Following your dreams might seem like something only for the very young, but shoe designer Matt Bernson is proof positive that it’s never too late. After graduating from Indiana University with a Business Finance degree, Bernson decided to eschew the traditional banking path and instead, opted to take some time off. This break lead Bernson to a variety of odd jobs, including stints working at a tennis club in New Orleans and, later, working construction in New York. During this time, he took a trip to India to attend a ten-day talk hosted by the Dalai Lama. While hunting for a souvenir for his girlfriend (now his wife), he came across a handmade sandal. This immediately sparked Bernson’s creativity, and he decided he might like to try and make his very own shoes.
With the help of his jewelry designer mother, Bernson crafted his first sandal: a jewel-embellished flip-flop with a comfortable padded sole. The shoe was an instant success and, in 2005, the self-taught designer officially launched his eponymous collection. Combining “Sex + Comfort,” Bernson’s shoes are always ahead of the style curve and frequently featured in fashion magazines as wide ranging as Lucky to international editions of Vogue.
We recently chatted with the talented designer about some of his best and worst habits. Read on to discover his thoughts about going to the gym, Mallomars, and the importance of taking walks.
What’s the one habit you have that changed your life for the better?
Walking to and from work every day, no matter what the weather, with my dog Abraham. It clears my head in the morning and I get to walk by the Hudson River and experience some nature. At night on my way home I think about the day and try to get inspiration for tomorrow.
What’s the one habit you have that’s not so great?
I have a habit of thinking of infinite reasons to skip the gym.
What’s your naughtiest habit?
Post-dinner Mallomars might be one that I feel comfortable talking about in a public forum.
What’s your secret (or not-so-secret) style habit?
Christian Dior spray-on deodorant only found in Europe. It has none of the bad chemicals associated with deodorant and is pleasant, but not strong.
What’s a habit you wish you had?
I wish that I woke up every morning at 6am to run and then work out. I’m just not a morning person in that respect.
What three style habits should everyone adopt?
Have cool sunglasses on hand at all times.
Keep a well-organized handbag where you know where everything is.
Wear shoes with natural-colored soles no matter what the upper color. It is best to have a clean line to end your silhouette.
What three style habits should everyone break?
If you need a little height, go with a demi-wedge instead of a kitten heel.
Obsessing over trend and brand names.
Needing a stiletto platform to feel dressed up.