New tall brand alert!
We had the pleasure of interviewing a fashion designer who’s making her debut with brand new label Height-Of-Fashion, available online this fall!
Tall Sisters, meet the British-born, Australia-based, funny and inspirational the beautiful Natalie Matthews.
What is your full name?
How tall are you?
I am 6’3” or in centimetres, 193cm.
Where are you from and where do you currently live?
I am from the UK originally but I live in Melbourne at the moment.
What was your career before you started Height-Of-Fashion?
I actually started out in graphic design, and then I found myself working in marketing and business development across a number of industries. Funnily enough, I find that those two disciplines—graphic design and marketing–complement each other quite well, particularly for Height-Of-Fashion, since there is a lot of thought and creativity that goes into the whole process. Currently I work in eCommerce and Technology at present.
Tell us the story of how you decided to start your own company?
I’ve actually been nursing the idea of starting my own tall clothing label since I was 15. Being 6’3” options are pretty limited and I noticed fashion labels that did have a tall section would often sell frumpy, out-of-season options that tried to minimise my height rather than make me feel good about being tall. As a woman who loves fashion, I could never just find a cute, sexy outfit that I could take from day to night, or an occasion dress that would really ‘wow’. So I decided to do something about it, and put Height-Of-Fashion into motion last year. I think working in the world of eCommerce gave me the confidence and that final push to get out there and make it happen.
What inspired you in creating your designs?
A lot of things: what’s trending on the high street, fashion shows, events, art, culture, and what looks good on me/other tall women. I try to take inspiration from what’s around and accessible to me, so there are many inspirational formats I use and pull from to create HOF garments.
Who is the woman that needs Height-Of-Fashion?
Any women that is 5’10 and over. I guess you could say my target market is between 20-40. I’m designing colour, I’m designing trendy, and I am designing classic. I don’t expect everyone to love what I design, as you have to factor in preference, fit, and personal style, but there will be ladies outside of the above market that I will appeal to as well, so I wouldn’t want to exclude anyone at this stage. I am really open to feedback and want to know what I can improve for my customers.
Who are you targeting with this brand?
In a Beyoncé style shout out: ‘All The Tall Ladies!’ I want women to feel good, look good and stand out in style. Confidence and empowerment is extremely important to me and I want to literally stitch this into my clothes! There are a lot of tall women out there that are self-conscious about their height and I want to help these ladies feel more confident in their body. Equally, I want to help dress the sassy, stylish, proud tall ladies out there too.
What is your favorite design and why?
Wow that’s a hard question!! I love them all! But if I had to pick one, it would be my midi stripe dress; it’s super cute, hugs the curves in all the right places and makes your body pop with color. I designed it specifically to be a sexy standout dress. Everyone I have shown to-date has loved it. I even have a bunch of friends asking me to make a shorter version for them, so I think this will go down well with my tall team!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Haha! I laugh because my social media will not portray this at all, but starting up a business is a lot of hard work and late nights. I have to embrace many roles; to being the designer, the developer, right through to the logistics clerk and all in one day too! I am literally a one-woman band at the moment.
Generally my day revolves around doing a day job to fund Height-Of-Fashion and then focusing on the business in the evenings and weekends.
I think there is probably a perception out there that starting and owning a fashion label is somewhat glamorous. However, the actual process of it is a lot of elbow grease; I have to think of everything, from creating new fashion specs, to checking and testing specs, choosing the materials, deciding on the measurements, the cut, the sizing. As well as designing marketing comms, coding web pages, taking pictures, editing pictures, sorting data and barcode, delivery, freight, postage and packaging. The lot! And that’s only naming a few of the tasks, so yeah, there’s a lot of hard work, sweat, and late-nights that goes into it.
Lucky for me, I love it all. It’s my passion, so often I find myself willingly working till the wee hours of the morning to get through it all. The passion and excitement drives me.
What do you like to do for yourself?
Exercise, and catch up with friends over a good bottle of wine.
Exercise to me is what keeps me sane. It literally rebalances me, and makes me a better person. I think it’s really important to take care of your mind and body which is why I try to dedicate at least 3 days a week to it. And then, when I find the time, or rather, make the time, I love nothing more than catching up with my friends. There’s nothing like lots of laughter with my friends and a good glass of wine. Love and laughter are underrated values in this world.
Tell us about your journey to self- acceptance and embracing your height?
I haven’t really struggled with embracing my height. I guess being tall all my life has become second nature in everything I do. I love that it has shaped my character, confidence and now, has helped me connect to so many people all over the world. My height has become part of who I am. Growing up in a household with strong, loving (and tall!) parents and brothers helped me to learn and love the things I could never change, nor ever want to.
But being tall is only one aspect of who I am, there is more to me than just my height. I have a fun go-get-it personality, and desire to achieve many great things in life. Being tall is just a part of my existence. Yes, of course I get all of the awkward stares and comments of “do you play basketball” and the unsubtle “OMG you’re huge”. Yet, my confidence and self-acceptance are the two things that stop any of those comments from ever affecting me. Negativity is a projection of someone else’s insecurity and criticism. It doesn’t portray or reflect how I feel or who I am. I have only one body, mind and soul and the key is learning to love every inch of it. We’re all born different for a reason, but the most important thing is to love yourself just the way you are, right here, right now.
Do you have any parting words of advice for our Tall Sisters who might be struggling with their confidence?
I wish you would see how truly beautiful you are. I wish you could know the thousands of men and women out there who admire you and your height. Don’t try to fit in when you were made to stand out! There will always be judgment from others, and the world can be full of criticism when you are different, but if you learn to like your height then it won’t matter what others think.
Please don’t compare or be hard on yourself. There is only one version of you so try to make it the best version you possibly can.
Follow Natalie at @height.of.fashion on Instagram and Facebook. You can also join the Height-Of-Fashion list to preview the upcoming collection and be one of the first to receive exclusive access to this new tall women’s range when it launches this fall!