Liverpool John Moores University fashion student, Matthew O’Brien, has been named Britain’s Top Designer in a prestigious nationwide competition.
The contest was a six-month process in which Matthew had to submit portfolios, undergo questions from judges and showcase his designs on the catwalk, and Matthew, 22, walked away with the top prize.
He told JMU Journalism: “It feels amazing; to know all my hard work has paid off.”
After having lived in both London and Merseyside, Matthew described Liverpool as a “mini London” stating that living in the city is quite inspirational. He said: “The feel of this city has probably transpired into how I design as well.
“Everyone always says that you have to be in London to be successful in fashion, and that might be true, but I have to go against the grain and say you don’t have to be.”
Matthew has been interested in fashion from a young age and always knew it was something he’d want to go into. He said: “I wanted to wear clothes that I’d designed and what I liked and found people saying ‘Oh, that’s nice, where did you get that from?’”
The newly-named King of the Catwalk knew he had an eye for something but had no idea he would “go full blown into fashion”.
When asked about his personal style Matthew described it as “quite simple but smart”. He says he prefers to shop in places like Zara or online and individual boutiques, due to his distaste for wearing something that everyone else is. Matthew also makes his own clothes and wears garments from his clothing label, Mang, which focuses on menswear.
When it came for him to start his degree in fashion, he believed he would have to leave his other passion for electronics behind. However, when he realised he could embed electronics in fashion in a tasteful way, he got the nickname of the ‘Geek in Fashion’ during the Britain’s Top Designer competition. He said: “I thought I’d adopt that title as it’s quite true to be honest.”
In the competitions he has entered Matthew has always been the youngest and the only one who hasn’t yet passed their degree. Matthew was also a standby contestant in Rihanna’s TV show, ‘Styled to Rock’.
During the stages of the show Matthew met Rihanna and showed her some garments and his portfolio, and the singer said they were amazing and she would be happy to wear any of his garments. Matthew believes the show was a learning curve for him and prepared him for the Britain’s Top Designer contest.
Matthew’s aim is to carry on with his degree at LJMU and to get wider exposure in the fashion world, in order to try to get into as many magazines as possible and gain funding for future designs.
When asked about his success, Matthew told JMU Journalism: “It’s just because I’ve gone out and grabbed every opportunity and it’s definitely put me up there with other designers that are achieving at the moment.”