Los Angeles is known for streetwear. The warm weather allows for T-shirts to be worn year-round, and the locals relaxed approach to living breeds a host of brands that are able to produce clothes with tongue-in-cheek references.
L.A. is where the beach vibes meet the grit of street culture, and the resulting gear presents some remarkably undeniable swag!
We are a Los Angeles based streetwear brand who is all about expressing love and inciting thought in an artistic way.
How did it start?
I've always been a huge fan of fashion. I wanting to launch my own brand for a few years now, but just did not know where to start. I had all of the initial designs completed but that was really the easy part. I knew nothing about dealing with manufacturers or distributors so a lot of time went into research along with trial and error.
What has been your favorite experience since launching?
I know this sounds cheesy but this whole experience has been great. It's very stressful at times but I can't see myself doing anything else.
What’s a typical day for you?
A typical day for me. First off I'm notorious for sending emails at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning, so usually the first thing I do in the morning is reply to the email responses. Then I check the orders/fulfillment to make sure everything is on time. The rest of the day consists of picking up where I left off the day before, whether that's a graphic design, experimenting with various fabrics or enhancing marketing strategies.
What is the biggest challenge you faced?
The biggest challenge I've faced so far was securing a quality manufacture. The process made me realize that money is not as valuable as we tend to think it is. When first starting out I had several of them declined my application stating that I was not established enough. I was not willing to sacrifice quality so I kept trying. I saw why so many people give up on their dreams, but quitting was not an option. My biggest challenge became my biggest accomplishment.
What’s your audience like?
Don Mateo appeals to fans of the streetwear culture as well as appreciators of art...People who are not afraid to think outside of the box and question things that exist around them.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Being a newer brand, our main focus right now is to build our fan base and create a presence within the fashion community. So far, we have been moderately successful in doing so via social media and our website, but there's always room for improvement and we look to improve year after year.
If you could style your favorite celebrity, who would it be and what would they wear from your collection?
If I could style one celebrity who would it be? Believe it or not, I would have to say Lady Gaga. I don't know, she just has this dope energy about her and she tends to not be afraid to push the boundaries of fashion. I would put her in one of our "free your heart" cropped hoodies and maybe a pair of high waisted jeans.
What's your favorite item?
My pieces are like children, I love them all "equally."
What are your favorite quotes?
"To find yourself, think for yourself." - Socrates
"If you believe, you shall achieve" -Panda
Do you have any shows or events coming up?
We may have something going on in LA this upcoming Spring, but that's the secret.
What would you tell anyone doubting themselves trying to pursue the same
Usually the largest hurdle, when it comes to following our dreams, is ourselves. We tend to believe that we are predestined to follow a path that has been set by the environment in which we were raised. If you feel that that path is not for you, then get out of your own way and follow your dreams. You never know, you may just surprise yourself.
Who inspires you?
In the fashion world, I'm inspired by the likes of Virgil Abloh, Rhuigi, Jerry Lorenzo and Pharrell.