Briana talks new collection ”FORWARD“

Combining minimalism and lavishness isn't something many brands do effortlessly. But MATTE, a name fit for a brand of ‘less is more' sensibilities, has long established that it isn't like any other brand. After a year that includes Bella Hadid and Kim Kardashian slipping into MATTE gear, selling out a Spring/Summer collection, and being interviewed by Vogue, Briana Shanee Wilson is not finished. Forward, MATTE’s Fall/Winter collection has descended upon us. Holding onto your dough won’t be easy because Forward is pure delight, with cocoa jacket and sweat sets that will make you crave chocolate ice cream, mouthwatering cranberry two pieces, and a sizzling licorice jumpsuit that set social media aflame. The execution of these flawless pieces was no cakewalk. This collection was a mammoth undertaking for Briana, who was adamant on making it more luxurious than ever before. In fact, luxurious is the word that comes to mind when scrolling through any of Briana’s social media feeds (for those of us thirsting after the new pieces dropping on Black Friday). The luxury she exudes is not gaudy or faux- nor without blood, sweat, and tears; as Briana runs MATTE herself. From clothing design to look book concepts, Briana is in charge of everything. The struggle can be real… but she isn’t complaining. In an exclusive interview, Briana broke down exactly just how she- and MATTE- are moving forward.

What makes Forward different than your other collections?
Almost everything about it is different. First off, I've never given myself this much time. I put everything else on hold, set this date and worked until then. I focused on what I wanted in my closet and then perfected the details to exactly what I felt would be ideally versatile essentials. The quality of the fabric has increased, it's now thicker and stretchier and the French terry is made with 100% Pima cotton, the coziest knit you've felt. Also, Garment dying brought a new authenticity to the collection. I knew in order for this collection to be exactly what I wanted, everything needed to be dyed to match. It was my first time and I was really excited. Each piece is good enough to be worn alone but looks amazing when paired.

What was the creative process for the Forward look book?
I love the photoshoot process, it excites me as equally as the design process does. For this look book I wanted to top the swimwear shoot at the sand dune and knew that would be hard to do. Although that shoot ended up being so epic the actual day of shooting was very stressful! We piled 5 models, an MUA, hair stylist, photographer (and 2 friends) into a 15 passenger van for a 5 hour drive there and 5 hour drive back. Plus we only actually got to shoot for one hour due to lighting. When it came time to plan this shoot I thought, ok, let's do something crazier.

The whole team flew to Vegas Tuesday night, up at 5 am for a 6 hour drive to the location shoot for 3 hours, 6 hour drive back and flights back to LA in the morning. I definitely got no sleep and looked a hot mess the whole time but I think we put enough energy in to top it! I love going the extra mile!

Tell us why you chose "Forward" to be the name of your upcoming collection.
I wanted to name the collection so that it, the look books & the movement would have a unified feeling. I was thinking for a while and couldn't come up with anything and then my boyfriend randomly was like how about "Forward" and, yes.. it just made sense. It represents exactly what this collection means to me. I don't show it much through social media but I go through A LOT trying to run this company alone. Recently things have been turning around and I found solutions that helped make this release possible so this collection is me moving forward & the beginning of something great for this brand.

How have recent political or social events inspired Forward or interrupted your creative process?
I actually feel a lot of pressure due to the political climate and everything that goes on in our country. I'm a fearless person but I can't deny I fear the future here and I've noticed lately that it makes me work harder. I want to be prepared to do whatever I need to for the people I love if the time ever comes. So yes, it's inspired this because I've been thinking bigger.

The response to one of your pieces (the slitted jumpsuit with one shoulder) was tremendous. Is it your favorite piece in the entire collection? If not, which one is?
The West Bodysuit got a great response and I was so happy because it was the first piece I previewed. I kind of expected everyone to love it though, bodysuits are my best sellers. Its one of my favorites but I have to say all of the sweatsuit pieces are on repeat they're so comfortable.

What were your 3 biggest accomplishments this year? How do you plan to top them in 2017?
1. I met my financial goal for the year. I'm really proud of this because once again, this year was tough. I took a lot of Ls... but I kept going and thinking. - Next year I'll set a bigger goal.

2. Interviewed by vogue! Things like this keep me going. I never thought MATTE would come to this when I started but I always believed in myself. I felt so respected by this.

3. Releasing this line. For me this line is a dream come true. All year I've been striving for professionalism, organization, resources, and most of all HELP. Instead was scammed by multiple people and broken down over and over again. I designed this line June 2016 and two months ago I wasn't sure if it would happen. Seeing it come to life and really well feels so good. - Next year will be better because each line will be this extensive, or better! I'll be able to fully develop my ideas for fitness, accessories and maybe even footwear.

As MATTE grows more popular and expands, aspiring black business women are looking up to you more than ever before. What words of wisdom can you give them?
Believe in yourself enough to get it on your own. Do what you say you're going to do. Think outside the box. Execute your good ideas. & remember if you put millionaire time/work/energy into something it will come back.

Do you have any special travel plans for the holiday?
I wanted to go and see my family in Arkansas but I've just been so busy with the release that I decided Christmas is most likely a better time. I will probably go find somewhere relaxing to be on Friday though!