Matt Brodrick didn't plan on a career in fashion. He was born into a family of engineers, teachers, and doctors, but the Cali native strayed from the norm and found himself in the world of design. "I was actually running the finance department for a company before I made the move," Matt told Maxim. "I would say I'm self taught and learned from talented designers along the way. Design is a gift you can enhance with schooling, however, if you don't have it, you probably never will."
Following his passion, Matt partnered with his brother to found Freenote back in 2013, a classic American menswear company that prides itself on high level of craftsmanship with a contemporary, tailored fit. "I love vintage apparel and mixing those details into construction of our product," he says. "The goal is to create a look that has hints of the past without looking like you are showing up to a Civil War reenactment."
While Matt and his brother have very different personalities, the two trust each other to get the job done. And as a relatively fresh brand, there's plenty in store for the boys and Freenote. "There really isn't much the world hasn't seen yet," Matt says. "Freenote will continue to make products that possesses hints of the past."
With some downtime, Matt filled Maxim in on the item every guy must own, Cali vintage style, and making your own clothes.
I usually carry my Nikon D610 camera and Thrux Lawrence duffel with me. You never know when a great photo is going to present itself and the bag helps me lug around all of my samples.
My favorite item of clothing is a pair of our Trabuco Denim made from dead stock denim from the 30’s. The denim has a very unique indigo color and selvedge accent. We are working on creating our version of this denim for the future.
When I was managing a design department at a previous company, I used to obsess over analyzing information from fashion forecasting sites. Eventually you get to the point of making up your own color story and design. You just start to fall into the rhythm and start trusting yourself.
Every guy must own a good pair of jeans. You can wear them anywhere. If you can afford it, you can’t beat selvedge denim. They break in the best and the quality is hard to beat.
To keep up appearances, I use Byrd classic pomade, Manready Mercantile apothecary, and my French buddy hooked me up with some Lierac. He says it is cocaine for the face. Not sure what that means but it does have an invigorating feeling.
With any downtime, I would take my family and friends down to San Onofre Beach for a BBQ and surf. I live about five minutes from this beach and it has an amazing vibe. The waves are not particularly the best (for that I go around the corner to Trestles) but the atmosphere feels like vintage California.
I do not shop as much as I used to. I am extremely lucky — if I really want something, I have the ability to make it. If this were not the case, I would shop at my favorite stores: North Menswear in Laguna, Standard & Strange in Oakland, AB Fits in San Francisco, Today Clothing in Ann Arbor, and Martin Patrick 3 Minneapolis; and there is nothing like the crew at Manready Mercantile in Houston.
I'd want to see Alison Mosshart from The Kills and The Dead Weather on Maxim Hot 100. Her overall style and demeanor is pure rock and roll. She looks like she could eat you and spit you out.
As for what's next, I'll be expanding the Freenote collection with new categories. We travel a ton and demand solid luggage that can take a beating.