Interview – Maison Matz – Marcus Ryberg in Conversation with Amelie gr. Darrelmann

For KubaParis, Amelie gr. Darrelmann talked to Marcus Ryberg about fashion, art and and sustainability. 

Amelie: In your very first project, eight pioneering artists from Berlin have re-designed 48 pairs of vintage jeans addressing the theme of water. You come from Stockholm and have been living in Berlin for more than 3 years. How did you get in contact with these artists?

Marcus: This project, I started last September and I remember it being a quite quick decision from deciding on doing the project and actually starting it! I set myself a deadline that I would run the exhibition in February the latest. So, I had exactly 6 months to organise everything. Therefore finding the artists at first seemed quite difficult. I do have some connections from my education in Visual Communications in Berlin, but also wanted to reach out to new people in the fashion and art scene. I would say via a mix of word of mouth, posts in different Facebook groups, asking some friends if they know other people, a lot of coffee meetings with new people etc. …

An essential part of your project was the exhibition. Can you tell me more about that? How did you want the experience to be for the visitor?

As more and more of our lives becomes digital, I wanted to create a real life experience where you as a visitor would interact with the art and the other visitors. Due to the theme of Water, I wanted the whole space to mirror this. As soon as you walk into the exhibition space the aim was to make you feel like you were in this alternative water world or aquarium. At Kunstkooperative (https://www.kunstkooperative.com/)in Kreuzberg, we had rented this exhibition space with two big windows facing a backyard. On the ceiling, we have created a grid of transparent fishing line where all the jeans were hanging. Changing the viewers perception of clothing and especially vintage clothing. Why are some old things considered valuable and some not? On the walls, a movie installation from a befriended artist Lea Schmitt, (https://www.instagram.com/aelnaan/), was playing on and on and combined with ambient downtempo music from the speakers resembling the oceanic landscape I wanted to create.

Why is this project so important to you?

For me this project has been important in many ways. On a personal level to dare to turn a project from an idea into reality. This has always been a big thing for me, to challenge myself to actually go on and proceed with an idea. I also have an big interest in art in various forms, environmental realities, collaborations and experiences. I wanted to gather my ideas and do one project 100 % to see how the public would react. Now afterwards, I am super happy that I had the guts to try it out and I encourage everyone who is working on an idea to just start with it and try.

Do you have the impression that you got a better access to the young Berlin art scene after the collaboration?

I definitely feel I’ve gotten a better understanding of it, that includes the creative scene as a whole where designers and artists and other creatives are working together. I look forward to deepen my connections and get to know more artists and creatives.

You say Maison Matz is a house of collaborations focusing on projects that highlight human-nature interaction interactions. Could you tell me a bit more about that?

I think the connections between human and nature are somehow forgotten or lost in the current fashion world. In this void, I wanted to create and curate this project. Sustainability goes hand in hand in how we humans interact with nature, this these topics is important to discuss.

The interconnection of art and fashion is important and something you talked about before. Could you tell me more about that? Is this something that you felt was missing in the current fashion world?

For me, I have a big interest in the world of art as well the fashion world. If you work with fabrics and create something which is ready-to-wear you would fall into the category of creating fashion. If you create some piece of art, a painting, installation or a performance, you would be associated with art. Hence from my perspective I wanted to connect these two worlds, to make people interact with the clothing as an object in a completely other way than it normally would. How we value things and what we perceive as valuable is interesting and that is something I wanted to discuss in this first project.

Sustainability and responsibility are important keywords in your visions. Which criteria did you use to select the artists? Was it important to you that the artists could identify with your visions and approaches?

In order to find the ”right” artists for this very first project, I had some criteria I wanted each artist to fulfill. I let them show me sketches of their visions of the brief description of the project ’Water Denim’ I had sent them in advance. We sat down, discussed their sketches and inspiration behind it. It was important that I felt a good connection to the artist, that the idea and vision I wanted to communicate resonated strongly with the artist’s as well.

You are studying Visual Communication and have a very specific visual imagination. As the founder of Maison Matz, you also act as art director, stylist, marketing & event manager, curator, and sales representative. How do you manage the balancing act between all these areas? Who supports you and did you have problems to guarantee the artists absolute artistic freedom?

Yes, that is correct. In my studies in Visual Communication I’ve come across most of these subjects, for example doing fashion photography courses, helping out with styling, working as a sales representative in previous part-time jobs etc. All these former experiences have helped me to do all the tasks now for Maison Matz. I had a lot of people wanted to take part of the collaborative from the very early start on. I am of course super thankful for everyone who helped me along the way, from doing photoshoots, handing out flyers, building up the exhibition over spreading the word! Without friends and family it would not be possible. I had no idea how to have a exhibition or pop-up store before we had one, or how to do a marketing campaign but now I know a little bit more after I have done it. I think there is no guarantee that the artists will have absolute artistic freedom. Given the nature of the project, where I as the initiator, founder and creator came up with a theme and idea. Each artist has a framework to create their designs from and within that I want to offer them as much creativity and freedom as possible, although ensuring that the end goal is what I have envisioned. It’s no easy task to balance both.

The art and culture scene in Berlin is productive and proactive. However, many creative people still have a hard time surviving. What do you have to say about distribution and marketing in the creative and young art scene?

Yes, it is definitely productive and proactive. There are many artists in Berlin, but as you say, there is not so much money to earn, at least when you are just making a name for yourself. Artists are in general very creative and innovative thinking people. I believe new paths can include: Collaborations with different artists, different disciplines and combining and mixing them. Thinking about the normal distribution of art and its institutions and not aligning with the old rules, instead making new rules how to showcase, sell and discuss art. Using digital media, crowdfunding, collaborations and innovation to reinvent the system so more money could come from the ground up. And lastly, to find new business models to survive in the art world.

Why is Maison Matz important?

I see a lot of super talented artists struggling to reach out to the public. Therefore, Maison Matz is the connecting platform between the artists and the community. The collaborative offers new talents a marketplace to display their work in a personal and innovative way, reaching out to various individuals and new audiences.

Are the artists involved in the sale of a unique work on a percentage basis?

Exactly, it is a 50/50 collaboration where the artists and Maison Matz shares the profit of each sale.

Why did you choose the topic water? Stockholm – the city by the water – is situated on several small islands. Is that why you are interested in nature and water? Or do I go too far when I think that the mass production of jeans is one of the most polluting things in the world regarding water use?

I’ve always liked being close to the water. I remember in the summers when I was growing up we always stayed by a lakes outside of Stockholm. I used to swim a lot and do water sports with my older siblings. Whenever I have spare-time I like to be close to the water … Last summer, I visited my sister who studies Fashion Design and Textiles in Amsterdam where I went to a sustainable fashion fair. At this fair, I got to talk to many different upcoming brands and learned about their production and history why they started. This was also last summer in which we had extreme heat, drought and wildfires. I remember coming home from this fair feeling more engaged than before and wanting to use this energy to create something good. As I was looking into different materials, I found one warehouse which had tons and tons of vintage jeans. When I researched on denim I found out that it takesover 10.000 liters of water to produce a single pair of jeans. On top of that there are countless of chemicals and dyes that goes into it which pollutes our waterways. The jeans date back to the 1870’s and is a traditional piece which we have used from over a century. I wanted to take something old and classic and place it into a contemporary setting. With this in mind, I decided to go with traditional straight legged jeans and that water will be the theme which the artists can express themselves.

What does vintage mean to you?

My perception of vintage has definitely changed after being introduced to Berlin’s vintage scene. For me, vintage can be something special, something one of a kind. It gives a sense of nostalgia, history and weight to the fabric and item. It is timeless and classic! And of course there’s endless of dead stock laying around so we might as well use it and be creative.

Are there more ”green” problems you would like to address with Maison Matz? 

I am really interested in new ways of using materials and in this very first project I’ve used only vintage jeans dating back from 1960’s until 2000’s. One factory I had contact with had over 6 tons of jeans in there storage and for me this was insane to witness. So much jeans, so much clothing that will not see the light of day. Using dead stock is something that is on the rise and I definitely want to continue reusing materials bringing them into new contexts where they otherwise wouldn’t be.

How do you see a more sustainable production in the fashion industry and what responsibilities do fashion companies and their consumers have nowadays?

A big billboard ad from H&M took my attention the other week, advertising a shirt for only 29,99 €. How is it possible to be that inexpensive and still offer the worker minimum hourly wage? I believe more companies are becoming more transparent which is great! However, of course there is a lot of secrecies and yet a lot of unsustainable production,likeover production and and the creation of waste that doesn’t get used. Hence, the big companies with resources has to step up their game and show that it is possible to be moresustainable. We as consumers can of course make better decisions, try to buy more vintage or less in general, but I also believe that the companies with more power and the industry as a whole has to make it easier for the consumer to buy better and changing our habits.

Can politics do anything?

Yes, of course! We’ve seen a radical shift in the Western World lately where sustainability, thinking circular has become much more prominent. By raising awareness, sustainable practices and discussions become present in our daily lives. Hopefully this trend continues and we will be able to see bigger changes on a policy level, as well.

Does art also play a role here? 

I believe art has a unique role of raising awareness and discussions among many topics including environmental policies. Art can make us rethink how we look at things and hopefully adopt new habits and opinions.

What can we expect from Maison Matz in this context? What are your next projects?

Next up in July the jeans will be showcased at Neonyt, the sustainable fashion fair in Berlin, which is really exciting. Further ahead, I am planning the second chapter. I want to stay true to my core of always working with collaborators and am starting to search for new talents with various backgrounds. The goal is to connect everyone to one team and work with a broad variety of skills on onetopic. I can’t tell more about it for now, but the next project is expected to be released end of this year/ beginning of 2020 and definitely will be something to look out for! Stay tuned!

Editorial Maison Matz Credits – By The Lake Credits

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Murt, unsigned, / instagram@murt      // and Awa Kaloga, signed at Letitgo Mgmt //instagram @ahoneymustard// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans (left) Kevin Urbanski x Maison Matz Jeans (right) Subin Kim x Maison Matz

Fish-net, Art Directors own Bucket-hat, Jacques Mus

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Awa Kaloga, signed at Letitgo Mgmt // instagram @ahoneymustard// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans (left) Anni Knusperhäuschen x Maison Matz Top, Stylists own

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Murt, unsigned, / instagram @murt      /// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Rhianedd Dancey x Maison Matz Shirt: Marni

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Murt, unsigned, / instagram @murt      /// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Kevin Urbanski x Maison Matz Top: Marni

Shoes: Stylists own

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Murt, unsigned, / instagram @murt      /// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Kevin Urbanski x Maison Matz Hat: Jacques Mus

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Guillame Yaba, unsigned, // instagram @guillaumeyaba// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein //instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Kevin Urbanski x Maison Matz

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Guillame Yaba, unsigned, // instagram @guillaumeyaba// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein //instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Kevin Urbanski x Maison Matz Shirt: Stylists own

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo // Model is Guillame Yaba, unsigned, //instagram @guillaumeyaba // Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram  @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes Noclothes

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Awa Kaloga, signed at Letitgo Mgmt // instagram @ahoneymustard// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans Subin Kim x Maison Matz

10.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo /// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans Subin Kim x Maison Matz

11.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Misa Chu, signed at Letitgo Mgmt // instagram @misachu666 // Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Rhianedd Dancey x Maison Matz

Swimsuit: Stylists own Hat: Jacques Mus

12.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Misa Chu (left) , signed at Letitgo Mgmt// instagram @misachu666 // Model is Awa Kaloga (right) , signed at Letitgo Mgmt // instagram @ahoneymustard// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans (left) : Anni Knusperhäuchen x Maison Matz Jeans (right): Arthur Boudet x Maison Matz

Tops: Stylists own

13.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Misa Chu (left) , signed at Letitgo Mgmt// instagram @misachu666 // Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Arthur Boudet x Maison Matz

14.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Misa Chu (left) , signed at Letitgo Mgmt// instagram @misachu666 // Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Arthur Boudet x Maison Matz

15.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Guillame Yaba, unsigned, // instagram @guillaumeyaba// Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein //instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans: Melisa Minca x Maison Matz

Shirt: Stylists own Fish-net: Stylists own

16.

Art Direction by Marcus Ryberg / webpage: www.maisonmatz.cominstagram:@maisonmatz / Photography by Polo Lindström Muller / webpage: https://pololindstrom.org// instagram: @poloparkpolo / Model is Guillame Yaba, unsigned, // instagram @guillaumeyaba // Model is Misa Chu , signed at Letitgo Mgmt // instagram @misachu666 // Make up & styling by Katharina Hein & Jasmine Khalilzadegan / instagram: @kathiemmihein // instagram @jkhalilzadegan

Clothes: Jeans (left) : Melisa Minca x Maison Matz

Jeans (right): Anni Knusperhäuchen x Maison Matz

Shirt: Stylists own Fish-net: Stylists own Top: Stylists own