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In profile: Matthew Williamson

In profile: Matthew Williamson

Is this your first foray into fitness or is it something that you relate to personally?

‘I don't use the gym but I enjoy the daily walks on Hampstead Heath with my dog, Mr Plum.’

The collaboration is visually very different from the monochrome sportswear that saturates the market. Did you set out to take sportswear in a new direction?

‘This was the perfect opportunity to offer the Matthew Williamson woman something new that also had a familiarity. It wasn't about taking sportswear in a new direction... It was about understanding what the MW woman would want from active wear: that is, colour, print, fabric quality and flattering shapes - a natural extension of what I have been working on for 20 years.’

Your aesthetic is highly recognisable and USA Pro are renowned for their vibrant patterned sportswear, did this make for a natural synergy? The collaboration feels like the perfect fit…

‘I saw the collaboration as an exciting opportunity when approached by USA Pro. I view active and loungewear as a key component of our expansion into lifestyle in 2016. I am delighted to be able to design for another part of every modern woman’s wardrobe - distinct from ready-to-wear yet important for their everyday lives.’

What were your inspirations behind the collection? Aside from fashion where else do you look for references?

‘It was exciting to try different shapes. I was really inspired by the women who work for me, thinking about what they might work out in. Some pieces are really tight while others a quite oversized (the long sleeved tee and the hoodie). It works well to play with shapes like that, to give a more relaxed feel.’

Obviously technical sportswear fabrics are different to your usual medium, how does that alter how you approach the female form?

‘USA Pro have real expertise in this field - their fabrics are designed with flexibility, comfort and stretch recovery in mind. As a designer, my focus needed to be the same as with my ready-to-wear - making the wearer feel both positive and at her best possible self - that applies as much if she’s in the gym in a crop top as in a dress at a party.’

The second part of the collaboration is due to launch for AW16 - what should we expect? Does it follow on from SS16 or will it take a new direction?

‘We are working on some new styles. Watch this space!’

High-end women's sportswear is such a big growth industry at the moment. Women want to invest in themselves and in a healthy lifestyle, whilst looking good. How important do you think it is that women feel empowered when they work out?

‘I would always hope that any woman wearing my clothes feels positive. Whether she is on the dance floor in a sequinned party dress or on a yoga matt in a printed leggings - she needs to always feel her best possible self.’