As the owner and founder of Inside Studios, 28-year-old Ash Mateu, is considered one of the most influential women in fashion in Argentina. Having graduated from the University of Palermo as a fashion consultant, Mateu founded Inside Studios in 2015 with the concept of training a new generation to revolutionise the local fashion business scene. We, at The Clothing Lounge, sat down with Mateu to discuss all things Inside Studios.
Ash, what are your best tools as a professional? What sets you apart from the other stylists?
What differentiates me as a stylist is that I will always prioritise how the women looks and if they feel beautiful when they look at themselves. It isn't essential for me to dress them in high-end brands or in the last must-haves of fashion. If the latest fashion does not fit the person I have to dress, even if it's the best quality, the best brand, or whatever, I don't use that garment. I never prioritise clothes over the person. Never. When it comes to playing in the field of styling, you always have to be a little flexible between what is good for the person you are dressing and what is used, but you should always bear in mind that what matters is the beauty of the person.
What was it that pulled you into the fashion industry?
When I was younger I never really felt cool, and I wasn't crazy about my appearance. In my house, we never talked about fashion or had access to it at all. But I remember when I went into my last year of high school, I did a final project on how the use of fashion influenced history, in a more sociological view: How people communicated who they were or their social status through the image, and I thought it was incredible. I started reading and studying, for example, I read a lot about Coco Chanel in particular. I came to the conclusion that what woke up my passion for fashion was communication and what fashion enveloped; from what fashion meant to people e.g. their ideas and values, to what everyone wanted to convey, especially how communication has to do with what we feel or what we think.
Why did you create Inside Studios?
We created Inside Studios after, due to an economic situation, I found myself having to fire my assistant, whom I considered incredible. I knew I couldn't lose her, so... I suggested to her that we start to offer fashion courses and divide the profits between both of us. And, over time, that became a company: our company. When we sat down to think about how we wanted the course to be, the magic of the fashion world took a hold of us. It was important to us that what we were doing something that was important to us, something different, big, and with great value. Sofi, my partner at the moment, and I, are very demanding and we wanted to offer people a high-level course. We believed that the best way for out students to learn was for us to teach them through telling them the whole story of working in fashion. For example, we would organise shootings with our students where they would produce the whole set themselves. This way they would learn through that experience how to work with real and professional people in a set and how to fulfil the true role as a producer though action.
What is Inside Studios' philosophy and how is it transmitted?
The philosophy of Inside Studios is to promote the careers of young professionals and help them generate new opportunities. We manifest our vision by giving scholarships and individual talks. We believe that everyone has a voice and deserves to be listened to, and we always reward commitment to your work.
What matters to us is to be present in order to guide the students, so they know what they want and how to get there in the right way. We are aware that, today, experience makes the professional. We help them find their unique skills and what their added value to the fashion industry is. We support entrepreneurs and we push them to realise projects because we care about what they contribute to fashion.
What do students learn in Inside Studios?
We work on the idea that fashion has two major stages:
- Production process: mold, fabrics, colourimetry, trends and where the product is defined.
- Work with the final product: Once the product is finished, we begin to think about how we can market it. We study stained glass, campaigns, which influencers will use it, future clients, sales and styling.
What do the workshops at Inside Studios consist of?
Generating different proposals, shootings and portfolios.
What is the main goal of each workshop?
Our main goal is to create real experiences to train professionals. The perfect example for these is that we organise a trip to New York so we can participate in the production of the new line of Gigi Hadid for Tommy Hilfiger. We travel with our students as well so they can work on their portfolios whilst they are away.
What exactly makes a great workshop?
A professional who has a lot of information to give. This professional must be a mentor so that they can generate a connection with each student. This will help them to acquire the necessary experience to be trained as a professional.
How much importance do you give to technology and what do you think is the key to digital communication today?
Technology is everything. It's like a virus that got into us! From the manufacture of fabrics to the way we buy online today. Technology is everywhere. I find it spectacular and somewhat dangerous. In my opinion, the key to digital communication is to create a community since fashion brands have become a method of communication within themselves. Today the brands create loyal followers who want to be constantly informed about all the news; they are people who are organically interested in receiving all kinds of data that is related to the brand. Today brands have very diversified content according to the platform in which they capture it, ensuring that the users and followers of the brands talk constantly about what is happening. The main objective today is to have as many people talking about the brand, especially across social media.
As a mentor and expert in the field, what do you think is the key to success to stand out professionally within the world of fashion?
Work, work, and work. What leads you to success is years of experience in generating ideas and products, working hard, organising tasks, making contacts, and forming your brand. From my experience, and many shoots, I work very hard every day. I'm in more than one place at the same time, often finishing the day exhausted. I know that it is not the best nor the healthiest way, but in reality today I am where I am because I work hard and through the fatigue. I knew that, at first, not all results would be immediate, but that in the long run, they would work.