Even though days are getting colder and darker in the northern hemisphere, our lifestyle at The Style Examiner is timelessly cosmopolitan: despite our busy news desks with numerous emails and telephones ringing constantly, we always dream of holiday plans and seek solace and inspiration in travelling to exotic destinations. As we looked into the best swimwear to pack for a holiday in the sun we came across the label Charlie by Matthew Zink and got immediately seduced by its vibrant colours, simple geometric patterns and tailoring, and connotations of glamour and hedonism associated with the 1970s.
We met Matthew Zink, the man behind the label, and discussed the influence of the 1970s, Cher, and Tom Ford. We also found out more about Zink himself and the latest expansion plans for his already very successful brand.
The Style Examiner (TSE): How did you start in fashion?
Matthew Zink (MZ): I studied Fashion Design at the Shanon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, in Ohio. After graduating from my degree in 2003, I moved to New York and over the years I was very fortunate to work briefly with a few amazing fashion professionals (including Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, and Stefano Pilati), whose passion and commitment to a vision influenced me deeply. Most recently, and prior to launching Charlie, I was the Design Director for Victoria's Secret Swimwear for five years.
TSE: Why did you choose the name ‘Charlie’ for the brand?
MZ: Charlie is my muse. For me, the name Charlie is terribly sexy for both a man and a woman. It’s a name that captures all the classic, charming, handsome, timeless, and iconic characteristics for the brand. It also holds an undeniable 1970s connotation that is both familiar and extremely alluring to me.
TSE: What were your influences for the latest Charlie collections?
MZ: I have expanded the label with even more swimwear and complimentary resortwear pieces. For Resort 2012 (available from December 2011), Charlie celebrates a few of my favourite muses: Stephanie Seymour, Maxwell Caulfield, 1970s denim, and “the scarf”. For Spring 2012, the collection is inspired by Cher, Hal Harley, Walton Ford, and Biba’s Rainbow Room.
TSE: You have managed to achieve a great deal of success in a relatively short period of time. Charlie by Matthew Zink is now available in retailers throughout the US and in stores in Australia, Germany, Guadalupe, Haiti, Israel, Kuwait, and the UK. What are the development plans for Charlie?
MZ: We are quickly expanding our list of international retailers. For 2012, we are proud to announce that Charlie will be available on both thecorner.com and Net-a-Porter.com. These two fantastically curated retailers will allow Charlie to be shipped to countries worldwide. We are absolutely thrilled with the response we have had from both our retailers and our customers.
TSE: And what’s in store for Matthew Zink, the designer? Do you plan to focus on swimwear or will you look into other opportunities?
MZ: Charlie will always be about offering timeless swimwear while making our customer feel sexy and iconic. We are growing our sportswear pieces and I hope to expand into a wide range of other complementary Charlie lifestyle categories, including clothing, underwear, lingerie, jewellery, sunglasses, and watches. We also are looking to launch Charlie footwear very soon!