This week, we introduced the four finalists in the running for The Cultivate Awards Year II Grande Prize. The Cultivate Awards will air on April 23rd, and the four finalists chosen by a panel of notable judges and guided by a celebrity mentor will showcase their work in hopes of winning the $10,000 prize and the opportunity to have a capsule collection with ELOQUII!
Before the LIVE event, we wanted you to get to know each of our finalists better! Of course, you’ve already learned about finalist Angela Rene’, Charniece White, and Le’Andra Dove, so today, we will be spotlighting Matthew Robinson of Matthew Paul Robinson!
The Cultivate Awards Finalist Spotlight: Matthew Robinson
Fashion has been a part of Matthew Robinson’s life for as long as he can remember. He recalls noticing people’s style since he was a kid. Almost as if his eyes had a special [fashion] function. So, at 13, when he designed his first dress while laying on his parents’ living room floor… that’s when he knew fashion was his calling!
In the 10th grade, Matthew started designing prom dresses for girls at his school. He would hold consultations between classes – and sometimes during class – then go home to work on a sketch. Once the sketch was finalized, these classmates turned clients would take the drawings to the seamstresses to bring them to life.
Matthew went on to study fashion design at El Camino College in Torrance, California and earned an Associate of Art. He later transferred to San Francisco State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Design and Merchandising.
In 2017, Matthew participated in Full Figured Fashion Week, presenting his first collection. The collection, “Part One: Color Block,” was released in January 2018. Receiving positive feedback from FFFW inspired him to establish his current company.
At Matthew Paul Robinson Inc., he creates clothing that his customers will want to wear for years. The focus is on excellent fit, playful colors, sexy silhouettes, and ease of movement.
Get To Know The Cultivate Awards Finalists, In Their Own Words
What inspired you to become a designer?
“I believe fashion found me. As a kid, I was fascinated with what people wore and with fashion I saw on TV. I designed my first dress without the intention of designing a dress. I was sketching as I always had one day, and I just started designing a dress.”
Where do you pull inspiration from?
“Inspiration is all around me. I keep my eyes open, and I try to be aware of the people and things that I pass by. I’m that [crazy] person who will stop someone on the street to tell them they look fabulous. Art, movies, and television are also huge inspirations.”
Are there any designers that inspire you?
“I really love Amy Smilovic of Tibi, Raf Simons, and Miuccia Prada.”
What do you feel the fashion industry is missing?
“I think the fashion industry is missing extended sizes in-store. The customers exist! Plus size people want to spend their money but often have to wait 2-3 days for delivery. Having extended sizes available in-store would be great for the stores’ bottom lines. Also, there needs to be more luxury products available in extended sizes. Not just clothing but accessories and jewelry.”
How would you describe your personal style?
“Simple. All American. Jeans, a sweater or t-shirt and a pair of boots. I switch out to summer oxfords when the weather is warm. I have a uniform. I admire Fran Lebowitz’s style. So, that’s who I look to for my personal aesthetic.”
What do you feel makes your designs stand out from other designers?
“My designs stand out because of the perfect fit, quality of fabrics, and vibrant colors.”
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your brand?
“The biggest lesson I learned is that I have to go at my own pace, and I should have started slower. I was in a hurry to look like the big brands, and it wasn’t the smartest move.”
Don’t forget to RSVP to the live event!