Lē Matthew ︎︎︎Interdisciplinary Artist & Designer
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Beauty lies within the details, in the modes of making...
Lē Matthew is an international interdisciplinary artist and designer currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. They are the founder and designer of Degrade, the bio-based experimental label currently promoting biodegradable materials and textile explorations in the fashion world using a multi-disciplinary approach.
In the midst of a global pandemic, they obtained a BFA Fashion Design degree from Parsons School of Design, The New School (May 2021), specializing in sustainable fashion design and systems with the honor of being the inaugural recipient of the Julie Wainwright Endowed Scholarship for Sustainability Fund (2021). Aside from being a slow-fashion eco-creative, they are also a musician, fine-artist, and budding art-director.
Aside from fashion, Lē’s very first loves are music and fine art. With a vocal and instrumental background in classical and jazz ensembles, as well as utilizing their now alto II to tenor range, they hope to perform more and more in the future. Inspired by jazz, neo-soul, r&b, and afrobeats, Lē hopes to continue to pursue music and collaborate at varying capacities with other artists.
Future goals for Lē continuing education include pursuing the fields of Healthier Materials, Textiles, & Biodesign. Lē hopes to be a sourcing and materiality consultant to companies and brands that look towards creating with healthier materials and be an all around artist & musical performer.
“I look at the world through the lens of childlike curiosity and wonder. I prefer to see the beauty amidst the oppression in our current modern society. I live to create, collaborate and express myself in all artistic forms.”
— Lē Matthew
︎︎︎ Artist Statement - Fashion Design
Lē’s post-BFA graduate work aims to look at how their works as an artist impact the environment, from its making to the end of life. Biodegradability & soil nourishment are end goals to the creations of Degrade. Since then, Degrade has launched an experimental online store dedicated to eco-creative practices and building quality relationships with each client.
“The idea of extending the shelf life of organic matter that would otherwise biodegrade intrigued me. As a lover of nature and its beauty, it has been a grounding process working with organic matter. Another major inspiration for my practice in this lane is the fact that a lot of the creation of clothing ends up in “third-world countries”. I say this term in quotations because I feel like that description word should be moot/irrelevant given the overall effects of colonialism and global westernization. I am Nigerian, and grew up seeing imported clothing waste due to corruption. While I can’t control designers, government, corruption and lack of environmental concern or safety…I can control what I create for others and the details and systems behind them… all till the end of their wear, starting from the material itself”.
— Lē Matthew