Matthew Josephs is FIT. Not only is he one of the most beautiful boys I have ever met, he is currently one of the most influential young stylists in London and, to quote his bio on The Breaks, he’s “praised for his sensitive take on serious fashion.” Matthew is a regular contributor to i-D, Vogue Hommes Japan, GQ Style, and L’Officiel Homme, and is Fashion Director of CLASH, recently styling Florence Welch for the cover. Matthew’s own reflections on beauty are not only seen through his styling, but also through his keen eye for street casting, which can be seen in many of his editorials and shows. I first met Matthew 4 years ago when we shot a crazy galactic shoot together in East London, and we’ve been friends ever since.
What is your name?
Is beauty related to power? Why?
Yes. Most definitely. I can’t describe why… it’s too complicated, beauty is one of those things that is beyond words.
Where is your place in the world of beauty?
Stylist? I dunno, sometimes casting? Picking the type of beauty that is right for a certain brief?
Describe your aesthetic.
A fantasy based on reality.
Describe the ultimate female icon.
Does this exist? There are women that I think are beautiful and inspiring but everyone has their flaws.
Who inspires you creatively with their use of makeup/body adornment or art?
Isamaya Ffrench obviously! Love working with her! She always pushes it in her work.
What are your thoughts on body modification and how it affects you creatively?
Undecided…it’s cool on some people—not for me. I’ve done shoots based on piercings and stuff with makeup artists giving models fake ones and I’ve used temporary tattoos on shoots—custom made ones. I think it’s a big thing to do to yourself. They usually seem painful and irreversible!
Where do you source your inspirations?
Video games, people, porn, the mirror, museums, the Internet (more specifically, Tumblr), everywhere!
Do you use different materials in your line of work? Describe the importance of this.
Yeah I guess, it’s not super important to me it just usually helps push ideas further by not being so limited.
Explain the importance of identity in your work. How does what you do affect this?
It’s very important to me. I’m not good with words and I’m kind of a social retard so I have to express myself through the images I make. I usually pick models that have some sort of resemblance to me or models who ideally I would want to look like. They usually end up dressed like me, sometimes in my own clothes. Also sometimes racial identity comes into what I do, people have a stereotype of mixed race or black young men (I’m mixed race) and I don’t feel in any way connected to those so it’s important to me to show other ways of dressing or attitudes of being on young black/mixed race models by projecting my self image onto them through the clothes and situations the models are in. Does that make sense at all?
How have you shaped your own identity?
By being independent since the age of 17.
What commission has been the most reflective of you as an artist?
Either a shoot I did with Matthew Stone for Vogue Hommes Japan or my first cover story for i-D magazine.
You can see more of his amazing work here!