The second ever London Collections: Men marks Alex Mattsson’s first time with an on-schedule sales and exhibition platform with The British Fashion Council, and this season Red Bull Catwalk Studio Project have helped him team up with Zebra Katz to produce a unique new track especially for the occasion. Alex Mattsson of course, the Gothenburg born RCA graduate known for his futuristic tendencies and biker culture inspired designs. And Zebra Katz, aka Ojay Morgan, the musical toast of Paris Fashion Week after Rick Owens chose his song ‘Ima Read’ to score his aw12 womenswear show.
Produced at Red Bull Catwalk Studio Project HQ near London Bridge, the track will be debuted alongside Alex’s AW13 collection on January 7th, before being made available as a download the following day; Mattsson’s presentation on the 7th will also see Zebra Katz and Njena Reddd Foxxx-she of the female prowess on Ima Read-perform the track live.
We caught up with Ojay and Alex in-between slices of pizza and cans of Red Bull…
So did either of you have aspirations in the other’s field? ‘I can say I definitely did,’ replies Ojay. ‘I moved to New York with aspirations of becoming a designer, but it didn’t necessarily go that way, which I wasn’t that upset about. I had to keep living, you know, so I just decided to go back to performance studies and acting’ And now? ‘Now it’s kinda this weird parallel and it’s pretty good. Working with designers like Alex, Rick Owens, Camilla Skovgaard it’s great. It’s really fun to extend something out from just a laptop computer to visuals to start expanding clothing.’
Despite having a play on both the drums and guitar while waiting for Ojay to join us, Alex has always been drawn to fashion. ‘Well I was obviously into music, but when it came to clothes, I guess I’ve always had an interest for it. I didn’t know what fashion actually was about but I knew that I liked clothes so I just sort of came here on a whim eight years ago.’ First for his BA at Rochester then following that with an MA at the Royal College of Art, where he says he really grew up. ‘It sort of spiraled, and that was where I had an insane reality check with what I was actually choosing to do, ‘cause on your BA there’s so many people on your course, you don’t really stand out, but when there’s much fewer people they focus a lot more on you. It’s so much harder work and you realise what you’re really getting yourself into.’
Despite the pressure he enjoyed himself and gave in to the physical work that was required; ‘I sort of lost this angst through college and that’s when I started becoming productive.’ And now his name’s on the BFC’s website. ‘Yeah that has been a goal for me for the last two and a half years, it’s been my thing, that’s what I wanted to do. I guess it’s a bit of an anti-climax but at the same time it’s amazing.’
On the subject of each other’s work, Ojay notes the masculine play on femininity, the use of leather and the aesthetic as attractions to Alex’s pieces, while for Alex Ojay’s music is all about the attitude, ‘it’s pure attitude!’. Prior to hitting the studio a mood pdf was sent round with Alex’s AW13 inspirations-forties California, zoot suits, modern Latino America-and from this Ojay turned his thoughts to the presentation.
‘It’s a presentation not a runway, so it has to have a pace, and people aren’t going to be walking to it but it will be placed. I wanted the track to move around and through them so I wanted it to be fluid but also really repetitive ‘cause they’re not doing much, you know. So the beats I sent (Alex) are just three samples, one was like very runway-like people would say I’ma Read was, the second one was a much quicker beat and it had a lot of other elements too.’ ‘Sort of disco,’ echoes Alex. ‘Yeah, it was up-tempo, and the one we actually decided to go with was a mid tempo, it’s like this Arabian Mario brothers type of feel. I think the attitude of the collection and the mood board is just cool, you know it has that swagger, it’s that attitude and that’s what I try to have with the lyrics.’
‘Bass is very important to me and this song has one of the best basslines,’ confirms Alex.
You’ve been told.
Words: Zoe Whitfield
Photos of Alex's studio: Sam Bayliss-Ibram