Local fashion designer Matthew Richmond tells SEEN about his process for creating dresses from unique materials, where he finds inspiration and some of his favorite local spots.
By Rachel Schostak
Matthew Richmond has been creating avant garde fashion for over 10 years. Based in Metro Detroit, his inspiration stemmed from classic sitcoms and mid-century couture. Car parts, paper, plastic and VHS tape are just a few of the materials he uses in his unconventional designs. Read about his brand The Paper Dress Code in SEEN’s June Art Issue. Richmond, a Hazel Park resident, shares more in our 20 questions below!
1. Tell us more about The Paper Dress Code. In 2010, I established The Paper Dress Code. My award-winning designs have been featured by the likes of Italian & British Vogue, CNN, Live Nation and DIFFA along with celebrities Cindy Crawford and Nigel Barker. Recently, I have been speaking at the College for Creative Studies with young designers about designing unconventionally.
2. How did you get started in design? Accidentally! I grew up in a very creative family so I think this would have been my start. However, dress design happened accidentally.
3. What inspired you to create the paper dress? I’ve always been a fan of fashion. So I think my creative upbringing helped with the first dress I created. I combined different papers together and draped a dress that even surprised myself! It had this futuristic “Judy Jetson” feel to it. This was over 11 years ago. Before that I had never seen anything like this. Where now you can Google “paper dress” and find them everywhere.
4. Can you share some of the types of dresses you have created for companies or collaborations? We love the one in our office! I’ve created dresses for Aveda out of upcycled material from their packaging and signage. Little Caesars had me create a dress out of their crazy bread bags. I also get the pleasure of creating dresses for Art Van Furniture. I recently collaborated with international graffiti artist Antonio “Shades” Agee where he tagged a dress I created.
5. Weirdest/coolest material you have ever used to make a dress? VHS tape is the weirdest material I’ve worked with, but the dresses looked gorgeous!
6. What is your biggest accomplishment in your career thus far? For me, having steady commissioned work is a nice accomplishment. But honestly, the connections I have made with people and the opportunities I have been given are all a factor.
7. What goals do you have for the company in the next five years? In the next five years I would like to continue growing with my existing clients while gaining new ones. I’m always looking for new unconventional materials to create with as well!
8. Who would be your dream collaboration or who would you want to create a paper dress for? My list of people to create a special dress for is too long! However, I’d love to design a mother-daughter dress for Cindy Crawford and her daughter Kaia Gerber.
9. Where do you find inspiration? I love old Hollywood glamour mixed with modern/futuristic.
In regards to your style…
10. One word to describe your style? Unconventional.
11. Where do you enjoy shopping locally? For me, I love to mix and match. I love a little old and a little new. I enjoy hitting up any of the area thrift stores for unique or classic pieces. And Revive in Birmingham to stay on trend.
12. You can never leave home without? My phone!
13. You’re never fully dressed without? A good moisturizer.
14. Regular watch or Apple Watch? Neither, I love watches and if I had to choose I’d go with a classic Rolex! But I can’t stand jewelry on my wrists. I feel constricted.
Now onto some local love…
15. Do you have a favorite spot or city in Michigan? I love Belle Isle!
16. Your go-to for coffee? Not to be cliche, but I do love me some Starbucks! However, Chazzano Coffee is AMAZING!
18. When not working, where can we find you? Hanging with friends and meeting new ones. I’ve recently got into photography so you may find me out and about shooting somewhere.
19. Do you have a favorite museum in Metro Detroit? I love the DIA! And I do find the Detroit Historical Museum very charming.
20. Favorite quote or your own personal words to live by? You never look good trying to make someone else look bad.