Gorging on texture, fabric and fantastical shapes, Matty Bovan has crafted his way out of the pandemic. The designer’s resilience and resourcefulness came to the fore, over the past 12 months. He lives and works at home in York, so when the whole world had to WFH he was already well set up for it.
Then there’s his ability to make something very special out of things that might be thrown away. Swarovski sent his bags of deadstock, rough-cut crystals, which he fashioned into glittering finery. He’s up for the Woolmark Prize this year and is serious about his pitch. The collection is rich with wondrous knits and every piece has a crafty story. Bovan used a lady who lives ‘round the corner” to hand-knit supersized merino cable pieces – his fantasy take on the classic fisherman’s jumper. Bovan’s theme was the sea and his models, all found and photographed by Bovan locally, played a cast of shipwrecked characters.
Craft is very much Bovan’s ‘thing’. He hand-dyed much of the yarn himself and developed a special ‘brass rubbing’ effect on his fabrics. “It’s the biggest collection I’ve ever done,” he says, before reeling off an impressive list of collaborations with Liberty, Isko Denim, Cutler and Gross, the Welsh denim brand Huit and AW Hainsworth, the 230-year-old Yorkshire woollen mill which supplies fabrics to the Crown and the military. His shows have long been a highlight of the London schedule, but Bovan says the freedom of not having to produce a catwalk collection allowed him to think even more creatively. “It’s more conceptual,” he says.
Photography courtesy of Matty Bovan.