Matt resides in Seattle, Washington. He's a local in the PNW. We were lucky enough to get an intro to Matt this past Spring through mutual pals of ours. We had heard about this guy who had a stash of epic sewing machines that was super talented as a tailor and designer. So, we reached out on email with our idea : to make vintage six panel baseball caps out of antique quilts that we had been collecting for almost 3 years.
Matt responded to our email in his normal open minded attitude and we quickly jumped on the phone to take things further. During our chat we realized we had heaps of common pals in Seattle (we lived in there in the early 2000's), but just had never met in person. Luck was on our side for sure since it's not always easy to get people to back our crazy ideas, especially busy guys like Matt.
We recently took a moment to ask some questions of Matt so you could get to know him better. Matt not only has a lovely studio to sew in, but he founded a brand that we love that he calls Lost Lands. Take a moment to read some Q/A below with Matt. We hope you become a big fan of him and his brand, just like we are.
We shot the images for this interview with BNW (black & white) film and our Leica M7 x 28mm , Nikon FM2 x Zeiss 50m Macro, and Hasselblad 503cw x 80mm. Film was Street Pan 400 by Japan Camera Hunter and Ilford ( various speeds and type). Long Live Film!
Oh, and don't forget the Vintage Baseball Hat will go live on October 24, 2017!
ELSEVVHERE: How goes today? What are you up to?
Matt Noren: Good. Just (finished) working. Relaxing on the couch.
EW: So, tell us a little bit about your brand Lost Lands?
MN: Handbuilt menswear. Designed and sewn in our shop in Seattle. Sold online and out of a 1978 Value Van.
EW: Where did inspiration for Lost Lands come from?
MN: Classic menswear and rediscovering those parts of life lost to us at different times.
EW: How long have you been at it?
MN: Almost 2 years now.
EW: How about a little background on you?
MN: I’ve been sewing for over ten years. Started by making womens dresses in a factory in NYC’s garment district. Ran a brand of mens and womens clothing and accessories out of Seattle for 7 or so years, Had a couple stores, decided to close them and simplify.
EW: Where do you find the inspiration for your creations?
MN: A combination of what I want to wear, what I see being worn and what used to be worn.
EW: How often do you make new collections?
MN: Constantly and never. I focus on pieces that work seamlessly with each other from season to season. Some stay in the fold for eons while others might only be a run or two.
EW: We hear you like to surf. What do you find about the ocean that makes you happy? Do you do any other outdoor activities?
MN: It’s the source, bruh.
EW: What’s next for Lost Lands? What’s next for Matt Noren?
MN: We’re 3 months away from wrapping up year one. We’re on track to hit our goals and are pretty stoked about that. Year two will be about improving what we did during year one and figuring out year three.
EW: We hear you have an epic traveling / mobile store. Tell us how that came about. Where did you most recently set up shop?
MN: I’ve wanted to build a mobile shop out of an old bread box truck for 5/6 years. I had a truck before that I built out and then the engine seized and the crankshaft snapped.
Back to the drawing board. Found another one, very similar in build with a rebuilt engine. Fast-tracked it and went from concept to functional store in 6 weeks. We’re doing farmers markets and popups. Real grassroots. Our last excursion was the Fremont Market in Seattle. It’s every Sunday and we plan on being a regular fixture.
EW: About that last topic. Do you think you’ll ever tour across the country in your mobile store? If so, where would you go to and why?
MN: I’d like to go on tour with it one day. I’ve always wanted to be in a touring band, so this is my opportunity to hit the road. The plan is 10 popups with 10 stores in 10 different states. Hope to make it a reality in 2018 or 19
EW: Do you make all your own goods? Where do you make them? Do you make custom goods for people?
MN: Everything is made in our shop in the Sodo neighborhood of Seattle, WA. Our schedule is pretty full with Lost Lands and the contract and design work I do for other people so generally shy away from one-off customs unless its a good bud or a unique project.
EW: Do you own a camera? Or many? Which ones and why?
MN:Nikon FM - classic 35mm for fun, Hasselblad - for when I’m feeling artsy, Canon DSLR - for everything else.EW: Do you allow studio visits? How does someone contact you to visit your studio?
MN Definitely. E-mail is generally best.
EW: Is there anything you haven’t made in a while that you feel like you should make again?
MN: Bags. I don’t get to sew super heavy materials very often and sometimes like the challenge.
EW: Do you prefer to work with people that are anonymous or famous?
MN: Either way, good folk are good folk regardless.
EW: Do you collect anything? Why?
MN: Sewing machines. haha. I’m constantly trying to improve the quality and breadth of what I can produce. And socks.
EW: Who would sit at your dinner table if you had it your way?
MN: Probably Pharell. Dude seems legit.
EW: If you were a car what would you be?
MN: I could spend a lifetime answering this one.
EW: Sum up Lost Lands in three words.
MN: Classic handbuilt menswear.
EW: Current infatuation?
MN: Flatlock sewing machines.
EW: Roulette or Craps?
MN: Craps all day, but Blackjack should be a choice.
EW: True, we weren't thinking about cards.
EW: Anything else you want to add?
MN: Stay wavy.