Abigail Stern, dynamo fashion designer of technical performance intimates / apparel company Matek, has an irrepressible zest for art, creativity, music, and Israel. We sat down with her to learn more.
How are you involved with AFIPO?
My whole family’s been involved with the organization for years, since before I was born. My grandma, Jane Stern Lebell, is a huge advocate of AFIPO and has always taught me the importance of supporting Israel and the arts.
Do you have other connections to Israel?
My mom is Israeli, and my whole family on her side lives in Israel. I visit at least once a year. I love having the option of feeling like a tourist as I explore the country, or a local as I do things with my extended family there. Since my whole family is involved in artistic pursuits, continuing arts and music education in Israel is important to us.
What do the arts mean to you personally?
As the owner and designer of Matek — a winter clothing brand meant for skiing and snowboarding but can also be worn in everyday life — creativity is part of my livelihood. I’m always immersed in fashion design, which is grounded in art theory. Different artforms serve as sources of inspiration for me, and seeing those different avenues, whether it’s conducting or painting or playing music, really broadens my creativity.
You were originally an East Coaster but now live in L.A. What do you think of the art scene out west?
I enjoy going to art galleries and museums downtown. I’ve taken part in one-of-a-kind L.A. art experiences like tours that go into people’s homes and lawns to look at their sculptures. I also must mention the renowned Walt Disney Concert Hall. I love attending concerts there.
As a life-long creative, tell us: What’s the key to the longevity of classical music and other arts?
First and foremost, there needs to be an educational basis for people as they go through school. Music education has infinite psychological and health benefits attached to it, and it gives children that first bit of exposure to something that could become a lifelong hobby or skill—or sometimes even career.
Secondly, accessibility is a big part of the success of classical music and arts. People hold preconceptions about classical music or fine arts, and it’s difficult to get them to forget those and simply go to a concert, attend a showing, or go to a museum. We need to work together to figure out a solution to making fine arts approachable for everyone. And it’s more important than ever to put the phone down, or close the laptop, and be in a beautiful environment, listening to beautiful music. It’s a form of meditation that we need today.
Abigail Stern is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and former Technical Developer for NIKELAB. In 2018, she founded the Matek label. She currently resides in Los Angeles.