Designer, Los Angeles
Why I love him: His work is edgy, it’s different and it’s memorable.
When was the first time you noticed that fashion was something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?
I don’t know that there was a point that I made the distinction. Most of my life I have been interested in how things were made. From an early age I would take things apart and try to put them back together. As I got older, I learned more about tools and expanded my skill sets which lead me to leatherwork. I have always preferred unique pieces over something mass-produced.
What made you want to pursue design vocationally as opposed to it just being a hobby?
There came a point when I was spending all my time making leather pieces. It was what I enjoyed to do with my time, so a few years back I decided it was time to focus on this as a career. The transition wasn’t easy, but being able to spend my days doing what I enjoy is worth it.
What was your training in design?
I don’t have any formal training in design. I’m self-taught. I’ve read lots of books, watch tons of videos, experiment with techniques and make plenty of mistakes. I don’t think this will ever change. Leatherwork is a skill I will continuously work at.
When you begin designing new garments, what is the starting point for you?
Sometimes I do a sketch before I start, but usually I just start cutting leather and see where it takes me. I like being fluid in my approach. Some of my favorite designs have come from experimenting and taking a chance. This approach certainly has its drawbacks…many times I have had to start over or walk away till I figure out what the right direction is.
There’s a lot of competition out there. How do you separate yourself from the pack?
I focus on craftsmanship and delivering something my clients can call their own. A well-made product will outlast anything made quickly from cheap materials. And if the person who owns it really loves it, they will wear and use it for years.
The internet has changed the fashion industry in numerous ways. How has that helped you?
It’s allowed me to be aware and learn more about my craft and have a greater access to supplies, photographers, and models. Social media is a very useful tool and it certainly makes it easier for me to put my work out there for people to find. But, I try not to stress too much about it.
Fashion blogs and style bloggers are front row at Fashion Week, something that didn’t happen ten years ago. Ten years from now, what do you hope the fashion industry looks like/is headed?
I’d like to see the industry focus more on quality then trends. So many of the great designers made timeless pieces that stood up over the years, I think as a society we are overwhelmed with what we have access to and spend too much energy looking for the next cool thing.
Who is your client?
Anyone looking for a unique leatherwork that will last. I prefer to only make something once. Even on the pieces that look similar I make changes to the cut, strap thickness, or stud placement to end up with a unique item. Though I have designs I will remake, I prefer to work with my client to create something unique and personal for them.
What was it like the first time you saw someone wearing your designs in real life?
It’s quite exhilarating when I was able to starting putting my work on people, doing fashion shows and photoshoots. It really came to life when that happened.
For more on Joshua and his designs, head over to www.maddoxleatherdesign.com
Header photo by Dikka Afidick. Model: Angel Rutledge