There’s so much in name. It defines us, gives us life – an identity. For DOPE Couture - the clothing line and boutiques- the name says it all: a fine-tuned blend of high-end and streetwear, chic enough to outfit today’s most style savvy artists and lure even the most femme fashionista. Their boutiques are masterful, and with one right around the corner, I find it more than difficult to stay away. Vintage Chanel, Gucci, Henry Holland for Le Specs sunnies, Grey Ant and so many more items to have my wardrobe thanking them for their superb taste in merchandise. Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Matte Fields, the owner and ‘father’ of DOPE, about the brand, his vision and how he finds such lust-worthy vintage.
Why the name DOPE Couture?
The brand name was just supposed to translate high-end meets streetwear and “DOPE Couture” embodies that. Dope is always going to be associated with street kids and street slang and couture will always be associated with high fashion. We usually just go by our shortened name, which is DOPE. In the future, DOPE Couture will become the women’s line, if and when we decide to do a women’s line.
What inspired you to start your own clothing line and boutiques?
I’ve always been a consumer and I wanted to cross over and see what the other side was like. I dug it and it worked. So, I just kept doing it.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your brand and boutiques?
If they ask about the brand, I would tell them it’s high-end streetwear and if they ask about the boutiques, I’d same the same. But, I’d also tell them that the boutique is a combination of high-end brands and streetwear. We carry vintage Chanel, Gucci, vintage Cartier, high-end accessories, along with labels such as Wings + Horns, Comme des Garcons, MCM..all sorts of different stuff.
Did you carry the higher-end lines from the inception, or did it evolve into being what it is today?
Very early on we did pick up some higher-end labels such as Ksubi denim and Comme des Garcons Play and it sort of started there. I’ve always been into high-end clothing and accessories, but I could never really afford it in the beginning. As the company grew and I’ve had the opportunity to expand the brands we carry, I did.
What is your process for creating looks for your lines, but also selecting brands and vintage for the boutique?
For the vintage pieces, we just pick and choose whatever we see at the moment. I work with a vintage brands company to secure all of the vintage pieces for the store. It’s really just going where I feel it. In terms of my line, the phrase that’s been going through my head is “Is this going to work? Is this hard?” If I’m looking at a T-shirt, I think, “Is this hard?”…”Is this design hard?” Is it streetwear, masculine, making a statement…that’s what’s been going through my head. That phrase you won’t even see translated until Fall of this year, and from there, I think Spring is going to be crazy. I don’t even want to wait for all of this cool shit that I’ve come up with. I’m just going to drop some of it and then release it in the main line later so you can watch me push the boundaries.
What made you want to establish a second boutique in LA?
We’ve been producing clothes here since early on, so it made sense from a production standpoint. By establishing the boutique here in LA, we can be more hands on as well as expand our reach.
Why did you decide to establish your first boutique in Indiana?
I was there going to school and saw a need for it. I’m from Indiana and I knew that if I was going to start everything off, that was the perfect place to do it. It was the perfect place for me to have a stepping stone and grow the business.
Who is the DOPE customer?
It’s so many different people. You can wear our clothing in a lot of different ways and it looks new and different. For the most part, our customer wants to be affiliated with a more independent label. They want to put something on that isn’t available everywhere. When you walk into our store, you’re going to find exclusive items. I’m just trying to make pieces that are unique. At this point, if you look at us and you look at other streetwear brands, we’re a baby. Crooks & Castles, The Hundreds, Diamond Supply, those are the grandfathers of streetwear right now. When I’m in LA, that’s who I think about. I look up to them and we are nowhere near there level. I think the DOPE Couture customer wants something unique even in streetwear. If they choose us over some of those other brands who also have great designs, then it says something about them wanting a piece that’s more low key.
What I love about your boutique is that beyond streetwear, you have an amazing selection of vintage pieces. That aspect of your brand draws a completely different subset of people into the store, who then connect to your aesthetic because you have that broader appeal…
I think that case more than anything is foreshadowing the future. I eventually want to do something more high-end. My goal is to have a streetwear brand that epitomizes high-end streetwear. From fabric choices and fabrication to the construction and exclusivity.
What in terms of fashion currently inspires you?
I’m blown away that Trussardi was doing Native and camo 4 years ago and right now that’s going to be the hottest thing is streetwear for 2012 – Taking camo to the next level.
454 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Mon-Sat 11a-7p, Sun 12p-6p