Since its launch eight years old, the New-York based fashion label 1017 ALYX 9SM has affirmed its position at the forefront of international fashion. Founder Matthew Williams was renowned for his links within the music industry before transitioning into the fashion industry in 2015.
Inspired by the culture from his youth his utilitarian style and iconic roller buckle paved the way for combining high fashion with luxury streetwear. The 1017 ALYX 9SM collections often pay homage to his life, with modern but classic designs. Taking a closer look at the brand, here’s everything you need to know…
What is Matthew Williams’s Background?
Growing up in California Matthew Williams was hugely into the skate, surf and rap scene of the last 90s’. Befriending Kieth Richardson through soccer he dropped out of college for an apprenticeship at his clothing Label Corbes and relocated to LA. He ended up falling into the music industry, djing in a local spot called Spider Club. He later became an Art Director for Kanye West after helping design the iconic 2008 Grammy Award custom jackets with animated LED lighting. ‘There wasn’t much going on in the fashion scene in LA so the music industry gave him the freedom to create imaginative clothing.
After connecting with Lady Gaga on a night out, she asked if he would style her. Later becoming the Creative Director of House of Gaga. Sparking a business and personal relationship, Matthew Williams was catapulted into the public eye. As his career take off, he travelled with Kanye and Jay-Z on the Watch The Throne Tour. However, Kanye also had Heron Preston, Justin Saunders and Virgil Abloh touring with him.
While staying in London, the group were dissatisfied with the music scene London nightlife had to offer. They managed to get behind a DJ booth, and on their return back to America they made it official, creating Been Trill.
Becoming an internet sensation as social media boomed the collective gained a cult following. This was at a time in New York when a lot of designers were on the rise predominantly connected to the resurgence of streetwear. Releasing limited collections under the Been Trill label, these sought-after pieces were easily identified for their drip logo and hashtags.
The History of ALYX
After a sudden passing of a family member, Williams took a step back and decided to launch his own fashion label. Partnering with Luca Benini he launched his own brand Alyx with a womenswear collection. Later in 2017, they launched menswear and their first runway collection.
There were some major setbacks and he had to cancel his first two scheduled collections. US customs held the first collection when it came from Italy and then he broke his leg badly in a football incident. However, when his first collection did finally make it to the runway it was an instant success. Standout pieces were the chest rig and the roller coaster belt buckles, which many brands interpreted.
Relocating to Ferrara Italy Williams wanted to be close to the product. Striving to always create something to his best capability he worked alongside the factories. Some of the fabric they made themselves, which would be a year and a half in advance. Williams often designs to the strength of the factory, to unlock the craftsmanship that they specialise in. If the factory specialises in leather, then the designs will be influenced by that direction.
What is the name 1017 ALYX 9SM inspired by?
Originally named Alyx the name was inspired by his eldest daughter’s name. However, in 2018, Williams renamed the brand 1017 ALYX 9SM. 1017 references his birthday the 17th of October and the 9SM is from the address of the first ALYX studio, 9 St Marks Place.
Still shorted to Aylx the brand aesthetically looks like a serial number which is a nice nod to its industrial aesthetic.