Social Encore: Bruening brings black back
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Matt Bruening is one of Oahu’s premier fashion designers and will launch Matte, his new spring/summer 2014 collection from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Manifest in Chinatown.
I sat down with the fashionisto and really wanted to find out where his creative journey was going and who he really is as a designer.
Born and raised in Makaha, he quickly admitted his road to a career in fashion was not typical. As a student at Waianae High School, he aspired to own a men’s clothing shop so he could provide Hawaii’s fashion scene with items that weren’t currently available. As he grew older, however, he became more interested in the details of producing different items. Why not learn the tricks of the trade within the fashion industry instead?
“I wanted to be a well-rounded person in the (fashion industry), whether it was buying and merchandising or owning a store,” Breuning said. “I thought, ‘Why not go the whole nine and learn design as well?’”
Having some background in sewing, he continued his education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in fashion and merchandising and really honing his craft. Looking at design as a “creative outlet,” Bruening decided to concentrate on the dominant market of women’s wear.
By the time he was 25 years old, he landed his first boutique feature and stars such as Lauryn Hill have worn his pieces. He also has collaborated with other local designers such as Sig Zane, Fighting Eel and Wonderland Honolulu.
Bruening’s new spring and summer line goes against the grain of what you would normally expect. Instead of designing from external influences, he said he wanted to start all over again and get back to the basics. With a small collection of minimal and classic cut pieces of 10, the garments feature subtle details that extenuate the back and/or legs.
“These are every everyday staples that everyone needs but can coexist in a wardrobe that they already have,” he said.
This season, expect pieces that are billowy and give a warped feel to them. On the other hand, there are a few pieces that are a lot more body-conscious to create a sportier look, creating a typical Matt Bruening-dressed girl who “likes to take risks and look good while doing them.”
When you look at Bruening’s past efforts, his ability to blur the lines of urban and island styling makes his pieces versatile. Going back to black allowed him to focus more on the shapes, silhouettes and styles that he enjoys designing. If you think that you are an urban girl who is kind of edgy, confident and well-traveled, you definitely want to check out this weekend’s event.
Partnering up with concierge-style service boutique Salt + Sand, ladies are able to book fitting consultations. Salt + Sand will show you how to style and embrace your womanly figure with Bruening’s new line along with other complementary pieces that the boutique carries.
“One of the small jerseys can be styled into a short dress, or you can add a tight pant to change up the look,” Bruening explained. “The ladies at Salt + Sand will teach you how to keep the same classic MB item but styling it according to the season and time.”
Giving the irony to launching an all black collection during the summer, Bruening said his line is a prelude of what is coming from him in the seasons to come. To tie into summer, people can also take a look at the fabrication of the line since the fabric of the new collection is made up of light rayon.
Bruening’s new pieces run from $50 to $250. There are limited slots available for personalized fitting sessions; email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your appointment.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.