- Words and Photgraphy by Lia Crowe
Asked to describe his person style, Jason Matlo says, “Rock ‘n’ roll mixed with the 1970s. I gravitate towards clothes that have strong lines, bold silhouettes, sex and attitude. I like to look bold, to stand out in a crowd, and I am not that interested in appealing to the norm or conservative style of the masses. I don’t categorize clothing to a specific gender, so I wear whatever I want, regardless if it is men’s or women’s.”
I meet Jason in his beautiful condo and atelier, all cream and white, to chat life and style, and discover what he loves and what fires him up.
After graduating from design school, Jason entered a student design competition called the Smirnoff Fashion Awards. He received the top award and represented Canada in Berlin.
“This helped to launch my business, and in 2004 I started selling to retail boutiques within Canada and the United States. Over the years, our business model has shifted, and we now focus on creating bespoke one-of-a-kind garments directly for our clients, many of whom have been loyal supporters for many years.”
Jason tells me that it’s the creative process that fires him up the most about his career: working with his design assistants and clients to realize the collective vision.
“I also instruct fashion design and it’s exciting to mentor students and help them find their own voice.”
Asked what his best life lesson is, he says: “Be present in your life. Time is our most precious resource; it is not renewable, and you can’t get more of it at any cost. Rosalind Russell says it best in the film Auntie Mame— ‘Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.’”
Jason believes it’s his work ethic that has led to his success: “I have a great deal of focus and naked ambition.”
He adds, “Success is a matter of hanging on after everybody else has let go. I have been good at articulating my goals and working to achieve them.”
And how does Jason describe “good style?”
He says, “It’s a point of view. Being able to curate a personal style that works for you and confidently wear your clothes without being overpowered by them. The ability to create a focused and complete look from the shoe to the top of the head is an art form. Iris Apfel said, ‘Fashion you can buy, but style you possess. The key to style is learning who you are, which takes years. There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.’”
Favourite denim, brand and cut: Black skinny jean from ZARA (that I distressed with a bunch of rips).
Current go-to clothing item: Six-inch platform leather boots.
Currently coveting: Black ‘79 Corvette with tan interior.
Favourite pair of shoes: Black custom gladiator sandals.
Best new purchase: Rick Owens black flight jumpsuit.
Favourite day-bag: A big soft leather shoulder bag.
Accessory you spend the most money on: Jewellery.
Sunglasses: Yellow GUCCI sunglasses.
Scent: My own atelier brand scent that I created. It smells earthy and smoky and a bit like bourbon.
Necessary indulgence: Botox and filler.
Favourite skincare product: SHISEIDO Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Cream.
Favourite hair product: La Biosthetique Thickening Cream.
Style Inspirations & Life
Style icon: Tyrone Dylan Susman.
Favourite artist: Francis Bacon.
Piece of art: Francis Bacon’s Figure with Meat.
Favourite fashion designer or brand: Rick Owens.
Favourite musician: Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode.
Era of time that inspires your style: 1970s.
Film that inspires your style or that you just love the style of: A Star Is Born—the 1976 version.
Favourite local restaurant: Sashimiya.
Favourite cocktail or wine: Dom Perignon.
Album on current rotation: Lavascar.
Favourite city to visit: Tokyo.
Favourite app: Starbucks.
Favourite place in the whole world: Lanikai Beach, Hawaii.
Fave print magazine: National Geographic.
Fave style blog: Diet PRADA.
Last great read: Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade, by Patrick Dennis.
Book currently reading: Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, by Piper Kerman.
Favourite book of all time: Kiss and Make-Up, autobiography by Gene Simmons.
Jason Matlo’s designs can be found here matloatelier.com