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Derek Mattison

Creative Director, Mattison. Los Angeles

Think start-up whizzes are all oversize, ratty tees, bleach-stained hoodies and slide-on shower sandals? Yeah, you might want to think again—and walk away from the multiple viewing of The Social Network. Or take one look at tech entrepreneur-turned-designer Derek Mattison, the man behind the eponymous label, Mattison. After founding a marketing business in his younger years, Mattison made the move from sunny San Francisco to Los Angeles to break into fashion, and well, to get all cliché for a second, hasn't looked back since.

Since then the menswear game has changed in a major way. And while Mattison may be all slim silhouettes and skinny-minny lapels now, it wasn't always that way, if you believe the self-described former "little hood rat skater kid [from] Detroit." Yes, you read that correctly. Mattison explained further, "In junior high I was wearing Starter parkas, British Knights and a Kangol because I wanted to be Fab Five Freddy. Still do!"

Virtually the moment we walked into his Los Angeles home, we were more or less ready to get out bags and move into the Commune-designed space; with it's contrasting wood panelling, custom-built closet littered with pieces by the likes of Herbert Bayer, Ray Komei, and Victor Vasarely, we were all "Honey, I'm home!" We admired his immaculately-organized closet (emphasis on the immaculate), especially when it came to the racks of suited-up jackets and sneakers. Don't let the whole dressed-up designer persona fool you—Mattison knows how to keep it casual, too (so long as he's on the West Coast). "People think I’m this suit guy who’s strutting down Sunset Boulevard in a three-piece, but the fact is I usually have a blazer on with denim and probably some early series Jordans." Hear that, sneakerheads?

While giving us the grand tour, Mattison broke down the basics of Suiting 101 for us (and more importantly, Jake). The essentials? "If you paid over $2000 for a jacket and it doesn’t have functioning buttonholes, you done got robbed, son," Mattison enthused. Oh, and another hot tip? Invest in a watch and always carry a wallet. "None of this wadded-up cash with credit card crap. Unless you’re a drug dealer, in which case it’s pretty cool."

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