Spotlight: Matthew Gallagher

Posted 10 years ago by myetvmedia

Matthew Gallagher’s love of fashion took hold at an early age. Growing up in Amherst, Nova Scotia, his parents have a story they like to tell about a four-year-old Matthew following a woman around their family store exclaiming in awe that her shoes matched her all-red outfit.

Gallagher recounted this story and others to me over coffee on Thursday at Cafe M, a small independent coffee shop in his neighbourhood on Yonge Street.

From that first encounter at four his love of fashion blossomed, leading him to a letter writing campaign which landed him a much sought after internship with Tracy Reece and a summer in NYC studying drawing and painting at Parsons College at the age of sixteen.

“I was a sixteen year old kid with no experience in anything”

If the woman in the red dress and matching shoes ignited the flame, the summer in NYC transformed Gallagher’s passion to a full blown fire.

“In one block I would walk by as many people as lived in my whole hometown”

New York City fueled Gallagher’s thirst for travel. After completing high school he traveled around Canada in search of a metropolis in which to begin his career; living in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary before deciding to take the leap and attend school in Milan. While in Italy, Gallagher seized every opportunity for experience both travel and fashion, leading him to work as a costume designer for gaming company UBISoft’s Just Dance. He also earned an opportunity through FSN Collections to show his own creations in the Fall 2013 Collections.

Most incredible of all is that Matthew Gallagher put together his entire collection for WMCFW Fall ‘13—from conception to creation—in a single month, all on his own. It was at this point in our conversation I began to doubt his mortality. Or at the least, that he and I exist in the same reality where days consist of 24 hours made up of minutes only 60 seconds long.

So how does a wonder designer in his twenties start the process of creating a collection to debut at World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto? For Gallagher it began with a lifelong love of classic cinema—the origin of his inspiration for the Fall ‘13 collection. More specifically: Grace Kelly from Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief and the glamour and sophistication of the French Riviera. After much sketching (Gallagher is a talented illustrator in addition to being able to alter the dimension of time), and once he feels he has a cohesive collection of looks, he proceeds in his selection of fabric and colour (all sourced from Italy and London). Oh, and then he continues on to create every single piece by hand.

“I’ll have an idea of a character that I’m designing clothes for… I’m not so strict to make it like a costume…it’s more just a feeling, my inspirations are more vague, not so specific.”

Now that Matthew Gallagher’s debut collection is behind him, he has moved back to Toronto and is preparing his Spring/Summer 2014 collection on a much more humane timeline. Gallagher states that his inspiration comes from his travels around the Italian Riviera: relaxed, simple looks that marry the casual elements of the Italian seaside with the glamour of the yachting elite.

“My inspiration for S/S’14 is my summers in italy…casual and old but there is this certain bit of glamour to it…glamours people having lunch for the day and just sailing off…”

I for one will wait with baited breath.

Astrid Handling

Interview with Matthew Gallagher


  • Matthew Gallagher
  • Matthew Gallagher
  • Matthew Gallagher

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