As part of the Liverpool Design Festival Matt Ford, our favourite Liverpool fashion photographer (whose work has been shown in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and SevenStreets – what an accolade), will be showcasing a retrospective of his career so far as well as a peek of what’s still to come.  Having photographed the work of the city’s most innovative designers including Kirsty Doyle and Nook & Willow, he’s certainly chosen his fashion friends wisely.  We caught up with Matt just as he was grafting away putting the finishing touches to his show…

Matt FordHi Matt.  What inspired you to put on the exhibition?

For the past two years, my work has been featured in the promotional material for Liverpool Design Festival. So this year the organisers suggested I go a step further and put on my own exhibition.

I thought about what I find interesting when looking at someone’s work and I decided on a theme of Liverpool fashion creatives, which is what has kept me in the city for so long.

What can we expect to find when we visit?

Well, there are 16 prints in total, spanning 14 local designers.  I didn’t want just to display the images by themselves, so to give people an idea of the personality behind the work, I asked each of the designers the same 4 questions, asking their opinions on working in Liverpool and how it’s affected their career.  Some of the answers I got opened my eyes to the potential Liverpool has for developing a credible style brand and thriving industry, but you’ll have to come down and read them for yourselves!

I also took poloroids of each designer, which allows you to see the faces behind the products and the items featured in the exhibition will be displayed next to them, Kirsty Doyle lent me a fabulous dress to display!

What makes working in Liverpool so special for you?

I’ve been based in Liverpool all my career and it’s brilliant to see home grown talent flourish.  From designers being stocked in boutiques throughout the country, to one of them signing a deal with asos, literally the day before we did the shoot.

Others are planning to bring creatives together to share knowledge and experience and it’s this drive that ultimately developed this exhibition into what it is. I’ve never had difficulty feeling inspired when I’m surrounded by these people.

You’re the first person to show in this space, what attracted you to it?

I find it really exciting using a brand new area, it made me feel I would be able to make my stamp on the place. It’s like having a massive blank canvas, a shiny and freshly painted room, what happened next was entirely up to me.

Which piece of work means most to you and why?

I always say this but truly, the last piece of work I do is always the one I’m most excited about. At the moment it’s a shot of local burlesque artist Millie Dollar wearing a corset designed by an amazing corsetiere called Booby Trapp. On the same night, I shot a video installation of her that will debut at the exhibition but out of all the shots I took that night, nearly 2000(!), there is just something about this one frame that I fell in love with.  I’m looking forward to see other peoples reactions to it.

Matt FordLocally, who would you like to work with next?

I’m really lucky to work with some incredible people and I’d be happy to continue working with them. For me, this exhibition is the perfect way to top off an amazing year.  I think next I’m just going to focus on developing some of my ideas and goals, I’m already planning a future exhibition  which will take me away from fashion. You’ll have to watch this space!

Stephanie Heneghan

Matt Ford – A retrospective:
Fashion outside the Capital  18-27th November
The Baltic Creative CIC, 57 Jordan Street, Liverpool.

Matt’s Blog can be found here

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