If you don’t already know Matt Sarafa, chances are you’ll probably be seeing his face and genderless fashion and accessories line around the globe. At only 19, he is quickly making a name for himself among fashion’s most elite. Before starting his fashion business, Matt was an avid Youtuber and starred on Lifetime’s premiere season of Project Runway Junior.
Sarafa fans and fashion lovers alike have helped his various lines sell out quickly on his website, simultaneously pushing him further into the whirlwind that is the fashion industry. Sarafa’s debut clothing line, Hot Me$$, is most well-known for its genderless quality, much like Jaden Smith’s clothing brand, MSFTSrepublic. Sarafa loves blurring the lines between gender because he sees confidence as the epitome of fashion. If you don’t feel good and confident, you shouldn’t be wearing it.
“I would describe my design aesthetic as edgy, urban, and badass, and I basically design for the person who really doesn’t care what other people think.”
This past Thursday, Sarafa added another impressive feat to his name, debuting his line, “ROLEPLAY,” at Hotel D’Evreux during Paris Fashion Week. Accessories Magazine spoke with Sarafa about his show and the future of genderless fashion. —Jamie Finnegan
Tell me a little bit about your belief in gender neutral fashion; is gender neutral clothing the future of fashion?
My personal style has always aired on the side of androgyny, and I love experimenting with the ideas of femininity and masculinity in my designs. I think it’s great that this style is catching on in the fashion industry and that more people are experimenting with androgynous fashion. Everyone should feel welcome to wear whatever they want as long as they feel good in it.
What did you learn about the fashion industry while debuting your line at Paris Fashion week among some of the world’s best designers?
I learned so much from my Paris Fashion Week show. As per usual, so much craziness went down behind the scenes and it was a big learning experience for me but overall, it was an incredible opportunity.
What is your go-to accessory and how does accessorizing change the way you think about designing your clothing pieces?
I love accessories so much because they can really take any outfit to a whole new level. Especially within these last few years, jewelry has been an indispensable part of every single outfit I wear. I’m a little biased, but my go-to accessory would have to be the rhinestone tennis bracelet from my jewelry line. It adds the perfect amount of luxury and bling, and I literally wear it all the time!
From Youtuber, to reality TV star, to college student, to entrepreneur, how do you balance all the complexities of your life while also creating successful fashion lines?
I honestly don’t know how I do it all! Fashion and my business are my true passions in life, but education is also so important to me. I’m the type of person where if I want something bad enough, I’ll fight tooth-and-nail to make it all work out. It’s definitely not easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What influence has LA had on your clothing and design aesthetic?
Growing up in LA has definitely shaped me as a designer. I get almost all of my materials from Downtown LA, and all my manufacturing is done there as well so I really have my finger on the pulse of the LA fashion world. Los Angeles is still trying to catch up with the highly esteemed fashion capitals like New York and Paris, and I hope that I will be a part of the LA fashion scene when it finally blows up.
What is are the ideas behind naming your accessory line “FAKE” and your new clothing line “ROLEPLAY.” The names seem pretty straight-to-the-point…is that the way you see fashion?
I like the names of my collections to be punchy, attention-grabbing, but simple at the same time. I’ve never really felt the need to have some elaborately boujee name and backstory to my lines. I prefer my work to speak for itself and be interpreted however the audience chooses to view it.
What ideas do you have for future accessory lines?
I’m such a huge fan of jewelry and accessories so I have a million different ideas for what I want to do next. I’ve been really loving the versatility of nice printed silk scarves/bandanas, so that might have to be next venture!
What was the reaction to your collection at PFW?
I think the reaction to ROLEPLAY was overwhelmingly positive! I had so many people come up to me after the show and via social media telling me how much they loved the collection and how I really outdid myself with this one! But at the end of the day, I was super happy with this line and that is what’s most important.