Behind the seams with Sundry's founder Matthieu Leblan

Sundry has taken the UK by storm with it's chic simplistic silhouettes that combine Californian vibes with Southern French aesthetics. We caught up with the creative visionary behind the brand - owner Matthieu Leblan - to chat about inspiration behind the collection and what to expect in the new season.

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DI: Since we last spoke to you, what has happened in the world of Sundry?

Matthieu: We have been exceptionally busy here in California, the brand is growing up so fast!

We opened a pop-up store in our home town Venice, which is really a flagship for the brand. We designed the store with the brand mantra of French coast meets California beach as a clear aesthetic. We painted the outside like a french boathouse, planted dune grasses, and added the Sundry tricolor stripes. The interior is decorated with vintage nautical ropes, glass fishing floats and a salon wall of photos of my early childhood and family in the south of France. Stepping into the store is really like being on a seaside vacation. It celebrates color, escape, and all of the vibrant stripes and prints of our collection.

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We also launched a collaboration with Linus Bikes, our neighbours, who's bikes we have loved ever since they launched the brand. Here in Venice we all ride bikes to get around, it is a great community to do that, to ride to the beach to surf, to shop, or to go to friend's houses and barbecues. We designed an art bike on their classic model the Dutchi, painted with the Sundry tricolors. They're bold and a fun statement, and when I see them being ridden I love to think there is the French coast on the streets here in California.

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We introduced Sundry Brand Ambassadors to our followers and consumers. We have always been enamoured with our beautiful friends doing wonderful things, and we've been featuring them on our instagram (@sundryclothing) and on our blog bonjour.sundryclothing.com. Its been a privilege  to have glimpses into their lives, and see what occupies their time.

We also launched a kids capsule, which has been received so well. I didn't realize how easily good graphics can translate onto kids clothes, and of course we still use the best fabrics for them which makes a point of difference to many of the brands on the market.
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As you might know, travel is always dear to our heart, and we went recently to a little coastal surf village in Mexico, called Sayulita, that I have been going to for 15 years, to visit one of our Ambassadors, and to do a shoot amongst their amazingly colored buildings and beaches. Of course the fact that I got some great surf while there was a great bonus to the trip also.

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Personally I've been excited too as I shaped my first surfboard, which turned out beautifully, and I'm excited to shape some more when I have finished with the next collection.

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DI: What inspired the latest collection?

As usual the beach inspired me, I'm always intrigued by the coast and the colors as the sun changes axis on water, the shadows and the reflections spectrums. Sayulita colors and the way vibrant hand painted surfaces look in the tropics. Putting it all through my filter of French coastal classicism and California beach life and you can see how it all collides and blends.

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DI: How does your team go about designing a collection?

Matthieu: I start 2 seasons ahead thinking of the fabrics I want, and start searching from the fabric mills and developing with them fabrics that have the right drape and soft hand, and their ability for dyeing and how they show colors. Generally I have been filling my mood boards with pics that inspire me, from a little bit more modernist fashion, vintage seaside photos, and some of the items I've collected from the large thrift markets here in LA (the Rose Bowl and Santa Monica). My work on palette is paramount to the feel of Sundry, as I've always loved color, and the way it can affect mood and silhouette. Then its time to work  with the pattern and sample makers we have here in house, and we start making protos, fitting and assessing. We own our own dye house, print shop and laundry, so we are constantly testing fabrics, colors and prints, and have already got a good idea of the results we want for the season by the time we are putting fabrics into silhouettes.


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DI: What are your summer plans?

I just traveled back to Aix en Provence (France) to visit my family, and had a great reunion with my parents and sister and home... My next plans are to be holding the hand of my partner Joanne when we will welcome our first baby to the world in September.

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DI: Can you recommend your favourite places in LA?

I always love to surf 2nd point, at Malibu surfrider, or at the little beach here in Venice with our friends on  weekend mornings. Otherwise I like to go to my friend Benjamin Trigano's gallery M+B to see the shows he has on. We like to get some pastries from my friend Greg Blanc at Gjusta for brunch, he's the best at pastries that I know.

DI: What’s new for AW15?

We have reworked some of the classic french stripes, they are a foundation element to our brand, and each season its fun to see how classics can be reworked into modern. 

The velour, its incredibly soft and cosy, its grey heathered colors work with everything.

DI: Which style icon embodies the character of the brand?

I don't have an icon for the brand. I have always been inspired by my grandmother and mother however. My grandmother was always immaculately dressed, and I think my mother's ability to make beautiful clothes was something I always remember and I know that means I should too.

SHOP SUNDRY COLLECTION >

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