Matthew Williamson interview: 'I don't think I'm a fashion snob – I don't think that fashion should be an elitist thing'

Exclusive:  The British designer on what's so special about collaborating with high street labels and department stores like Debenhams

Linda Sharkey
Thursday 31 March 2016 13:01 BST
Matthew Williamson presents new swimwear collection for Debenhams

Matthew Williamson was one of the very first fashion designers to do high street collaborations by joining forces with Debenhams in 2001- before all the H&M madness kicked in.

Over 15 years later he continues to work with the British department store to reach a broader audience with his line of accessories, womenswear, childrenswear, homeware and his new affordable swimwear range hitting stores.

“Debenhams is an extension of my mainline,” he explains. So, although you wouldn’t expect the same quality and fabrics seen in his catwalk shows, those bold patterns that have gained him a massive celebrity fan base of the likes of Kate Moss, Poppy Delevingne and Sienna Miller, but you’d still be getting your hands on his signature tropical, colourful prints at a rather affordable price point through the his line Butterfly by Matthew Williamson.

By freelancing for Marni and Monsoon at the beginning of his career, his experience in both high end and high street grew in him. Besides joining Designers at Debenhams, other collaborations include H&M in 2009, Havaianas in 2012 and Lindex in 2013.

As he shows his favourite pieces from his summer 2016 swimwear line, he reveals how the “digital age” has changed his label.

“I think the digital age has changed the gold post enormously and we’re in a period where each designer is navigating the best root for them.

“My decision for me and my brand was to go more online and create a lifestyle brand. It’s an exciting industry to work in at the moment.”

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