Last year, TheCelebrityCafe.com introduced you to 19-year-old Matt Sarafa, fashion designer, YouTube beauty and fashion vlogger and former contestant on Project Runway Juniors.
A lot has happened since last winter. Sarafa is still working on earning his degree from UCLA, but he just finished showing his new line for men and women “ROLEPLAY” at Paris Fashion Week on Sept. 30. His “FAKE” line of ready to wear clothes, jewelry and accessories continues to do well.
Matt Sarafa caught up with Michelle Tompkins for TheCelebrity Café.com to tell us what he has been up to for the past few months.
Michelle Tompkins: Hi Matt. It is great to connect with you again. What have you been up to this summer?
Matt Sarafa: Hi again! OMG more like what haven't I been up to this summer?! I’ve been keeping myself super busy between working on my collection for my Paris Fashion Week show, filming some big reality TV projects, manufacturing my latest fashion and jewelry collection, and so much more!
MT: Was it all work and no play or were you able to get in some fun and/or a vacation or two? If so, where did you go?
MS: Towards the beginning of the summer, I was able to sneak away to Jamaica for about a week! This was my first time ever visiting & it definitely did not disappoint! Other than that, I’ve just been traveling a lot for work- mainly back and forth to New York!
MT: Last time we connected you said that your goal was to build an empire. It seems like that is on track. How do you think you are doing when it comes to creating an empire?
MS: Haha yes! That is still the goal! I am really just trying to embrace every opportunity that comes my way while still maintaining who I am as a person and a designer. I am so excited about my upcoming show at Paris Fashion Week that I’ve been working so hard on, and I think this is going to open up so many more doors for my career!
MT: You are also passionate about makeup. Do you plan to create a makeup line as well?
MS: A cosmetic line is something that has come up in discussion multiple times within the last few years. Makeup is another big passion of mine, and I would want my line to be absolutely perfect. I’ve had some preliminary meetings with people in the cosmetics world, and it’s something I definitely want to pursue in the future.
MT: Please tell me about your upcoming show in Paris?
MS: My upcoming Paris Fashion Week show is something I’m so incredibly excited for and proud of. I’ll be debuting my latest collection ROLEPLAY, and from what I’ve been told, I’m the second youngest designer to ever show at PFW!
MT: What makes ROLEPLAY so special?
MS: ROLEPLAY is my first ever Spring/Summer collection, so that already makes it special to me. It’s a lot softer and more fun than anything I’ve shown before, but still has that signature edginess that I love.
MT: Where did you get your inspiration for ROLEPLAY?
MS: The inspiration behind ROLEPLAY is all about gender roles. The two primary colors in this collection are baby blue and baby pink, and I wanted to challenge the masculinity and femininity associated with these two colors. I experimented with interesting hardware, unusual textiles, and a level of refinement that I haven't shown before.
MT: How have you grown as a designer in the past year?
MS: This past year has been all about self-discovery for me as a designer. I’ve refined my taste and design aesthetic tremendously, but still haven't lost my signature flair that differentiates me from other designers.
MT: You are currently based in LA, do you plan to relocate your business to Paris or New York in the future?
MS: I can definitely see myself eventually being in New York after I finish school. I’ve always loved the city since I was little, but what I don’t love so much about New York is the weather!! I’ve been so spoiled when it comes to the weather here in LA, that I don't know if I’d be able to handle it! In a perfect world, I’d love to spend half the year in NY and the other half in California.
MT: Who is your target audience?
MS: I don’t like to limit my audience because I want anyone who wants to wear my clothes to feel welcome to. My design style definitely attracts fearless individuals who aren't afraid to stand out from the crowd.
MT: Have you been to Paris before?
MS: I visited Europe a few years ago, but I didn't get a chance to stop by Paris. I can’t believe that my first time in Paris is because I’m having a show during fashion week! It’s so surreal!
MT: What are your hopes for this show?
MS: I try to go into all my fashion shows with an open mind. The thing with the fashion industry is that you never know what’s going to happen. All I can hope for is that the clothes look good, the show runs smoothly and everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
MT: How is Hot Me$$ doing these days?
MS: Hot Me$$ is doing great! I’m in the process of phasing out that line to make room for new stuff on my website! A lot of it is sold out and the rest of it is on sale! Get it while you still can!
MT: What's new with your FAKE line?
MS: My FAKE collection from New York Fashion Week was a huge success! Everyone who sees it loves it! Right now, I'm in the manufacturing process, and the fabulous faux fur coats are up for purchase on my website and soon to be available in stores at Kyle By Alene Too boutiques across the country!
MT: What are some must get items from FAKE?
MS: My favorite pieces from the FAKE collection are by far the faux fur coats. They instantly make you feel so fabulous as soon as you put one on. And the quality of them is so incredible that you honestly cannot tell that they're faux.
MT: Where can people buy your work?
MS: Right now, my designs are available on my website http://www.mattsarafa.com and soon to be in stores at Kyle By Alene Too boutiques across the country!
MT: Who are some of your mentors?
MS: I’ve been fortunate and have had a lot of amazing mentors and influences throughout my design career. Jene Park, the head designer for Thomas Wylde, has been a huge supporter of mine from the beginning and I always turn to her for advice whenever I need it. Another mentor of mine is my assistant Mick who I’ve worked with for years and years. She's my right-hand woman when putting together collections, and she travels with me to all my fashion shows. She has so much expertise and knowledge about fashion, and truly is an indispensable member of the Matt Sarafa team.
MT: Are you still studying at UCLA?
MS: Yes! I am going into my sophomore year at UCLA and I’m super excited!
MT: What's going on with your YouTube channel?
MS: I’ve really been lacking when it comes to my YouTube channel. My schedule has been so crazy, but I need to get back into the routine of making videos!
MT: What are some of your favorite videos?
MS: I’m obsessed with beauty and makeup videos! It’s totally my (not-so) guilty pleasure! That’s one of my favorite ways to unwind after a long day.
MT: Do you still live with your family? If not, what is your present living situation. I doubt you are in a dorm?
MS: Currently, I’m on the hunt for an apartment somewhere close to college with one of my best friends. Commuting to school from home is such a drag, especially when I have early morning classes. I tried the whole dorm thing last year and quickly realized it wasn't for me!
MT: Where is place that you want to travel to where you haven't been so far?
MS: I’ve been wanting to visit Tokyo for a while! The makeup and skincare is some of the best in the world, so I think I’d be in heaven! Plus, their fashion scene is so cutting-edge and cool!
MT: What's next for you?
MS: Right now, I’ve been devoting all of my time to preparing for Paris Fashion Week! Literally 24 hours after I land back in LA from Paris, I start my sophomore year of college. I just plan to keep working hard, and building my brand. I also have some exciting TV projects coming up in early 2018, so be on the lookout for those as well!
MT: Is your Instagram still your favorite way for your fans to connect with you?
MS: Yes! Especially now with “Instagram Live,” it’s so easy to talk to all of my followers and let them get to know me on a more personal level!
MT: Good luck on your show!
Learn more about Matt Sarafa on his website.