Faculty design graduate Matthew Ashton is creative director at LEGO.
20 Mar 2012
Matthew Ashton studied fashion design at University of Brighton Faculty of Arts, but his successful career has moved him into a very different area of the design industry. Matthew is currently Creative Director for LEGO in Denmark where he has worked for the past 11 years, and is still full of praise for his early student experience at Brighton.
He has overseen the creation of some of the biggest-selling toys of the century, construction kits based on movie franchises such as Toy Story, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.
Most recently, the Minifigures he helped create turned out to be a bestseller last year. But it was actually a Barbie-inspired fashion project, which led to him landing the LEGO job. Matthew said: “I decided my goal was to be a fashion designer and got a place at Brighton where I studied on a four-year fashion course. There was one year of internships with fashion studios, including one in Como, Italy where I was working on collections for Moschino and Dolce and Gabbana and hand-painted some leaves on a dress that was then packed-up and shipped directly to Madonna. “My final collection was inspired by New York skylines and shown at London’s Graduate Fashion Week. Due to limited space most graduates exhibit one key garment but I wanted to showcase my entire line so I made miniature versions and displayed them on Barbie dolls. “Some head hunters for LEGO were at the show looking for new designers with a fashion background, saw my work and liked it.
After a year of freelance work I got a permanent contract and moved to Denmark." Originally working on craft ranges aimed at girls, Matthew soon moved on to the boys’ lines where his working day saw him develop new models involving castles, pirate ships and city life.
As LEGO’s senior creative director, Matthew is responsible for a team of 52 designers and visits film sets to study the layout and ensure every last detail of the LEGO version he’s working on is correct. This means he gets to meet big-name film directors Steven Spielberg and Jerry Bruckheimer and queue for lunch on the Hogwarts set between Emma Thompson and Rupert Grint.
The BA(Hons) Fashion with Business Studies course at Brighton prepares students for work in the fashion design or fashion related industries, equipping graduates with expertise in research skills, concept and design development.