Change Beyond Textiles: Matter Prints Partner Spotlight
Their unique approach to making rural artisan production sustainable includes championing alternative production models for artisans to expand their economic opportunity and enable the textile craft to continue as a viable industry. In doing so they have committed to a model of urban-rural production where variables that affect artisan processes like the serendipities of weather, celebratory customs, and harvest cycles are carefully considered.
MATTER is best known for their iconic pants, available in a variety of traditional prints and styles, each piece shares a beautifully draped silhouette coupled with a fitted waist. The prints vary based on the technique used by the artisan, block printing, handloom and Ikat are the brands signatures. Aside from pants, MATTER also makes everything from women’s dresses, tops and jumpsuits to a variety of accessories and even children’s wear. Needless to say versatility and creating seasonless styles made to last is of the utmost importance to MATTER.
We had the opportunity to chat with Co-Founder and Managing Director, Renyung Ho about her experience starting MATTER and where she sees the brand heading.
1. What was your inspiration to start Matter Prints and what is your proudest moment thus far?
I met my co-founder Yvonne on the beaches of Mexico in 2009, we were inspired to combine our love for travel, and cultural stories into a business. We felt that through design interpretation, textile artisanship would be a sustainable means of living and we thought that there must be many more people like us who value products made in this way. Over the years, we would meet up to do sourcing trips despite our different full-time jobs. The catalyst for getting Matter started, 5 years later, was a fundraising road trip called Fluk Fluk Run. My fiance and I covered 3000km over 2 weeks on a three wheeler auto-rickshaw for a fundraising road trip. In that time I fell in love with the country, met some of the key people I work with now, and was moved by how something small can really go a long way.
Walking along the streets and seeing people in MATTER products is always our proudest moment. We also love hearing a customer tell us a story about why they love their pants and how they connected them to something else. Or feeling connected to a complete stranger through MATTER. It is always endlessly inspiring to know that they share our values and mission. I truly believe that there is something to learn from everyone around you. You just have to look at the people close to you and listen to the stories they have to tell.
2. In which direction do you see the future of ethical brands going? And how do you see the future of your own brand?
Ethical standards are fundamental to a brand’s integrity, but for brands to last and continue making an impact, customers have to first believe in their product. And it’s where ethical brands are heading towards, the realization that the ethical standards of a brand is what gets a customer to stay, but it’s the products that catches a customer’s attention.
For us, the biggest thing would be to look into the waste and energy management practices of our partners and reduce our environmental impact. We’ve launched a range of organic cotton pants, and are hoping to eventually move to entirely organic and natural materials, as well as zero impact semi synthetics like tencel or lyocell. Currently, offcuts of our base fabrics are reused and made into other small scale products like our #mattermini collection, jewelry, and jute tote bags, but in the future we’re hoping to enhance the recycling of our fabrics so that even pre-worn garments can be also repurposed by us.
3. How do you as a brand ensure ethical production and transparency throughout your supply chain?
To understand how the fair factories that we work with treat their employees, we check with them the international accredited labour codes that they follow. At the start of the relationship, we personally visit each of the production partners to understand them better, before we bring them on as a business partner.
We have a framework to evaluate each artisan partner: whether it was globally founded, how long it has been in operation, and most importantly if the motivation of the founders is based on profit or a simple love for the craft. We tend to work with generational artisans partners, where the craft has been passed down in family through generations; it gives us the security of their motivations. A questionnaire is also given to our artisan partners, on the minimum wage that our partners give to their artisans, certifications of fair trade, the source of their raw materials, among other information, to ensure transparency on both ends.
We share all our production and artisan partners on our website, as well as the criteria that we use to select artisan partners that we will work with.
4. Where can readers currently find your brand (cities)?
In Singapore, we have a showroom open on Fridays only from 11am-7pm at 19A Haji Lane. We are also stocked at the following stores:
- Threadbare & Squirrel: 501 Orchard Road #02-20 Wheelock Place, 238880 Singapore
- Kapok: National Design Gallery, 111 Middle Rd, 188969 Singapore
- Gallery & Co: 1 St Andrew’s Rd, 178957 Singapore
- Touch The Toes: 4A Haji Lane, 189197 Singapore
- Zhai: #01-58, United Square Thomson, 307591 Singapore & #02-26 163 Tanglin Road Singapore 247933 Singapore
- Wilder Goods: 111 South Grand Avenue Suite 107c, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
- Okkio Miami: 7610 NE 4th CT #111, Miami FL 33138, USA
- Ibu Movement: N183 King Street, 2nd floor, Charleston, SC 2940, USA
5. What excites you about partnering with Kanekta?
As a growing brand, we’re excited to be a part of a platform connecting ethical brands and buyers. To be partnering with a collective that holds integrity at such a high account with a comprehensive vetting process is encouraging, because it sets the mark for the ideal norm: that all brands should be kept accountable and remain transparent in their ethical standards.
To learn more about MATTER and their story visit https://matterprints.com/
Discover and shop their wholesale collections through Kanekta now by signing up here.