Matthew Dunne studied graphic design during his time at Michigan. After graduation, he used those skills to get in the fashion industry, first in graphic design and art direction. But he really wanted to design clothes.
“It was always something I wanted to do. It had been my dream since I was a little boy,” Dunne says. “After about three or four years I realized that I wanted to be creating the actual pieces.”
Matt went back to school for fashion design, completing his studies in a year thanks to his previous education at Michigan. After graduation, he worked with many companies, getting an inside look at how fashion really gets done. Many of these companies do all of their manufacturing overseas. Traveling back and forth to manufacturing locations caused Matt to rethink his fashion philosophy.
“You’re an American brand but you’re manufacturing overseas. It didn’t make sense to me. I spent six to eight months researching the feasibility of creating a clothing line that is manufactured here.”
From months of research came Oak73, a clothing line that addressed the issues Matt saw with many existing brands. All of Oak73’s pieces are made in New York or Los Angeles, and the bulk of fabrics used are remnants from designer-level brands. Local manufacturing avoids the labor and exploitation issues that can be found overseas, and repurposing high-end fabric reduces the fashion industry’s footprint.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly more aware. It’s important to be able to tell your customers exactly where they’re getting their products from.”
The Worst Fashion Trend Right Now
So what does this alumni expert think the worst fashion trend is right now?
“I mean, I’m really not into UGGS. I don’t know how popular they are now, but when I was at Michigan they were a huge craze. I think they’re like the most terrible thing you could ever put on your body. I know they’re comfortable but they just look awful.”
Matt Recommends: For Girls
Indigo printed jeans, Oak73.
Floral button down shirt, Oak73.
- Metallic bag, Oak73.
- Shimmer Cap Toe Espadrilles, JCrew
- Faux leopard fur jacket, Nordstrom
Matt Recommends: For Guys
Indigo jeans, Express
Striped T-shirt, JCrew
Plaid button down, Banana Republic
Converse white leather sneaker, Journeyz
Pea coat, Lands’ End
Weigh in with your fashion thoughts–are you an UGG aficionado?