It is often difficult to come across clothing brands that truly care about their suppliers, the community, and the planet as much as they care about profit. While the current fashion industry sees itself dumping half a million tons of plastic microfibers into our oceans and walking over human rights in the form of exploitation, Singapore-based online clothing brand MATTER has taken it as its task to craft clothes that bet on the potential of doing things differently.
A passion for human stories, textiles and travel inspired Renyung Ho and Yvonne Sunner to found a socially motivated fashion brand that partners artisans with designers in order to come up with one-of-a-kind sustainable garments.
People over profit
With their vision of making textile artisanship mainstream, MATTER seeks to nurture the cooperation between designers and craftspeople as well as to encourage clients to appreciate the origin and process surrounding each piece of clothing.
The brains behind this bold brand don’t see it as yet another clothing store, but as an actual driver for change to push the fashion industry and Asian rural artisan livelihoods towards a sustainable direction. The why, where, how and whom behind our clothes have never been as important.
Pivoting around provenance
MATTER’s business model revolves around the origin of their raw materials and the people who supply them. The duration of their design to product cycle, for example, is of six months for each of their goods. This is because they respect and take into account the seasons in which artisan production is active and inactive.
In other words, variables like the weather, harvest periods and celebratory customs are as much part of the artisans’ life as they are of the company’s. Making this a very special model of urban-rural manufacturing that, for the regular fashion business, would come out as plain inconceivable.
Ikat, natural dye and block printing are some of the traditional textile-making techniques that are employed by craftspeople collaborating with MATTER. This not only helps with the preservation of these cultural practices, but also allows them to flourish.
Once craftspeople have finalized with creating the fabrics, the textiles make their way to a fair factory that complies with international standards and whose workers shape them into unique pieces of clothing.
An item where the ancient blends into modern would be the best way to describe MATTER’s apparel. Heritage prints are turned into pants, tops and coats that will most probably stand out from the rest of the items that you currently hold in your closet. Their prints and motifs will inevitable carry with them the stories of their makers, making you – the wearer – an ambassador for sustainable fashion. Let’s be honest: the only fashion that is worthy of thriving in the future.