We recently connected with Jerry Matthews & Francesca Viamonte and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Jerry & Francesca thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s one of the most important lessons you learned in school?
Jerry- This is such a fun question because we met in college and started working together during those years and even founded our company near the end of our college careers. During that time, we learned so many valuable lessons that have really helped form who we are as designers, today. For me personally, I think one lesson that really sticks out to me the most is how to incorporate who we are, personality-wise as well as preferences into our business and designs. That truly is the foundation of our brand and how we even came together in the first place. In school, studying and growing with so many other designers and creatives, you learn pretty quickly that your differences is what sets you apart from one-another and it is what makes your design-process and aesthetics unique.
We both gravitated towards one another because we had such similar interests, tastes and aesthetics. I remember us first meeting and both being big fans of each other’s work(in class we were required to critique every classmate’s designs) and I have a vivid memory of us together in one of our first sewing classes both talking about how much we loved French seams and other fashion construction details. We were realizing that we both had such similar tastes in fashion and we even loved a lot of the same designers, models, and music, as well. So, later once we became friends and more familiar with each other and also after we worked on so many projects together, it felt so natural for us to start our company with each other.
Today, this lesson resonates with us as we really input our taste, preferences and passions into our brand itself. Who we are, is definitely infused into our branding.
Francesca- I absolutely agree with Jerry. To piggyback off what he was saying, an example would be: we both really love animals and also have a strong desire to protect and save our planet. So, we work really hard to have all of our clothing sustainable while also being cruelty-free. We learned together that to be fully proud of our work we needed to implement these qualities and standards. We both believe that this should be the way of the future, in all industries.
Also, another big takeaway from our college experience are the bonds we made in college. Luckily, one of the benefits of going to an art school is that we were constantly surrounded by so many other creative people. When we both met, we were blossoming into the designers we are today but we also made so many other friends a long the way that we still value and even work together on some projects with. We didn’t know it at the time, but essentially we were networking and unknowingly developing creative contacts that we would all mutually benefit from later in our careers.
And also, the beauty in us meeting and working together when we were so young is that we learned so many valuable lessons together, early on. We definitely have some funny memories together of us learning the ropes in class and even out of class in photo shoots and runway shows. I always say that the best experience that I got out of college was meeting each other.
Jerry: I definitely agree with that. Francesca and I have experienced so much together and it’s all been so valuable and such an amazing process. It’s crazy how fast time flies! It is definitely reassuring to look back at our college years and see how far we have come.
Jerry & Francesca, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Nine Muses Collection is a Dallas-based contemporary fashion brand that focuses on chic simplistic designs that withstand the test of time while also being sustainable, cruelty-free and all made here in the United States. The label was founded in 2013 by Jerry Matthews & Francesca Viamonte who met in college while studying at the Art Institute of Dallas. The pair has been featured in publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, as well as many other fashion magazines. They were nominated by Fashion Group International for the “Rising Star Award in Women’s Fashion” in 2018. Saks Fifth Avenue featured them in their 2016 “Emerging Designer Showcase”. The duo has even been named in Latina Magazine’s “New Emerging Designers to Look Out For”.
The Nine Muses Collection name is a reference from Greek Mythology, the nine muses were children of the goddess “Mnemosyne” and their roles were to inspire great artists of the time. Along with the reference, the design duo also chooses nine different sources of inspiration for each collection.
How’d you meet your business partner?
Francesca: We mentioned this before but we met in college while studying at The Art Institute in Dallas. We became fast friends when we were instructed to all critique each other’s work. We always completely understood each other’s designs and felt like we were on the same wave length. We were also referencing similar, if not the same, sources of inspiration and we valued the same things. We always loved to compare work while also showing each other movies, images or art that really inspired us. This sort of commonality we shared really made it feel really natural to work together. Before designing together, we started off working on photoshoots together. I think that’s where we started to understand our work dynamics and how we complimented each other. We are definitely not the same people but our differences really compliment one another. That’s really been a big factor in our successes. We both know that in an area that one of us lacks, the other will pick up that slack and vice-versa. We also know the importance of staying positive and not letting a small failure or hiccup bother us.
We’d love to hear about how you keep in touch with clients.
Jerry: We have dealt with a lot of custom clients and they have been the most loyal. We understand that when we design that we must keep them in mind and offer new styles that would feel both natural to them, as well as us. We have also learned to put our foot down and know not to let a client push us into an aesthetic that doesn’t feel natural to us and is not on brand. Consistency is key. We can proudly say that everything we produce is very much our aesthetic and we always keep in mind who our target audience is. I feel like once you have a good understanding of your customer and design aesthetic that your clients truly appreciate you for it and it creates brand loyalty. Releasing new collections every year has also kept our clients excited to see what new styles we have to offer. They love to learn which nine sources of inspiration we chose for the season. Also, we now only offer one or two small collections per year. We do this to be more sustainable. We no longer adhere to the outdated fashion-calendar standards. We truly feel like this is the way of the future and is absolutely key to being more sustainable. Instead of forcing out new designs on a specific old standard timeline, we now choose when we release new collections based on our target audience’s needs. Another added benefit of this, is that we have been told that it’s more exciting for our clients.
- Website: ninemusescollection.com
- Instagram: @ninemusescollection
- Facebook: @ninemusescollection