Jamaican born jewelry designer doing big tings!

credit: mateonewyork.com
Just in case you haven't already heard, there is a new boss in town. Mateo New York, founded by Montego Bay, Jamaica native Matthew Harris is making huge leaps and bounds in the fashion world. I was casually watching an episode of Wendy Williams when Memsor Kamarake brought on Matthew as a guest. As soon as I heard his accent I knew something was up. Then my assumptions were finally confirmed when he said he was in fact Jamaican. Matthew had recently become a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist and was speaking about his amazing journey to get there. Since this interview, he has experienced enormous success and last I heard, Mateo had just finished a Vogue Magazine collab with supermodel Karlie Kloss.

A post shared by Mateo (@mateonewyork) on

 After migrating to the U.S. at the age of 16, Matthew completed his studies and earned his B.S. in Hospitality Management from Southern New Hampshire University.  While in New York, he spent some time in the jewelry district and decided to pursue his passion to become a designer in the big city. I can only imagine how frightening and at the same time absolutely thrilling that must have been for him. After years of hard work honing his skills, Matthew opened his company, Mateo New York, in 2009.

credit: mateonewyork.com

credit: mateonewyork.com

credit: mateonewyork.com
I know many of my fellow Jamaicans can remember the summer months right before school when their mother would take them to the seamstress to get measured for their new uniform. I would always see the child of the seamstress sitting obediently by their mother's side, and if they were close enough to my age, would strike up a light-hearted conversation (I get my social skills from my grandmother). When I found out Matthew's mother was a seamstress, I immediately felt a strong sense of nostalgia and I couldn't help but wonder if he ever sat by his mother's side while she meticulously measured and constructed beautiful garments for her clients. This is clearly where he developed his love for fine detail and creativity.

A post shared by Mateo (@mateonewyork) on

During his interview with Memsor, Matthew mentioned his use of the Jamaican flag colors in his designs. One glance at his work will prove this to be very true. Velvety black onyx, silky green malachite, and 14k gold make appearances throughout his collection. Another huge ingredient repeatedly used in his work are pearls. And I can't help but feel they are his way of paying homage to the warm, Caribbean sea in which his island comfortably rests. His designs showcase clean, strong geometric lines and curves. At times they seem to be performing gravity-defying balancing acts in the case of his mobile designs (reminiscent of Alexander Calder's mobile art). He has even begun creating elegantly structured handbags. As soon as I saw his line of bags I knew I just had to have The Madeline bucket bag, as well as The Elizabeth. His bags reminded me of the ones you'd see the church mothers carrying with pride as they showcased their Sunday best. I believe these pieces are the embodiment of a timeless elegance that will serve any look for years to come.

A post shared by Mateo (@mateonewyork) on


Mateo New York has caught the attention of top-name celebrities including Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, Kelly Rowland, and Solange, and has been popping up in magazines such as Bazaar, Elle, and Vogue (just to name a few). I believe Matthew's company will continue growing and experience huge success. I know once his fellow Jamaican's catch wind of him, he'll have an overwhelming influx of support.

I end by saying in typical Jamaican patois: Big up yuself, Matthew! We proud a yuh and yuh a do big tings my yute! Now to get Usain and Davina to wear some of these pieces ;)

Love,
Ruseberry

No comments:

Post a Comment