In this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight I highlight an indie brand, Prestigious Clothing, from West Springfield, Massachusetts. I had the opportunity to chat a little with William Matte, Jr., the founder of Prestigious Clothing. William has been running his own line for some time now and has built up an impressive catalog of tees within the past year. He has definitely focused on branding and has made his brands name a focal point of many of his tees.Â
Prestigious Clothing is gearing up to release a brand new fall line of tees which William has been promoting heavily and which has got the tee community excited. William talks a little about his upcoming line, some of his thoughts behind the Prestigious brand, as well as how music has influenced his design style!
“The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.” William Matte, Jr.Â
Coty: The name Prestigious Clothing sounds pretty grand – how did youÂ come up with it and what does Prestigious mean to you? How would youÂ describe the identity of Prestigious Clothing?
William: Prestigious is more of a description than a name. The primary reason for the choice was the overall timing of my brand’s inception coupled with the limitless path it produced ahead of me. The opportunity for me to start a line of my own was almost like a dream come true. So many amazing artists and the brands they own/design for inspired feelings of hope and willingness to start something of my own. I was busy as it was- school, my old job, my relationships and related commitments- “Prestigious” was an escape and an outlet. It’s become such a huge part of my life, and I devote every resource I can possibly tap into this project. It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing to be at the helm of a boundless and opportunistic endeavor. The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.
2. How would you define the target audience of Prestigious Clothing?
William: The target audience of my brand is something that I recently discovered, as typical as that sounds from a company owner’s point of view; it takes some time to figure out who you want to market to and why on earth they’d want to spend money your product. My target audience is not one that can be pigeon holed or summed up in a nutshell, but overall my customers are members of what one could simply call an “indie” culture- I promote my Vegan ethics openly and my customers appreciate that. The integration of my growth as the owner of a young brand along with the happenings of my brand’s development substantiate the reality that fans, followers and otherwise potential customers like an involved and personable owner; a face to go with a name. This year, Prestigious will take on more of an activist feel in terms of charitable contribution and communal involvement, setting the stage for what will come.
Coty: The indie T-Shirt scene is increasingly becoming a crowded space. What are you doing to make sure Prestigious stands out amongst the crowd? What things have you done differently?
William: It is far too easy to fall into the anonymous void of a crowed or oversaturated market. The most important aspect of staying afloat is maintaining and preaching the mission of your brand. Customer service, unique and gracious offerings with every packed order, a personable experience that will last longer than the shirt material itself; these are a few things that brands should strive for. In terms of product identity, it’s been said time and time again- offer something that can’t be found anywhere else. This is one of the hardest things to do- offering new products that aren’t like any other line requires discovering who you’re marketing your product to in the first place; once you’ve done this, start planning on ways of supplying the demand that is out there.
Coty: You’re preparing to release a new line of tees. What about the new line has got you excited? Did you collaborate with any artists on any of the designs? When should we expect to see the new line and why are they not available for presale?
William: Ah yes, the long awaited early February release! This has got me extremely excited and anxious at the same time. This will be a three-design release, and it is largely significant because it marks the first “line” ever released by Prestigious- prior to now, new designs would come out one at a time, sporadically and without notice. This has been promoted and has the community excited and wanting to see what’s coming- but only a handful of people very close to me have seen it- myself and the designer/printer included. Jimmy Heartcore, of Heartcore Clothing and printmytees.com fame, designed this line and will be performing the printing of each piece. This line will be for sale in bundle and individual design form (the bundle, or course, will provide substantial savings). By the 10th of February, this design will be unveiled in full form, all for sale and ready to ship. I decided against a preorder for a number of reasons, one of which was that I did not want to sneak peak the line publicly until the day of the release- it is somewhat of an experiment since I’ve done preorders in the past. I want to see how this line takes to everyone since after ordering; each customer will actually have his or her merchandise within 3 business days in hand. Preorders are not history for Prestigious, but this line will not be available for preorder sale whatsoever.
Coty: From your MySpace and Blog I can tell that music is a huge in your life. How, if any, has music influenced on your brand?
William: Music is one of the biggest influences in my brand as well as everything I do in life, for that matter. I have played in bands regularly since I was 15 years old, and am currently in two. My family is very musical and it’s just something I’ve grown up around and had close by since day one. The music I listen to has influenced my art since I started drawing and painting seriously in middle school, through high school and into college. One of my favorite things to do around 2004-05 was to find a piece of brown corrugated cardboard, open a brand new black sharpie, toss a vinyl record on my turntable and doodle for various lengths of time. One particular piece in this new line I’m releasing came to me in full form as I was listening to “Devastator,” my favorite track on “Crimes” by Blood Brothers (2004). Any additional information will blow my cover !
Coty: You have a pretty large selection of items in your online store, which is your favorite tee and why? In retrospect, which tee would you, if given the choice right now, rather not print.
William: I released 14-16 pieces within a five-month span last year. Of the older designs, my personal favorite is “Deep Blue Sea” because I honestly have a very special place in my heart for big type tees! It has sold well and the color combinations are pretty spectacular- three shades of blue on an aqua AA tee. It was one of the first themed designs I released. Retrospectively speaking, there aren’t any designs I regret printing, but my least favorite would have to have been “growth” on crÃ¨me AA. The shirt is out of print and I only have 3 copies left in one size (sporadically showing up on eBay until they’re gone forever, something I’ve been doing for a few months now with older designs). It was intended to have a feminine feel and be very simplistic in design; the halftones and script came out nicely but I regret not printing the graphic larger.
Coty: Running a business is a huge endeavor. What has it been like to run Prestigious Clothing? Any surprises? Any lessons learned?
William: To reiterate, running Prestigious single handedly (customer service, order fulfillment, marketing, planning and artist relations) is extremely time consuming and mentally trying at times, but it is truly a dream to be living this out. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life now, as Prestigious provides so many opportunities for experience in the world of running a business in a poor economic state. It provides a limitless creative outlet where anything is possible. I’ve met so many amazing people, gained supporters and fans worldwide, and have contacts in fields I never imagined I’d be involved in. I’ve grown so much as a person thanks to running Prestigious, and it’s brought me happiness, pride, and success knowing that something I’m responsible for can include so many positive experiences and occurrences. I am extremely thankful for everything that’s happened to date.
Coty: Who are some of your favorite indie brands? What is it about those brands that impress you?
William: There are so many amazing brands out there with inspirational stories and history behind them, along with the amazing owners that built them. Some of the biggest influences in terms of how I handle my business affairs are brands like Johnny Cupcakes, Linty Fresh, and Crystal City Clothing. So many people in my personal life have encouraged me and been excited by what I’ve produced, along with people I’ve met through being involved in the indie tee community and new friends who’ve contacted me with praise, words of appreciation, and calls for advice. I can’t thank you all enough.