Matt Singer struck out on his own in 2009, not just to launch a line of shirts, bags, and eyebrow-raising accessories, but also to build a brand—a pursuit that he’s been prepping for since his very first job.
After college at Ohio Wesleyan, the Baltimore-born designer made his way to NYC, wooed by the advertising world—specifically a job with TBWA\Chiat\Day. “If you have the talent and desire to be an artist, that’s amazing. I didn’t have that,” Matt explains. “I had this other thing. I was drawn to the mix of business and creative. When I saw really good commercial work or smart advertising, I was intrigued by it.”
It was there that he met Andy Spade, who eventually brought him on at Jack Spade, then a men’s bag upstart. During Matt’s nine years at the company, he designed everything from their now-iconic canvas messengers to flyswatters and
ping-pong paddle covers, all while, as creative director, exploring different ways to connect with customers through the brand. “When you have a really creative boss who is supportive when you want to do a project about losing wallets around the city and have a gallery show—you learn how to speak to people on a different plane,” says Matt.
He’s brought this same ethos to his namesake collection, collaborating with such unlikely partners as the nonprofit organization 826NYC, which promotes writing skills in young students, and Idlewild Books, an independent travel bookstore in Manhattan. He’s also as commissioned countless artists and illustrators. “There are traditional things about my line—making shirts and bags,” he says. “And then there are some things that are less traditional.”