Ethical & Sustainable Fashion, FASHION

Your Choice Matters x MATTER

October 4, 2017

Side swept dhoti pants- c/o MATTER

Many of you that follow my blog closely would’ve noticed my shift to a more conscientious wardrobe, in the past year or so. The more I read about why ethical fashion matters, the more I regret and ponder over my past choices- a perfect example of ignorance blinding our decisions. It honestly took me just one reason to change my callous shopaholic-consuming pattern to a more slow fashion path- I can’t in good conscience continue feeling great in an inexpensive outfit made by people under inhumane conditions!

Would you feel great in a pair of jeans that’s manufactured by underpaid garment workers in a dingy sweatshop? If that reason isn’t good enough for you to change or at least develop an interest in learning more about ethical fashion- then I don’t know what can!

We often undermine the power of our choice, we end up thinking a lone voice cannot possibly change the mindset of a thousand others. But you know what? You don’t have to spark a revolution or bring about a change in thousand others- honestly, just one is enough! Change starts with one person making a brave choice- to think and live differently, and along the way hope to inspire others to make that decision for themselves.

A brand that shares the same value system is Matter– a socially conscious brand that works closely with artisans from India to design unique prints and deliver quality ethical clothing to the world.

Matter’s mission is to inspire consumers to value provenance and process, with an intention to know where and why something is made and by whom, matter!


T H E  S T O R Y

Founded in 2014 by Renyung Ho and Yvonne Suner, MATTER was started with a commitment to create clothing that tells a story. A late night conversation between two friends turned into a fund raising road trip from north – south of India, gave birth to this interesting brand, that intends to amalgamate the country’s cultural heritage in it’s craft.

Matter strives on transparency and providing utmost importance to it’s artisans and preserving their craft. They’re a socially motivated lifestyle brand, because they are motivated beyond profits. Matter intends to bridge the gap between artisans and the market by leveraging the design process that also helps in uplifting artisan communities all over Asia.

Matter’s main goals include,

  • Designing garments that are versatile and comfortable- infact their very first product was a pair of pants that were designed to travel and see the world in, interesting isn’t it?

  • Working with artisan communities with a curative philosophy inspired by tradition- sourcing traditional fabrics-prints and designing them into modern silhouettes.

  • Making rural artisan production process more sustainable, shifting the designer’s focus to the process, so that sustainable techniques/fabrics/dyes are borne in mind while designing a garment.

  • Inspiring consumers to value provenance, this one is the most important for me because businesses thrive when consumers relate to a brand’s ethos and begin valuing the process.


T H E  P H I L O S O P H Y

Matter has truly impressed me with their philosophy of focusing on the process i.e. not just the technical aspect but also on the people (artisans and their communities) that are an important part of their brand.

Their approach to make rural artisan production process sustainable is two fold- to design an alternative production process for the artisans to expand their economic opportunities and to enable the textile craft to thrive as a viable industry on its own.

Their main goal is to connect the artisans with designers and customers, to make their work accessible to a larger market. Matter is committed to a urban-rural production process, that takes a careful consideration of variants like the weather, water supply, local customs and harvest cycles.

Matter’s collaborative effort of bringing the designers and artisans together, is inspired by an intention that every print holds a story and every craft is a piece of cultural heritage.

T H E  I D E A  O F  S L O W

MATTER is one of those brands that truly believes in taking the slower, qualitative route as opposed to most fast fashion brands that believe in quantity over quality. Now as a full grown adult, I understand the importance of a slow-meaning life and I can totally identify with Matter’s idea of taking the slower route!

Matter thrives on the belief that machine made garments have no identity of their own, while a garment that is made handmade with love, carries a story in every stitch!

  • SLOW STYLE |Seasonless classics- Matter’s principles and seasonality of artisans production does not enable them to get into the rat race of fast fashion. They work towards designing garments that are appealing all throughout the year and focus on timeless classics rather than runway trends that fade with time.

  • SLOW PRODUCTION |Quality over Quantity- Matter was never a fashion label or desired to be, their focus is on creating the best product possible not the most. They believe in making continuous improvement to their products and process by the feedback from their field testers and passionate customers.

  • SLOW DESIGN |Focus on the Process- Matter’s keen interest in collaborating with the artisans is admirable and inspiring at the same time! Their typical design to product cycle is about 6 months for each of their product- this is because they work side by side with the artisans and making sure their inputs are incorporated.

Matter places huge importance to it’s design process- as most prints hail from a motif tied to a place and time with a cultural story of it’s own. Their main interest lies in retelling and translating this story in a way that resonates/connects with the modern audience.

S I D E  S W E P T  D H O T I  P A N T S

Introduced by Matter as “the pants to see the world in” this pair embodies everything the brand stands for and more. I picked a bright brick-red colored dhoti pants, they definitely come no where close to your traditional cotton pants. Created with an unique design approach and made perfectly for the traveller in you- they fit comfortably well  and are so fun!

Interestingly inspired by multifold drapes of the Indian Dhoti, this is an edgier version designed for the modern audience. It’s expressive side sling and versatile wrap fit can be easily styled in several ways. Made from 100% light weight cotton fabric, these pants are a conversation starter as they instantly catch the eye. Weaved in Pochampally and stitched in Delhi,India, these pants truly symbolize MATTER and carry the story it represents.

The pants are a loose fit, so you may want to style them with a tucked in top to balance it out. But honestly they are super versatile, so style it the way you’d like, go crazy or keep it subtle, really up to you.

W H Y  M A T T E R ?

The Dream of Connecting Artisan Communities

Matter truly believes in building artisan community networks that creates access to larger markets where in the artisan members can create heritage based fabrics that form the raw material for their fairly produced garments.

All their products/garments are a part of the fair trade community that comply to all international standards.

Their bigger goal is to mainstream textile artisanship, wherein the artisans-designers can connect and showcase the result of their collective collaboration.

They are driven by purpose and provenance over profits, and want MATTER to be the foremost artisan based brand pioneering industry change and sustainability of rural craft livelihood in Asia.

They follow a sustainable production process by producing in small batches that limits textile waste. They also work only natural metals and azo free dyes. Offcut fabrics are also repurposed to create their #mattermini line and jute bags.

It makes me super happy to be able to work with brands that are doing their bit for the people and our planet. Brands that value the hands that sew their clothes and want to bring about a change in this over-consumed world of fast fashion.

Join me in supporting brands like MATTER, because your choice has an impact and that matters!

Thanks for stopping by, I really hope you enjoyed this post.

Photography: Nikhil Adke

Styling and Editing: Swati Dixit 

This post has been sponsored by MATTER. All opinions here, however, are honest and my own.


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