As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Justina McKee is the Founder of Matte Collection.
Matte Collection, is a fashion and swimwear brand based out of Atlanta, Georgia. Operating under the guiding philosophy of ‘for women, by women,’ the founding idea behind Matte Collection is that every woman deserves to look and feel their best without having to spend too much money on clothes, and the company believes that embracing a clean, simple, minimalist look is the best way to accomplish this goal.
Since its creation, with the support of its designers, staff, and beloved customers, Matte Collection has experienced massive growth, even crossing over into multiple major international markets. The company prides itself on being forward-thinking and keeping the body, shape, and style of every woman at the forefront of both its clothing designs and its way of conducting business.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
My up-close experience with entrepreneurship came as a young woman, watching my grandmother run multiple businesses. When I wanted to pursue my first business venture, I went to her, and she gifted me with a space.
When and how did it all begin?
It began in my 20s when I decided to open a clothing boutique. I have always been into fashion, and since my grandmother gifted me space to utilize for my first entrepreneurial venture, I was able to get my feet wet in retail and fashion simultaneously.
What is it you like best about being a fashion designer?
I love being able to stay on top of trends for all body types. The most recent thing I am proud of is my body positivity/confidence campaign with my swimsuit line. In April, we had a really nice experience with a group of new models of all shapes, sizes, and creeds. It was beautiful to see all of my designs in women’s sizes – extra small to double X. It brings me joy to be able to provide something that every woman from every walk of life can enjoy and feel beautiful in.
Creative expression can take many forms; what made you decide to start your own fashion brand?
It was always a dream of my mine to have my own brand. I was always into fashion, but I wanted to make it accessible to the everyday woman.
What, according to you, is a favorite part of being a fashion designer?
Creating looks and seeing them down the runway is a feeling like no other. I also enjoy seeing people in my swimwear be confident and happy. I also appreciate the fact that I design very high-quality garments at an affordable rate. That has always been my goal… Luxury that doesn’t break the bank.
Your collections are always quite influenced by the colors of the season. Why is this the way you design?
Color is king! When you walk into a space, you want to make a statement… At least I do. I believe that everyone feels a bit bolder when they’re wearing bold colors because the world would be no fun if it were full of beige clothes.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is a creative outlet for me. I enjoy designing and creating new looks. Fashion is never boring!
Are there any types of clothing that you avoid wearing?
No, I’m willing to take a chance on anything fashion-wise. If it doesn’t work, I know to retire the look, but if it does, that’s a plus!
What do you think about work ethics, and what kind of ethics you believe in following while working with fashion?
Having a good work ethic is very important. We operate in excellence every day in all departments. From shipping and receiving to customer service right to the design room, we always put our best foot forward. also, from a leadership perspective, I believe you have to treat others like you would want to be treated.
Do you wear your own designs?
Of course! I only design clothing I would want to wear myself.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I see myself expanding my brand and opening more brick-and-mortar stores. We currently have one in Atlanta but I would love to expand to more cities.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would say my personal style is very chic and minimalistic. I love a clean neutral look.
What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Social Media plays a huge role in fashion. I get to share my looks and campaigns over Instagram and Facebook. I’ve also seen the impact when celebrities wear our swimwear. It’s amazing!
There’s so much pressure for designers to come out with their greatest collection season after season. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out and hoping to make it in the industry?
I would advise young designers to design from the bottom of their hearts. Blocking out noise and other people’s opinions is the best thing you can do when designing a new collection. If you are creative, the designs will flow.
Everyone has their own design process and everyone should stay true to what has always worked for them.