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Behind The Scenes

Matt Singer’s Space-Inspired Vintage Finds

Nothing menswear designer Matt Singer does is off-the-cuff. So when Barneys asked him to pull together vintage items to sell alongside his impeccably cut shirts and smart, utilitarian bags in an installation at their Madison Avenue store, he thought long and hard, eventually landing on a NASA-fueled, space-age theme. These are four of the super-cool pieces he presented. “I really fell for this vintage Taylor weather barometer. The brass base has a nice patina, and the clear Lucite on the front and back lets you see the inner gears and levers. The piece measures temperature on the left, humidity on the right, and the falling or rising barometer reading in the center indicates the likelihood of precipitation—listed as RAIN or FAIR in a gorgeous florid white script.” “I’ve come across lots of rock and mineral samples, but I love how this small geode is held in place on the stand by the two brass screw heads. I really love the arc and the angles that get created with the stand, like a small planet tilted on its axis.” “For me, watches are one of those things that I have a really emotional, visceral response to. That Omega is similar to a watch my dad gave me that he got when he was 13. Omega watches—those were the models that were given to all the astronauts, so they lend themselves well to this theme.” “This brass astronaut sculpture is totally rad—simple and unadorned, with a good heft to it. It would be nice sitting on a desk in someone’s office. The brass has aged nicely and has a cool, almost pink hue.” [Ed: This one is up for grabs at Barneys.] Get on our email list to make sure you don’t miss out on Matt’s edition release on Tuesday. It’s on fire.
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Meet Matt Singer

  Matt Singer struck out on his own in 2009, not just to launch a line of shirts, bags, and eyebrow-raising accessories, but also to build a brand—a pursuit that he’s been prepping for since his very first job. After college at Ohio Wesleyan, the Baltimore-born designer made his way to NYC, wooed by the advertising world—specifically a job with TBWA\Chiat\Day. “If you have the talent and desire to be an artist, that’s amazing. I didn’t have that,” Matt explains. “I had this other thing. I was drawn to the mix of business and creative. When I saw really good commercial work or smart advertising, I was intrigued by it.” It was there that he met Andy Spade, who eventually brought him on at Jack Spade, then a men’s bag upstart. During Matt’s nine years at the company, he designed everything from their now-iconic canvas messengers to flyswatters and ping-pong paddle covers, all while, as creative director, exploring different ways to connect with customers through the brand. “When you have a really creative boss who is supportive when you want to do a project about losing wallets around the city and have a gallery show—you learn how to speak to people on a different plane,” says Matt. He’s brought this same ethos to his namesake collection, collaborating with such unlikely partners as the nonprofit organization 826NYC, which promotes writing skills in young students, and Idlewild Books, an independent travel bookstore in Manhattan. He’s also commissioned countless artists and illustrators. “There are traditional things about my line—making shirts and bags,” he says. “And then there are some things that are less traditional.” For a taste of Matt’s more offbeat offerings, check back for tomorrow’s edition. If you need a reminder, our email list is good for that.
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A Super Special Matt Singer Playlist

We’re here to give you the full Matt Singer experience. And that means supplementing the awesome (and very rock ‘n roll) leather lighter covers he made for us with a playlist that highlights songs that kept him fired up while he was concepting them. “It started off with song titles or bands that have ‘fire’ in the name, and then I expanded on that, adding songs that I was just really responding to,” the menswear innovator explains. “If I could put together the perfect concert right now, these are songs that would get me really excited for various reasons.” There is some old stuff (“I’ve been listening to this Richard Hell & the Voidoids song since I was 15.”), there are new jams (“I literally just discovered ‘Friend Crush.’”), and there are crowd-pleasers (Ol’ Dirty Bastard!). Click (or right-click) here to download the whole, 20-song shebang titled “Lighters Up!”—a Lil’ Kim reference if you didn’t catch it—and check out the track list below.Dying to see these lighter covers? We feel you. Click here to eyeball the graphic set. “Dystopia (the Earth Is on Fire)” by Yacht“Saturday Night” by Cheeseburger“Champion (Remix)” by Buju Banton“Don’t Move” by Phantogram“We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire“Wildfire” by SBTRKT“Don’t Watch Me Dancing” by Little Joy“Blank Generation” by Richard Hell & the Voidoids“I’m Straight” by The Modern Lovers“Got Your Money” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard“French Navy” by Camera Obscura“Something In Common” by Free Energy“Left in a Hurry” by Cannon Bros“Penthouse Suites” by Wise Blood“Friend Crush” by Friends“Sleep All Summer” by St. Vincent and The National“Dreams Come True Girl” by Cass McCombs“Hairdresser on Fire” by Morrissey“Communion” by Maximum Balloon featuring Karen O“Johanna” by Iggy and The Stooges
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