After graduating in 2006 with a First Class Honours degree in Fashion Design & Technology, Rav Matharu gathered three years of experience as a Head Designer. Despite his time being productive, with many designs receiving the approval of the biggest retailers around, Rav stepped out to found his own label, clothsurgeon.
With a focus on combining luxury tailoring with street and sportswear, Rav caught the attention of fashion enthusiasts and moguls worldwide. Furthermore, the designer evidently caught the attention of Absolut Vodka, with the two now teaming up to produce a singular t-shirt design.
Each tee features fabrics from across the world, specifically, places most meaningful to the Creative Director. From technical jersey from Japan, recycled slub from India, heavy jersey from the USA, mercerized organic cotton from Italy and locally sourced cotton collar ribbing from England, the materials came together under Rav's hand.
We were lucky enough to send some questions Rav's way, here is what he had to say.
WHAT GARMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF CREATING AND WHY?
That's an impossible question, my pride is always short-lived, I rarely have time to stop and admire the creation it’s onto the next thing, or how can it be improved. It's an obsessive pursuit of product perfection even though I know I will never find perfection.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST PIECE OF CLOTHING YOU MADE THAT YOU REMEMBER WANTING TO WEAR YOURSELF?
There have been so many pieces that I finish and think "wow, I need that for myself!"
The first clothsurgeon brand piece was probably the RSMA-1, my take on the classic ma-1. I still wear it to this day.
WILL YOU ALWAYS WORK ON EVERY PIECE DIRECTLY? OR CAN YOU IMAGINE THE CLOTHSURGEON BRAND EXPANDING TO THE POINT WHERE YOU NEED TO MANUFACTURE ITEMS?
We have our own atelier beneath the studio, the craftsman below have many years of experience, I am slowly building a team to help the growth of the brand, we also have RTW and made to padre collection as well as Bespoke.
However, I’m always part of the process, as there are so many elements to creating a quality product, from design to pattern cutting to fabric sourcing and then every stitch details needs to be considered as those can often change the final look of the garment. Like Basquiat said “every line means something” so does every stitch.
WHAT'S YOUR PREDICTION FOR THE STREETWEAR SCENE'S FUTURE? WILL IT CONTINUE TO GROW? HOW WILL STYLES AND AESTHETICS CHANGE?
Who knows what’s really going on with the world, so it’s hard to say how long styles will stay. Having said that, styles are definitely moving so much quicker due to social media platforms.
I like where streetwear is it right now, the harmony of tailoring and tracks, something the clothsurgeon brand is all about.
DESPITE YOUR LOVE FOR SNEAKERS, IT SEEMS YOU MUCH PREFER TO CRAFT GARMENTS. HOW DIFFERENTLY ARE THE TWO CREATIVE PROCESSES?
Sneakers are what kick-started my love and obsession for the product and wanting to create. Nike Jordan 6 Infrared to be precise.
I don’t make shoes, I don’t really like to customise, I like to build from scratch and make an official product. Shoes also depend on very different machinery, I did add a vibrate welted sole to an AF1 back in 2012 and people loved it, stores wanted to buy it, a brand built a business on that idea, but for me, it was just personal project.
DID YOU CREATE THE OUTFIT YOU GOT MARRIED IN? IF NOT, HOW COME? IF YES, DID YOU CHANGE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FOR IT?
I had my suit hand made in Yorkshire 200 miles north of London, by experienced gents.
Sometimes you want to feel special and experience that bespoke service. I chose all the cloth, lining and details, they were just under pressure to get it perfect ha. It took a few fittings, and I think they were fed up of me, but it definitely lifted their levels too.
FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO TRY THEIR HAND AT WHAT YOU DO, WHAT'S THE BEST GARMENT TO START WITH, AND WHAT TOOLS ARE ESSENTIAL?
For me, the most essential part is knowing how shapes go together, how to manipulate the pattern to get the perfect fit. I would start by getting a mannequin and draping fabric and creating your one shape.
Alternatively, get a block pattern and modify that to how you see your garment, make a toile and then alter as you go, sculpt and chip away till you get to that place where you are happy. Guaranteed that will change in a month ha.
Get a sewing machine, maybe a domestic one, as industrial will be trying to learn how to drive in a Ferrari.
WHAT POSITION DO YOU PLAY IN FOOTBALL? ADDITIONALLY, WOULD YOU BE OPEN TO DESIGNING A FOOTBALL TEAMS OFFICIAL KIT?
I played anywhere across the midfield. I was two-footed so could play on either side…. I also used to write with my left hand up until age10, when I broke my wrist and had to write with my right.
I would love to! It's a very authentic narrative. I'm also a big cricket fan, and had convos with Nike India, getting involved in some way to work with the national team on some lifestyle pieces. That would be a dream!
WHOSE TASTE IN FASHION MOST INSPIRES YOU AND WHY?
Not just fashion but just as a human with incredible talent would be Pharrell, I’m a people watcher I’m constantly looking at people, what they wear and how they wear it.
DOES POLITICS BELONG IN FASHION?
Yes. We need to use every platform to promote togetherness, unity and doing the right thing. I don’t always agree with politics and how the world is run.
clothsurgeon brand name is all lower case meaning we are all equal and all one word, meaning we are all one, this is the basis of my upbringing in a Sikh household.
This is why working with Absolut is a great opportunity to collaboratively get the message across, our values align and our end goal is the same.