Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Toronto-based fashion designer Amanda Matthews, who debuted her Amanda Maria Fashion fall-winter collection at New York Fashion Week this past Valentine’s Day. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her work and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I get to dream and bring my dreams into reality. I work my butt off to translate an image in my mind into a tangible thing I can market.
What was the inspiration for your career route?
This was a total natural decision for me. When I was really young I would cut up my bed sheets and tie them around my sisters trying to make clothing before I even knew what fashion was. I would stage Barbie photo shoots and print mini magazines inn my spare time. So for me there wasn’t really another option.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
There are so many things that have meant a lot to me thus far, but if I had to choose one thing NYFW would be up there. My show was on Feb. 14th. Launching the business, I had NYFW in my five-year plan. Getting invited to show and then showing within a year and a half was a great feeling.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I really hope to be an international brand. I am going to remain Made in Canada but hope to tap into many international markets for distribution. I am eager to spread my comfortable fashion to women around the world.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Passion! And a plan. If it’s not your passion and what you need to do, it’s going to be very challenging for you. There is no one waiting for you to show up for work; you are work, you have to make it happen. Make a plan – something you can follow and work towards to keep you focused everyday.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I have been fortunate to participate in charity functions that tie in fashion. I participate in Power of the Purse, which raises money at every event for different charities. Also, Hospice events. This is great for me because it keeps me involved in the community and I can be a part of something with my passion that gives back.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Well, an ongoing challenge is brand awareness. Being a newbee, it’s a lot of work just getting eyes on you when there is so much happening in this dynamic industry. I just keep pushing and really marching to my own drum, trying new things and listening to my clients.
What does the word notable mean to you?
There are so many young, talented fashion professionals; for me to be recognized for something I absolutely love to do is a great feeling. It gives me even more motivation and excitement when working locally.
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Oh my gosh, I’m such a foodie… this question is hard. Things I’m craving now: Fresh; I could eat their squash tacos every day. A more intimate setting with the wine aspect, I love the atmosphere at Weslodge, as well as their menu.
What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
WGSN and Revolve clothing. Chet Faker’s ‘Into You’ remix by Skala – my NYFW runway song.
Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
Oliver Rousteing. He’s so young; for fashion lovers, he is very inspiring.
What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Anguilla. I love going there! It is so tranquil and stunning. My next trip is either back to Europe, to London, or the BVI in July. I may be participating in a fashion show there.
What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Different fashion events! There are so many cool ones I can participate in; FOMO has me working for those deadlines.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
When starting the business I sunk a lot into a website that didn’t fit what I needed. It wasted a large bit of money. You learn from your mistakes in business! I wish I used it towards another goal of mine: Coterie.
And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Super cliché, but it’s love, happiness, the ability to travel when I have the urge. Another huge thing for me is having the means to produce eco-friendly textiles and garments in the long run. I want to have a positive imprint on the environment in fashion.