“I have always been drawn to the allure of fashion, although I never knew how It would be a part of my life, or better yet, how I could make it part of my life.”

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Hand painted denim at its finest, meet 21-year-old designer and creative director Mathieu Arsenault otherwise known as “Leo” of Leo Current, a line of custom made denim jackets that are skillfully handcrafted and manipulated. Swiftly making a name for itself, Arsenault’s brand “Leo Current” has been acknowledged by notable public figures within the music and fashion industry, his pieces have been seen on Virgil Abloh, Metro Boomin, Theophilius London, Lil Uzi Vert, Roy Woods, Jazz Cartier and Yes Julz just to name a few. Arsenault has been creating 1 of 1 Leo jackets since April of 2016. He continuously strives to make a statement through his phrase “1-OFF”, simply meaning that his pieces are 1 of a kind and cannot be replicated.

 “The jackets I make are all hand painted, therefore making them 1 OFF pieces, something I have always incorporated into my brand.”

Arsenault was born and raised in Montreal, Canada but recently made the efforts to relocate to Toronto to attend a private college and pursue a degree in his first love, music.  While studying sound engineering, he began to lure his way into the world of fashion by developing relationships in the music industry.

Check out our extended interview with Leo as he speaks on his creative process, his influences and what the future holds for him and his brand.

 

Q: How did you begin customizing jackets?

A: The story of how I began painting, and incorporate it into fashion is quite ironic. I have always been drawn to the allure of fashion, although I never knew how It would be a part of my life, or better yet, how I could make it part of my life. For years I was focused on, and convinced that my career would be strictly in the music industry, as either a recording artist, label owner, engineer or something along those lines. I was at a point where I had developed many relationships in the music scene/business here in Toronto and internationally, although had not found my place within it. I started to pay attention to all the oppressed thoughts I had in regard to clothing, designing and fashion, and basically found myself expressing it through painting and art, my canvas just happened to be vintage jackets and clothing.

Q: Where is your line based out of? 

A: As a designer I am based out of Toronto Canada, Although I am working on some projects in Europe and the states in the new year.

Q: How did the idea of Leo Current come about?

A: In the music and fashion industry I am referred to as Leo, which is also the name I design under for my brand. Leo is basically an astrological reference to my moon sign. also referring to being a Cusp between two astrological signs. Current is referring to what is currently happening in the world around me, staying up to date with what is current. It also refers to energy, water, waves and the moon. something that ties back to Leo.

Q: Has your brand had any international sales?

A: I have sold a substantial amount jackets to individuals in the Europe and throughout the states, I have also been approached by quite a few international brands looking to stock collections of my clothes.

Q: Describe your creative process

A: My creative process can stem from practically anything, whether it be an idea I conceive, or whether it be mid sentence in a book or reference material. I go directly from my mind to the clothing I am making. There is no step in between or rough drafts of my art. It is all conceived on the spot.

Q: What questions do you ask yourself before you start creating a new piece?

A: The main question I ask myself when I am making art is, will this resonate with people? Do people take the time to be as analytical as myself in regards to all the details in my art. How do the words and images I create make people feel? What emotions do I want to evoke?

Q: What are your goals for Leo Current? 

A: My goals as a designer are to continue to create my Leo clothing brand, most definitely moving deeper into the high fashion realm, designing clothing and having my own access to manufacturing. I plan on designing and working with Kanye West, Virgil Abloh, Asap Bari and Rocky in the new year, along with some designers and companies that I am currently inspired by in the streetwear and high fashion world.

Q: Who are some of your influences? 

A: In regard to art, and the creative process, Jean Michel Basquiat is by far my largest influence. I was born on the same date as Jean-Michel Basquiat ( December 22nd) which makes us both the same astrological cusp. We have a very similar method of thinking and navigating the creative and analytical world. In regard to fashion, my biggest influence would be Raf Simmons. Someone who is always evoking such profound emotions through his clothing and designs.

Q: What does the future hold for you and your brand? 

A: The future of Leo as a designer/creative director is quite Vast, I am attempting to break down the barrier between being artist, designer and celebrity. Something that I don’t currently see happening. I am going to navigate my way deeper into the high fashion world, along with streetwear.

Q: How can the audience keep up with you and purchase your pieces?

The best way to stay up to date with everything that is happening, is to visit the leocurrent.com online store/gallery and drop your email address to get updates as soon as their available. Also give me a follow on Instagram @leo.current Twitter: @leo_current & Facebook: Leo Current

About The Author

21 year old aspiring model and editor. Student at North Carolina A&T State University. I appreciate all aspects of art. Keep up with me Twitter @theBaronBleu & Instagram @baronbleu

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