Matter: Heritage-Inspired Garments That Honor Global Artisan Traditions

HISTORY MATTERS

In its two years of existence, the brand has since expanded from pants to include blouses, jumpsuits, rompers, and scarves. Yet its ethos has never wavered.

Block-printed, handloomed, or ikat-dyed onto cotton, linen, and silk fabrics, the geometric motifs that grace Matter’s garments are replete with symbolism and history.

There’s a pleasing symmetry to the repeating units, which borrow from primal symbols of protection, prosperity, and creativity while maintaining the “essence of their stories.”

Even the hybrid supply-chain model that Matter follows echoes its old-new philosophy: Its artisans develop the heritage-based fabrics, which a fair-trade, standards-compliant factory in Delhi then assembles into garments.

“We truly believe that for rural craft to thrive, we need to build a network that creates access to market, providing products that through good design, stand on their own two feet,” the company says. “Each of our supply-chain partners are chosen through a set of criteria emphasizing product integrity, community integration, and good business practice. We visit each partner personally and focus on building long-term relationships for better market access.”

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Matter considers itself a label that is inherently “slow.”

“By default, given the principles and seasonality of our artisan production, we cannot partake in the world of ‘fast fashion,’” Ho and Suñer say. “So we focus on making the best product possible, not the most. Styles are tested by time, and are phased out or brought back accordingly.”

The unique nature of its production—variations in color as a result of fluctuations in humidity, say, or differences in print pressure—also means that cookie-cutter results are next to impossible.

And that’s okay. More than okay, in fact.

“We love products with story and soul,” Matter says. “We believe that imperfection is beauty and that a better world is one where everyone is free to choose how to be, whether that’s about where they work or what they wear.”

For a company that sees its partners not just as producers but as co-creators, all results are copacetic.

“Our bigger dream is to mainstream textile artisanship, connecting artisans and designers to become a collective that showcases the results of those collaborations,” it adds.

+ Matter

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