MEET MATTHEW MARDEN
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LIFE’S WORK.
I never thought I’d be doing this. A final destination in men’s fashion wasn’t my plan. I studied art history in college. My lifelong obsession with art opened up the fashion doors and I walked through, never looking back. Opportunities presented themselves and I went for them, starting at the bottom and taking time to learn the craft from those around me. To do something I never imagined doing and enjoying it the whole time is a gift. I’ve been really fortunate to work with and learn from some really wonderful people. Finding my true passion and loving it the entire time. It’s a crazy business but in the best way.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SHOE STYLE?
I’m more of a classic shoe person. The best thing about anything that’s classic is that it’s timeless and never goes out of style. The more they wear in, the better they look. I don’t think everything should be pristine all the time. A nicely worn-in patina is personal.
WHAT MAKES SOMETHING A “CLASSIC”?
A classic is something that’s been around forever because it continues to work. It never loses its purpose. Like a pair of blue jeans or a navy blazer. It’s not boring- it’s timeless. Like a penny loafer. I just love a cordovan penny. They go with everything. You can wear them all year long and they’re just really comfortable.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AMERICAN STYLE?
American style is authentic. Rooted in tradition, it serves a purpose where functionality meets comfort without sacrificing craftsmanship or performance. Confidence is key, allowing for an openness to individual interpretation.
WHAT ARE THE FIVE MUST-HAVE SHOES YOU NEED IN YOUR WARDROBE?
That’s simple: Every man needs a derby, a cap-toe oxford, a loafer (whether it’s a tassel or a penny), a white sneaker and a durable, lug-sole boot.
WHAT’S THE SOURCE OF YOUR PASSION, THE PERSONAL SATISFACTION YOU GET FROM YOUR CRAFT?
I work with one man at a time. I get most excited when I’m showing someone a new style that they don’t ordinarily wear or showing them a new option on how to wear something they already own. Then it just clicks and they’re like, “I can do this.” That feeling, that moment is why I do this. That feeds my sense of pride in my work, that I mattered, one man at a time.
WHAT DO YOU MOST ADMIRE ABOUT ALLEN EDMONDS?
The craftsmanship. I think the shoes are incredibly constructed. There’s a real attention to detail which is lacking in other shoes I’ve seen. Really beautiful designs.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR LAUNCH OF THE AMERICAN STYLE SERIES?
I love when someone says, “I never knew to wear this before. I never would have thought about this.” When you see someone really embodying the outfit they have on and having it almost become one with them there’s an authenticity that really comes together. Allen Edmonds crafts beautiful shoes. I hope to show how interchangeable they are, how they work with classic to more modern styles of dressing and how to shake things up a bit; provoking new ways to wear the shoes.
CAN YOU SHARE ONE THING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I’m obsessed with my cat, Lewis. I never thought I’d be a cat person, but we got him five years ago. We rescued him. I never thought having a cat would bring me this much joy.