Photo by Marta Regulski
Our dreams and true destinies are within reach when we have the courage to embrace them. Dan’s innate creativity and compelling individualism were overshadowed by hard times that lasted through his adolescence. He lost sight of his destino vero — or true destiny.
One day as he walked by the Fashion Institute of Technology, he caught a glimpse of the destiny before him, it was time to embrace his greatest skills. After creating a design portfolio in one night, FIT found his work so compelling they offered him a space in their Menswear Design program. Despite no previous apparel experience, he quickly moved to the top of his class and was hired by Nicole Miller while still attending the Fashion Institute of Technology.
For over 20 years, Dan made his way through every corner of the fashion industry — and the globe. He conquered design, merchandising, sourcing and beyond for marquee brands and boutiques alike while learning from their successes and failures. Then after years of incubation, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand, Destino Vero, in 2012.
Daniel DeMatteo Teaches:
HMW 157 Intro to menswear Sewing
I take great pride in teaching the next generation of designers, tastemakers and creatives. In my class I focus on the importance of sharpening the students’ skills, leading by example, encouraging a strong work ethic while infusing a sharp attention to detail. I provide my students with a unique, “on the job experience,” that parallels the fashion industry’s demands and helps to ensure future success. I have always said, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. Quality is a parallel to integrity, especially in fashion.”
- In 2012, Dan launched his own clothing company and brand, Destino Vero
- GQ Magazine-Bombay Sapphire exhibition, “New Designer of the Year” award ceremony
- Day for Night exhibition, Menswear design award
- Italian Trade Commission Exhibition award, Daniel was sent to study and work in Prato, Italy
- FIT Outstanding Menswear Student Achievement Award, Daniel was sent to study in Paris, France
Work by Daniel DeMatteo:
This week, I went to the new fashion exhibit, Art of the In-Between, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibit showed work by fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons, which translates to “as the boys”. Rei Kawakubo studied fine arts and aesthetics at Keio University in Tokyo, but she does not have a traditional fashion education. She began by designing clothes for women and later began designing men’s clothing as well. She focuses on mobility and comfort in her designs.
Rei Kawakubo challenges our western definition of beauty. When you walk into the exhibit, the first garments that you see are these red dresses. The cloth is wrapped and layered in such a way that there are large lumps that distort the figure. I immediately noticed how this strayed from the traditional hourglass figure one sees accentuated in a majority of woman’s couture. Rei’s designs each have a unique shape that has nothing to do with highlighting one’s physical features. They are works of art that happen to be wearable. Rei once said,“For something to be beautiful, it doesn’t have to be pretty.” This is exactly what I observed. Every garment I saw had beauty and power, but none of them were pretty. “Beauty is whatever one thinks is beautiful.” – Rei Kawakubo, I agree that beauty is subjective, and everyone has a unique definition of what beauty means. Art of the In-Between made me think about my own definitions of beauty and how beauty is sometimes inexplicable.
Since I am taking a menswear class, I noticed her use of men’s clothing. There were multiple garments that she had created by cutting up suits and reconfiguring them. After being disassembled, the garments no longer seemed to have genders. I enjoy observing how designers combine men and woman’s couture. I myself want to experiment using classic men’s suit jacket collars in woman’s clothing.
I also noticed her use of fabric and color. She used a lot of blacks, reds, pinks, and whites which seemed influenced by classic European styles. I also was reminded of Victorian era dresses by a few of the garments. I think this was due to their heavy and luxurious fabric.
The exhibit will be open until September 4, so I encourage you all to go check it out for yourselves!
So, I feel a little left behind. Last week was my sweet 16 and I went to Disney World. It was super duper fun because I’ve never been there before and I got to see my relatives that live in North Carolina. (My cousin Meredith and I are BFFs!) Unforch, I had to miss a class. I hope I can get caught up. School is still crazy boring and I get to much work. I can’t wait to be done…
My family has been supportive of me taking these classes, although I am my #1 motivator. My aunt Joan is really proud that I’m on my 4th class. I know my dad wants me to be on the business side of fashion rather than design because he thinks it’s the safer route. I’m more into being a designer. I still kind of split though between a buyer, designer, and a stylist. (Rachel Zoe truly inspires me since I recently began watching the Rachel Zoe Project.) A designer is interesting because you make your dream wardrobe (hopefully) and a buyer is an interesting career because you have the power to pick what people are going to be wearing and you also get to travel, which is something I really want to do. How about you guys – are your families supportive?