Hailing from suburban Pennsylvania, Gallatin senior Matthew Russo came to NYU knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Russo’s experience derives from him being self-taught and self-driven. From taking extra classes at Parsons and FIT to matriculating in some of NYU’s more fashion-driven classes, such as Gallatin’s Practicum in Fashion Business and Stern’s Dynamics of the Fashion Industry Experiential Learning Seminar has been shaping his concentration in fashion design and entrepreneurship. With graduation on the horizon, Russo hopes to get a job at a fashion start-up while continuing to work on his line, Provenance.
Russo’s philosophy behind fashion design is like any design.
“If you understand art and you understand basic design principles then you can apply it to any understood medium,” said Russo.
He also draws inspiration from other designer’s lines, such as Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear of God, as well as his personal fashion taste. In Russo’s inaugural collection, trendy street wear meets formal wear. Think average button up gets an upgrade with a twist as the trite buttons are replaced with an unexpected zipper. All the fabrics are woven with close-to-no elasticity, giving way for a more structured look.
All of the designs from this line keep with Russo’s mission of conscious fashion. Russo does all the material sourcing himself and aims for all materials to be American-made. Russo works closely with the MCM Enterprise factory in Brooklyn and oversees the final products of his designs. All of the pieces are designed with an androgynous audience in mind and lack a bust. However, the pieces are all based on Russo’s body type, so the line is catered towards the male consumer.
As Russo reflects on the future of his own brand he can’t help but think about the future of the overall industry as well.
“I think brands will go to further lengths to create a unique experience for consumers. Just offering product is not enough. I think there will be less focus on individual distribution channels. Technology will become a more integral part of the industry, whether that’s through distribution or the fibers themselves. Conscious consumption will become a bigger aspect of the industry. Environmentally and ethically, the fashion industry is behind and needs to catch up.”
Provenance is currently just a side project for Russo as he seeks out sponsors and grants to raise more capital for his line. Over the next few years, Russo hopes to refine an overall aesthetic for the collection and have a clearer vision of his consumer audience. He plans on working in the industry for the next few years in hopes of raising capital to bring his brand to full fruition.