We had the good fortune of connecting with Matias Marroquin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Matias, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I was in college, I always felt like I was being trained to be an employee. I studied architecture and constantly heard my professors say the phrase, “this skill will help you be a great applicant for a major firm.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that the corporate ladder was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I was raised with the idea that one of the keys to success is monetizing your passion. I wanted to take a shot at pursuing what I genuinely loved, so I started Con / Fe. A fashion label inspired by my own leap of faith. It’s been about a year since, and I haven’t looked back.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started Con / Fe with a clear mission statement: American-made luxury encapsulating the spirit of Los Angeles. The name translates to ‘with faith.’ It’s an ode to my leap of faith into the industry despite the uncertainty. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to make my product here in Los Angeles, as ethically as possible, in an industry riddled with problems from labor to sustainability. After spending the COVID lockdown learning and developing the product, I’m proud that I can offer garments made here in Los Angeles using high-quality materials from the best mills in the world. I give back to my community by bringing Italian, American, British, Japanese, and French textiles to be developed in Los Angeles and give back to my community.
Ethical fashion to me always meant wage equality first. The most essential part of Con / Fe’s product is the highly skilled hands that made them. Made in Los Angeles for us means made with quality, made with purpose, made by the community. The average garment travels 16,000 miles in the production process. Ours travel less than 20. No corners cut; quality never sacrificed.
I’ll be debuting pieces from my Fall-Winter collection this September, and I’m very excited to continue to build from this first collection and inspire other people that making fashion ethically in the USA is not only possible, but it is also necessary.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To me, Los Angeles is one of the most exciting cities right now when it comes to food. You can’t go wrong with brunch at the rooftop at the Waldorf Astoria for 360-degree views of the beautiful LA skyline. I always take friends to VERSE in Toluca Lake for incredible Angelino cuisine and outstanding live music. My other favorite dinner spot is Shiro in South Pasadena for unique French/Japanese fusion. For me, a staple LA experience is picking up Tacos at Teddy’s Red Tacos and having a picnic on Venice Beach. Since my career is in fashion, I think walking down La Brea and Fairfax is a must to experience the birthplace of LA street-fashion culture or Melrose if luxury fashion is more of your style. LACMA is another essential stop, and if it’s basketball season, a Laker game followed by Woo Hyang Woo in Koreatown for unbeatable Korean BBQ.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Immediately a book comes to mind. When I first started diving into fashion, the first book I read was “This is not a T Shirt” by Los Angeles streetwear legend Bobby Hundreds. While my brand’s identity and mission are far from the same category as Bobby’s brand, I learned so much from reading his story. It made the journey feel possible because he was a regular first-generation suburban kid like me who tackled the fashion industry head-on with conviction and dedication. That book gave me the courage I needed because Bobby’s story was relatable, and it taught me that your mission and story are the most essential piece of your brand. Without something for the consumer to identify with, what’s the point?
Other: Con Fe Instagram: @confe.la
Photographers: Antonio Marroquin, Seancarlo Martini, Olivia Ahn