Was it your life-long dream to become a fashion designer?
I don’t remember it being the only thing I wanted to do. Playing piano, drawing and painting, dance were things I was drawn to… fashion became a different outlet where I could do all of the above in some way.
Did you study fashion?
Yes I did at RMIT.
How was the experience working for Donna Karan?
Oh wow that was nearly 20 years ago… Who remembers?
What motivated you to start a label at such a young age?
I think I had a real idea of doing something that didn’t feel like everyone else. I like the idea of creating something which wasn’t just about clothes, but about how to make people feel, to connect to clothes and that experience of wearing them that was the main motivation.
With numerous awards to your name, is there a career highlight that stands out?
Awards are nice, but I have come to realise that women wanting to wear my clothes is better than any statue I can receive.
Where do you draw influence for each new collection?
It differs, it’s sometimes the fabrics, sometimes my mood that dictates a palette, and then again I don’t know how to pinpoint it. I have been lucky enough to be gifted with imagination and being creative which means that things are soaked up and flower in my head nearly every minute of the day.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since starting Toni Maticevski?
Always be kind. Always pay people, Always go by instinct.
If you had your time again, would you do anything differently?
Some things yes and then again time has a place for everything we do. And sometimes time to get to where you are is what it needs to be.
What advice would you give to a young emerging designer?
There are too many people with advice. Only take and listen to the one you ask for.
Are business skills as important as one’s design skills?
Absolutely. I have come to respect the business side and it actually feeds my creativity now. I found it so hard at the beginning. That’s part of it being exciting, learning new things all the time. I mean isn’t that what fashion is about… New things, new ways, new ideas?
Is social media a vital part of your marketing efforts?
Yes it is, its been a great way to showcase my work to an audience that isn’t relevant on some ego telling people who and what they should like. So I am all for social media and people making up their own minds if they like someone’s work and ideas.
Is it an important exercise to show at MBFWA every year?
It has been, it’s a great platform and we have devised our strategy in a way that works for us. Its not really great at selling for us at that time but its concentrated and I think has proved itself for amazing designers to really shine.
Are there any famous clients you love to dress?
Yes but most are now my friends and I dress them because I admire them and they love what I do. Celebrity can be a tricky game and not always a win.
How important is your wholesale business to your brand’s success?
It’s grown, but there are so many facets to my business that if one falls short another picks up so it’s a good balance and keeps it interesting.
Does the future of the Australian fashion industry look bright?
It’s hard to say, I think the future of Australian design is bright, the industry is still a little closed off and sides with its favourites, but that’s fashion. I think that the local fashion audience is probably the strongest in terms of supporting local designers. I think that’s a credit to great design and also to a great culture of design appreciation in Australia.
Describe your own personal style?
I’m on the cusp of sporty, suited and relaxed. Basically I can’t stick to a theme when it comes to dressing myself.
Do you have a favourite designer?
Locally, too many I mean to name them will take up the rest of the page, internationally I always loved Galliano and McQueen, probably as they were at the pivotal part of my understanding of fashion. Mr. Valentino has and will always be someone I admire as a design vocabulary, and then there are the masters, Balenciaga, Vionnet, Madame Gres.
Where do you see your brand in 2025?
Oh fuck who knows. I mean next year could see us using a new platform that could revolutionise the world. I love adapting and creating to change.
You can find Toni Maticevski on Instagram @toni_maticevski