Over on the Westside

Fashion designer Matt Bruening

Seven years ago, Matt Bruening made the bold decision to become a fashion designer. Since entering the unyielding fashion industry, Matt has created multiple lines, endless pieces, and has become a full-time slave to his trade.

Bruening graciously shared the details of his success and a refreshing perspective on designer survival.

Born in Mākaha, Bruening acknowledged his own tribulations about being raised in a less than perfect community. Although the 25-year-old designer is unmistakably local, his ambitions were unique and differed from the stereotypical “westside” Hawaiian.

Matt’s ambition to turn his design dreams into a viable career was done solely on his own. Despite any obstacles, Bruening attests his love for his community.

“It’s a strong community, I would have never, ever changed growing up there for anything,” he says.

Although signs portended a difficult path for the designer, he could always rely on his creative compass and mother, Vanessa. Growing up the youngest of three, he recalls the love and support he received from her.

“I hope I can maintain her characteristics of being strong,” he says. “She is the one who motivates me.”

After pursuing art at a young age, Bruening became hypnotized by runway fashion. He became obsessed with watching runway shows on Style Network, and ultimately found his new love – fashion. Being an artist, it was natural for Bruening to sketch and create.

Yet, shortly after embracing his talent, he discovered that his career choice required a great deal of emotional strength, and above all, patience. With both feet on the ground, a steady head on his shoulders, and a sewing needle in hand, Matt stepped deeper into the path of design.

The round-the-clock designer, stylist, couture buff and manager of Club Monaco is no stranger to hard work. Bruening admits, “I’ve been working hard my whole life.”

For the prolific designer, now is the time for what he calls “good measure.” His pieces can be found at Acid Dolls Boutique and The Butik on a regular basis, and he is consistently putting out new lines each season.

His signature bohemian-chic style concentrates on the perception of the human body. The designer combines bold pops of color and prints to creative unique dimensions. The oversized design element provides comfort while still maintaining an edgy, chic style.

“I feel like there are a lot of ways to make yourself feel sexy without having to reveal too much.”

Putting out new lines every season can be a grueling task. Will Bruening continue to be so eager in a few years? It’s in here, no matter if I pursue this career or if I decide to leave it – it won’t go away, I feel like it’s embedded in me.”

The Fall 2011 line of MB will be available starting November at Acid Dolls Boutique in Royal Hawaiian Center and The Butik on Kapiolani Boulevard and online at mattbruening.com.

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