Instructor Spotlight: Daniel DeMatteo

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 

Teaching Philosophy:
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.”

Industry Experience:

  • 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:


 

Art of the In-Between

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!

Happy Creating!

– Ella

Introducing Precollege Blogger: Ella!

I am a New Yorker through and through. I love the city and hope to live here once I graduate from college. New York is a great place for people watching – yes, I am the person that stares for just a little too long on the subway. I observe what people wear as well as how clothing affects their movement. I enjoy thinking about how behavior and clothing are interconnected. In the future, I want to research the psychological effect of constrictive clothing on women.

Every summer from ages 11-15, I spent a week sewing costumes with my friend Ruby. I’ve always enjoyed reading classics, consequently, many of the costumes were inspired by books like Pride and Prejudice and Little Woman. This annual project taught me how to decipher patterns and how to understand the construction of different garments. As I grew older, my sewing evolved. I began sewing and designing clothing for everyday use and for special occasions. I am currently working on a crocheted crop top and short tube skirt to match. In addition to sewing, I dance, sing in a choir, and take karate classes. My interest in pattern making and sewing led me to FIT. I took an Intro to Draping class last year that broadened my understanding of how to construct patterns and of how fabric falls. This year I’m taking an Intro to Menswear Sewing class. I’ve only sewn woman’s clothing, and I chose this class to challenge myself. I’m also excited to gain experience using an industrial sewing machine. I always leave class bursting with new ideas. The FIT campus is an inspiring environment; creativity lives in the air. That is all for now. Spring is on the way, and another semester of precollege classes are off to a start. I look forward to blogging for all of you! Happy creating!

– Ella

The Working Man

Menswear, particularly men’s street wear, is something I find very interesting. I like looking at men and seeing the way they dress and what looks good on them. Construction workers in particular are a whole interesting group that deserve more attention than they get. They are gritty and dirty and real. Their clothes are a reflection of their work in the practicality of it. They seem to have their own definition of who they are. I don’t mean to talk about construction workers as a different species of human, it is a profession, and maybe to them it doesn’t define who they are. But in the same way you look at a group of business men and place a blanket statement over them, I look at construction workers and have something to say that I feel can apply to all of them.

Construction is everywhere in New York. The scaffolding in front of my school just came down a few months ago after being there for more than six years. Streets are being constantly torn up, facades of buildings being transformed, new ones being built. As much as the skyline seems to be constantly developing, one thing that never changes are the men who work on these projects. I’m talking about construction workers. We all know that Construction Workersfamous photograph of a group of young men hanging from the metal interior of a building hundreds of feet above the ground. The men in that picture fall somewhere between impossibly cool and utterly foolish.

Although the general uniform has changed over the years, the general feeling that construction workers carry throughout their respective eras has not. I see them every day on the subway, everyday on my way to school. They are rugged, like an urban lumberjack. During the winter you see them trapped in layers of sweatshirts and long underwear, and during the summer they strip down to t-shirts, showing their bare arms. Their hands are calloused and broken. Some carry strong and slim torsos, others hold a belly of beer. In a world and in a time when gender and sexuality and identity are all so subjective, I believe that when you look at a construction worker you are looking at a man. Back to the olden days of Cowboys and Indians and Clint Eastwood. I don’t mean to put a whole group of people in a box, I’m not saying that this the rule, or even the truth, this is just my truth.

Construction workers carry a sense of pride with them, you can see it in the way they hold themselves. They are confident. They know exactly what they are capable of, and have a sense of proficiency. Even if their job is cutting 2 by 4s or nailing two pieces of wood together, they know what they are doing. They look put together because they’re style comes out of necessity. They don’t necessarily care how they look, but they have to wear certain things just for the mechanics of their job. Tighter fitting clothes so as not to get in the way, but loose enough that they can work in them.

In fashion you can find inspiration literally everywhere. I find it in the diverse culture of the people around me. Maybe you can find it in the architecture of buildings or the delicate shape of flower petals. Whatever it is make it yours. Keep it close to you and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.

Sophia

 

Congratulations Noah!

NoahThomasCONGRATULATIONS TO NOAH THOMAS WHO WAS JUST ACCEPTED TO FIT THIS FALL 2014 FOR Menswear!

Courses taken in Precollege Programs include:
HAR 016  Creating the Fashion Figure
HMW 157  Introduction to Menswear Sewing

Were you accepted to FIT this fall too? We’d love to feature you on the blog as well!
Email: Marta_Regulski@fitnyc.edu for more information