make-up artists, stylists – it’s all an amazing journey.
“You feel proud of seeing something that comes from your mind becoming real and walking down a runway.”
What inspires you?
My graduate collection was inspired by Colombian narco culture during the 70/80s, I got obsessed with Danny Lyon’s photography and documentaries of the era. At the same time, I’ve explored that theme for too long now and I’m looking at new things to research; I sort of wish I could make another collection right after graduation.
I’m applying for the fashion MA at Central Saint Martins, I would like to continue creating my vision and to define myself better as a designer.
Follow Mateo on Instagram: @mvelasquezlargo
Find out more about the course Mateo studied: