Matt Baldwin, named one of GQ’s menswear designers of the year in 2013, achieved his degree in Apparel Manufacturing from FIDM in Los Angeles. After working for various brands, Matt and his wife moved back to Kansas City and in 2003 and opened the men and women’s boutique, Standard Style. In 2009, Matt founded Baldwin Denim and Collection—a clothing and lifestyle brand, that focuses on modern design, quality textiles and American manufacturing.
YOU ARE FROM KANSAS BUT HAVE LIVED ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO MOVE BACK TO THE MID-WEST AND START BALDWIN & STANDARD STYLE IN KANSAS CITY?
Emily and I WERE ON OUR WAY BACK TO LA after a winter season working in Colorado and received a call from an investor to move to KC and open up a clothing store. We felt like it was the right place and the right time.
WAS DENIM SOMETHING YOU WERE ALWAYS PASSIONATE ABOUT? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Always. We opened our first shop in KC in 2003 and have launched every major designer denim brand out of our stores since day one. We became Kansas City’s trusted source for designer and premium denim, so it was a natural progression for me to start the brand with the category that I was most passionate about and knew both the product and the customer intimately.
WHY DO YOU MAKE WHAT YOU MAKE IN KANSAS CITY?
KANSAS CITY HAS BEEN INVALUABLE TO MY CAREER and raising a family. It’s been a test market for retail concepts and clothing development that has allowed us to expand the BALDWIN brand internationally. It’s been fun to shine a global spot light on the city I love and call home. Kansas City is truly a place where we have planted roots. This city has brought my vision to life and for that I am forever grateful.
“THIS CITY HAS BROUGHT MY VISION TO LIFE AND FOR THAT I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL.”
YOUR KC HAT IS A STAPLE NOT ONLY IN KANSAS CITY, BUT ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WITH COLLABORATIONS WITH GAP AND OTHER VENTURES. WHAT WAS YOUR DESIGN AND EXECUTION PROCESS?
I wanted to create a piece that represented the pride for our city that established a connection through association of color and typography with discrete branding. Simply put I wanted you to be able to #REPYOURHOOD.
“I LOVE CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH GREAT PRODUCT.”
YOU WERE NAMED ONE OF GQs BEST NEW AMERICAN MENSWEAR DESIGNERS. WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
GQ was definitely a huge highlight that has taken myself and the company into a whole new world of connectivity. I love connecting people with great product. Jay Z getting press for wearing BALDWIN was a defining moment for the brand. It allowed us to gain consumer confidence outside of the denim category that we are well known for. Overall, I love the process of growing, changing, taking risks that lead to progress. I’m so thankful and humbled that people have connected with the clothing, our stores and the team.
“I LOVE THE PROCESS OF GROWING, CHANGING, TAKING RISKS THAT LEAD
DESCRIBE WHAT MAKES BALDWIN UNIQUE.
Passion for what we do drives the business. You will not last very long in the clothing industry without passion. Our attention to details in fabric and fit with a distinct point of view with the branding has given us our position in the market. It’s always been about a sophisticated casual approach to the clothing and the lifestyle that brings the clothes to life.
“...A SOPHISTICATED CASUAL APPROACH TO THE CLOTHING AND THE LIFESTYLE THAT BRINGS THE CLOTHES TO LIFE.”
IF YOU COULD MOONLIGHT AS ANOTHER PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
WHAT'S THE LAST HOBBY YOU PICKED UP?
I’M CURRENTLY learning to play the guitar.
UNIQUE TO KANSAS CITY, WHAT IS ONE LOCAL RESTAURANT, STORE, OR SPACE YOU LOVE?