Matthew Demeo, 26

Founder, Designer, and Fabricator, Mateo Mattia

Most artists tend to flock to Brooklyn and Manhattan. But Matthew Demeo is intent on building a fashion brand—as well as a lively network of local artists—right in his hometown of New Rochelle. The Fashion Institute of Technology graduate is founder of the handmade leather accessories line Mateo Mattia, which he launched in 2015. He’s also the mind behind the New Rochelle Arts Collective, which seeks to activate the arts within the Queen City. Demeo designs, sews, and stitches each item in his collection, including wallets, watchbands, and tote bags. He sells from his appointment-only showroom near downtown New Rochelle, at nearby craft shows and pop-up shops, and online via Etsy, among other places—all of which have resulted in a quadrupling of sales since last year. People often suggest that he produce in greater volume, to reach a global audience, but Demeo says this goes against his desire to build a sustainable fashion brand. “I want my customers to know where their product is coming from, to know how it’s made and under what conditions it’s being manufactured,” says Demeo.

Wunderfacts:

• Mateo Mattia is completely self-funded by Demeo, and he continually reinvests in the company.

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• Before launching his line, he worked in architecture and industrial design.

• When it comes to bespoke services, he sees up to four clients a month. “It doesn’t sound like much, but each of their projects can last for weeks, depending on complexity of the item,” says Demeo.


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