NZFT Grads: Matthew Baitson

We’re all counting down to what’s shaping up to be an incredible New Zealand Fashion Week for 2018. It’s creeping up rapidly and we can’t wait to see this year’s array of local talent hit the runway. One of the shows we’re particularly looking forward to is the Graduate Showcase. This trade show is an exclusive event where FIVE of our recent graduates will each show their own capsule collection.

We caught up with graduate, Matthew Baitson to get the low down on his lead up to the show. Having also just recently completed Project Fashion Wellington, it’s safe to say his label #botchedbybeth is going from strength to strength. We love his look, his energy and his hard-working ethic. We’re all SO looking forward to seeing his brand grow! Give him some love on IG or check out his collection (for purchase!) on Project Fashion Wellington’s website. Scroll down to read his story.


Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Matthew Baitson, I am 22 years old, I was born in Manchester, England. I moved from Raglan, New Zealand, to Wellington New Zealand in 2015. I came to Wellington to specifically study fashion and to hopefully one day live my dream of being a self-employed, self-sufficient fashion designer/house. I perform as a drag queen on the odd occasion at a club called Ivy, under the name Just Beth.    

When did your interest in fashion start?

My interest in fashion started back in high school, I’m guessing around 15-16 years old. I enjoyed dressing differently to the other boys in high school and started wearing bright, super tight skinny jeans and quirky t-shirts. I really enjoyed being bright and colourful. I got into photography in high school, thinking I wanted to get into fashion photography, but I found myself later on in the year wanting to learn how to make clothes.


What does your current role involve?

My current role involves working full time as a member of F.O.H. at Egmont Street Eatery. I have been hired to be a contracted Garment Constructionist/ Pattern Maker for an up and coming, local label called Bense’. I also make/design costumes for local Drag Queens. All while doing that, I’m also slowly starting on my own label #BotchedbyBeth.

What do you love most about what you do?

What I love most about what I do is, how busy I am, along with all of the opportunities I have gotten by moving to Wellington. I love how I am constantly challenged and being pushed to better myself within the industry. 


Why did you choose NZ Fashion Tech? 

I chose NZFT because they teach you from the bottom up, I hadn’t touched a sewing machine properly until I got to NZFT. I really enjoyed the social aspect of the course, I made lifelong friends studying at the institute. The Pattern Design Programme is where I really felt like I could create outfits and clothing, then going into Diploma really gave me the opportunity to find my creative niche and style.

Tell us about your experience with the Resene NZ Fashion Tech Colour of Fashion project?

I had the best time with the Resene NZFT Colour of Fashion project, this was where I really pushed myself on being creative and innovative. The whole experience was a hoot, from the buzz in the room creating the garments, to flying up to the studio be have a photoshoot and go in front of a judging panel. I made it to the top 16 and had the opportunity to showcase my Resene garment at New Zealand Fashion Week alongside all of my friends.


How would you describe your own personal style?

My personal style switches up depending on what mood I’m in. I have to wear fitted, black garments for my hospo job, so any other chance I get I like to wear ‘oversize chic’ clothing, like wide legged culottes. I love to colour coordinate my outfits, lots of yellow and light colours. 

Who inspires you and what’s the inspiration behind your collection in the Grad Show?

A lot of my inspo comes from Wellington locals, drag queens, my friends. Kinda cliché. The inspo behind my Grad Show collection comes from the Wellington queer and drag culture. Focusing on garment versatility and being relaxed, whimsical and colourful.


What’s your creative process for developing new collections?

My creative process starts with what garments I’d like to make, then take inspo from what I’ve already created and what I’m confident in such as shape, colour, theme.

Who are your favourite NZ designers or go-to fashion brands?

I really love Kowtow and Jason Lingard, also street wear brands like Crate Clothing and Thrasher. Yu Mei is my go-to for bags, and my drag sister #frocksbyfrank makes amazing, out of this world, couture outfits.


Any advice for current NZ Fashion Tech students?

Advice for current and future students is time management is key. Don’t be scared to ask questions and take on every opportunity with 100% because in fashion you never know when another one will come up.


Pictures by Bex McGill | Model: Jessy Lewis


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