|Photo of Holly Rose (Leotie Lovely) by Shane Woodward|
This post is part of a 3-part sponsored collaboration with MATTER Prints.
In the fall of 2014, I discovered a beautiful, artisanal, ethical clothing line that I couldn’t wait to feature on StyleWise. The company, MATTER, had created a limited collection of block printed and woven “pants to see the world in,” and I was intrigued by the combination of wanderlusting storytelling, precise curation, and focus on slow fashion.
Co-founder, Renyung Ho, was happy to oblige my enthusiasm by answering a few questions over email, and one of my first Interview features was born. Back then, I could never have anticipated that we’d have a chance to work together on a series of posts two and a half years down the road. But I’m thrilled to share in their continuing story. This is the beauty of the the conscious consumer space: we’re all on this path together and every so often, when the timing is right, we get to reconnect with old friends for a few miles.
MATTER’s reverence for craft tradition paired with a clear understanding of style and storytelling convince me that they’ve got an it factor that separates them from your typical, ethics-minded company.
What they make is truly wearable art, the sorts of things you enjoy looking at as much as you enjoy wearing.
I’ve witnessed several ethical brands fold over the years, so I know that even solid ideas and enthusiastic founders can fail if the stars don’t align. MATTER has weathered the storm because they’ve been thoughtful and offered something innovative; i.e. they know that slow fashion should actually be fashionable and not just ethically sourced. They know who they are, and that matters.
|Photo of Holly Rose by Shane Woodward.|
Their new Organic Cotton Collection is the fruit of two and a half years of careful marketing, planning, and scaling. In their words:
Despite wanting to begin with organic cotton, we weren’t able to garner orders large enough as a small player to offset the production costs. Now, with how far
we’ve come and how much our community has since grown, we’re at a place where we can take a step forward.
MATTER’s experience with organic textiles sourcing can tell us something about the additional hurdles sustainable companies face right out of the gate. Caring about people and planet takes hard work, but it also takes money, and things aren’t always going to tick every box in the beginning. The important thing is to watch for progress and seek transparency from the companies we want to support, celebrating each small win. Or, in MATTER’s words:
We see sustainability as a journey of small actions; it’s about the decisions we make everyday, as individuals and businesses, that come together to collectively affect greater change. We began with the intention of pioneering change in sustainable production through thoughtful design, and we’re going back to those roots in our newest launch as we reintroduce our signature prints in a material we always intended to create with: organic cotton.
MATTER’s Organic Cotton Collection is comprised of two classic pant styles and a button back top in distinctive, traditional prints with prices ranging from $79 to $139.
According to MATTER, organic cotton is more structured than its pesticide-laden counterpart – not to mention kinder to agricultural workers – and will soften nicely over time.
I’ll be reviewing the Organic Cotton Sideswept Dhoti in a few weeks, so make sure to check back in for that. I can tell you from a preliminary try-on that the fit is great and the style, though certainly unique, feels appropriate for work and play.