Style File: Jessica Matthews from Summers the Label

Style File Jessica Matthews from Summers the Label

Designer Jessica Matthews from Summers the Label. Image supplied.

Jessica Matthews is the designer and founder of womenswear brand Summers the Label which she evolved from her previous label Aida Maeby. Her Wellington-based business produces all its garments locally with a focus on utilising natural fabrics and deadstock fabrics. Jessica donates a percentage from the sale of each garment to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ which is a cause close to her heart about losing a friend to breast cancer in 2017.

We caught up with Jessica to find out more about her brand, what inspires her and what you would never catch her wearing!

Tell us about your latest collection?
‘In Clover’ is all about taking advantage of the time you’re given – reveling in summer in linens and tencel made to bask in.

What made you become a designer?
I never feel right unless I’m making something – if I’m not working on Summers I’m experimenting with preserving, knitting something or dreaming of the next thing to sew. It’s a weird combination of freeing and terrifying to be your own boss, but it’s mostly great!

What inspires you?
Seeing the reaction I get when people try my garments on – I love to hear what they love about the piece, how it makes them feel, and where they’re going to take it to. It’s like a little gift they don’t know they’re giving me.

Style File Jessica Matthews from Summers the Label

Looks from Summers the Label’s In Clover collection.

Describe your personal style and how it influences your designs?
I’m very functional in how I dress! I like reliable basics in good quality fabrics that I know I can pull out of the wardrobe and wear for years. The fun for me is knowing I have the perfect linen tee, the perfect jeans, the perfect black dress on top of which to add whatever scarf or handknit or insane pair of earrings I’m currently favouring – it takes so much stress out of the day when you have a wardrobe full of go-to garments. I try to think when designing about how the piece will solve a problem for the wearer: can she take this from a meeting to the beach? Will this be the thing that makes that blazer not too dressy? Will this still be stylish and loved in two years? Ten years? And dresses should ALWAYS have pockets wherever possible!

What is your all-⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠time favourite purchase?
I have a Sylvester biker jacket in grey houndstooth that I believe I bought in 2006 or 2007 when I was working for the label. I’ve worn it religiously ever since and will never, ever stop loving it, it goes with everything.

What wardrobe item should everyone invest in?
You won’t notice a good bra, but a bad one can ruin an outfit, and your back, and your day!

Do you have a style rule you always obey?
Generally I think style rules should be ignored – if you feel good, do it – but there is one I follow: Boobs or legs, never both.

Style File Jessica Matthews from Summers the Label

Looks from Summers the Label’s In Clover collection.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Making our first quarterly donation to Breast Cancer Foundation NZ – we donated $750 (the first of many deposits I hope!) to help their goal of zero deaths from breast cancer in New Zealand.

What can’t you live without?
Twinings Earl Grey.

Finish this sentence – You would never catch me wearing…
A denim jacket. I love them on other people but they look ridiculous on me!

Images supplied.

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