Making Dreams a Reality With Briana Shaneè Wilson of Matte Brand
If we could sum up Briana Shaneè Wilson in one sentence - she’s a woman of her word who gets sh*t done. When she was just 21, she promised herself she’d never work for someone else, and she hasn’t since. When she didn’t find the pieces she wanted for her wardrobe, she had them made, and made a brand of it. Her label Matte Brand is slowly taking the fashion world by storm for its deliciously minimal aesthetic, sophisticatedly sexy silhouettes and quality fabrics made right in the heart of downtown LA.
Obviously, one sentence isn’t enough to sum up this amazing BOSSBISH, so read on to learn more…
What sparked the idea to create Matte?
At the age of 21, I promised myself never to work for someone else again. With that mindset and having freshly moved to New York from Texas, I met a lot of different people that were making money different ways. I was really inspired by that. In Texas, people only make money having traditional jobs. I watched my boyfriend make money from his brand and one day, I just thought, I'm going to try this too.
Matte is all about complementing tones on the body and accenting silhouettes – care to elaborate? What do you take into consideration during the design process?
I'm always thinking about what I would personally like. If I feel like my closet is missing something or I become interested in a new style or trend, I design my version of it. I like to wear basics and I like monotone colors, so MATTE is naturally that. I also think basic colors are more wearable and stay in your closet longer.
How do you hope women feel when they put on one of your pieces?
A lot of MATTE pieces are bold. It's hard not to be noticed if you're wearing a full bodysuit, I think the girls that wear MATTE feel that. Also, the pieces are made with quality fabrics and construction so that they that can be worn over and over in a lot of ways. I hope that they feel very sexy, and that it becomes a staple piece worn forever.
What does Matte say about you?
I think MATTE says a lot of things about me. It's truly my baby - I've watched it grow from nothing. There are so many things I didn't know that I was capable of doing before I started this, and I've grown with it as well. MATTE says that Briana Wilson is a designer, stylist, creative director, but most of all a CEO.
You started Matte on your own and worked hard to get it to where it is today. What have been some of the hardest lessons you’ve learned along the way? And if you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
MATTE and I have had a very organic growth. I've learned a lot about myself, my friendships & business relationships, and I've learned about creating a garment! Though I think a lot of things have gone wrong, I think it was all necessary. There are definitely some things I will do differently moving forward, but I think everything in the past has taught me a lot and I've also still been very successful as a new business owner. I am just getting wiser.
Matte is known for its “not so basic, basics” – what makes Matte’s basics, not so basic?
They're sexy, that's the difference. My favorite example of that is the T leotard. Everyone owns a V-neck, but making it a leotard with a really low cut back (can't wear a bra) adds a lot of sex appeal to one of your everyday basics.
“I don't believe in changing your fate. I know that everything that's happened to me has been a stepping block to build me up.”
Every step of Matte takes place in downtown LA, from picking the fabrics to the construction of the garments. Why was it important for you to have your products made locally?
It was just what happened. I moved to LA from NY and set the goal to find a manufacturer here, I needed fabric so I went to a fabric store downtown. LA is one of the best places to produce in America, though, and is also way cheaper than NY, so I guess it was the universe moving me in this direction.
Where do you hope to see Matte in the near future?
I've been very successful with MATTE over these two start-up years and I just hope that it continues to grow at the rate it has been. It's interesting because the market is changing a lot; before, a brand might be interested in building a storefront or being carried in retailers, whereas now, direct to consumer is ideal! I'm not sure what the next big thing will be, but I would definitely like to see pop-ups in all the major cities that shop with me, just so everyone can see the clothes and their quality in person.
With all you’ve learnt over the past few years, what advice would you give to your younger self?
I don't believe in changing your fate. I know that everything that's happened to me has been a stepping block to build me up. I've been through a lot but it was all necessary. My younger self-was pretty smart! Before I got into MATTE I was very into reading and thinking, I adopted a lot of values during that time (around age 21), like believing in myself, and understanding universal law that I know helps me now.
If you’re not busy running Matte what would we find you doing?
Relaxing somehow. At a spa, a beach, or a nice restaurant.
What are three hidden gems in LA?
I love a good day at The Standard in one of their waterbed pods. You can chill in a water bed on a roof in Downtown LA and order food and drinks. Also, Korean spas! And I often drive through the hills and look at million dollar homes. I don't know if these are "hidden" gems, but you should indulge if you haven't.
Photos by: Belle The Queen