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EASTERN COLLECTIVE: Matt Benedetto Interview
Photo Evan Williams
Interview by Evan Williams
What’s up Matty? How’s your summer been?
Yo! Things have been going really good. Just graduated college in May at St. Mike's, and I decided to stick around Burlington for a bit as my home base. Livin' life in the real world now. But the weather has been awesome this summer, so just trying to enjoying it.
Give the low down on your new summer collection. Any design inspirations?
This year's summer collection is one of my favorite and easily the most complete collections I've done outside of the typical winter line. Obviously introduced a new batch of Shield Sunglasses, as they are always a hit. This summer they all had a Matte finish to give them that extra smooth detail. Also working with all new lenses on the sunglasses. I took in some feedback on previous collections and made them not quite as dark, but I still kept the signature reflection.
Then I also introduced a line of shirts and snapbacks. Took a lot of the inspiration for those items from streetwear trends and fashion. Just trying to incorporate pieces into your everyday life.
What are some of your favorite clothing companies out right now?
My three favorite brands right now are Benny Gold, 10 Deep, and Herschel Suppy Co. Benny Gold is a designer who started up his own brand, and has an amazing ability for detail and creating a cohesive look. 10 Deep represents a bit more on the raw side of things with those camo prints and bold typography. Then Herschel Supply Co. makes dope bags and accessories with clean and classic designs.
Within the industry, you gotta give it up to the other independent brand absolutely killing things. I’ve been loving what Saga and Jiberish have been doing.
What’s your favorite item in the summer collection?
My favorite summer item rotates weekly I think. I'm easily all about the Matte Black shades one week and flip it with the Matte Red shades the next. But I think the Eastern Collective Club shirt would have to be my favorite piece consistently.
(The Collective Club shirt) Photo Joe Tyson
What’s in the future for Eastern Collective? The brand has seen some significant transformation over the years, even a name change from EC Headwear. What can we expect?
Last summer I launched the rebrand from EC Headwear to Eastern Collective, and I am 100% satisfied with the process so far. I’ve grown up a lot since I started the brand and I look forward to portraying through the goods released. There will still be the winter collection that made Eastern Collective what it is, but I’m going to be slowly releasing new products that are a bit more broad to the everyday lifestyle. Keep your eyes peeled because I’m really excited for them.
Matt was pumped to be back on snow this year after his leg injury. Photo Joe Tyson
lots and lots of hardware. Matt calls it his "Robo leg"
Your new lookbook “Vermont Livin’” with Ian Compton was pretty neat. Who shot all the photos?
I was really stoked on how the lookbook came together. It was something a bit new for the brand, but I plan to do a lot more of it. The pictures were shot on a collection of film cameras by none other than Joe Tyson, the Satan loving skating hoodrat of our crew.
(click to view the Summer LookBook!)
I hear you have other lookbooks in the making?
I am working with a few other really talented people to continue the lookbooks. I don’t want to drop anything official yet but I have one in the works for a new midsummer product launch and some other fun stuff down in NYC with buddy of mine. Each will have their own unique feel and look to them.
Have you started designing the winter collection yet?
Yep! Winter collection is looking really good. I’m toning things down a bit and concentrating on a collection of really solid pieces rather than making it too broad and unfocused. I think the brand is growing a lot and I’m happy with the direction things have been going in lately. Hopefully we will be bringing back a few items we haven’t done in a few years.
Tyler Audette Photo
Lastly, elaborate on your fascination with cats and YouTube videos of cats doing “zany” things…
You know the internet has endless entertainment and people have way too much time on their hands sometimes. At the same time I most likely spend way too much time browsing the web at that mindless entertainment, but come on! Who doesn’t love watching a cat walking on its hind legs or some kid trying his own WWF moves off his double wide.
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