With our proper summer holiday to France done and dusted early on in the season (wahhh), I thought it would be a really opportune time to introduce you to some of the great ethical clothing brands that I've been wearing lately so you can get to know them too and have a chance to get your hands on some lovely ethical items to wear throughout the rest of the summer (and beyond) yourself!
That's the thing about buying from an ethical clothing brand - you get to know them properly because they always have a story and for me, that's a big draw. These are not soul-less big businesses with millions of nameless employees, factories and ambiguous policies - they are small, hard-working, visionary champions of fair work and quality items. These brands have stuck their neck out to start something meaningful and are swimming against the tide of the fast and furious fashion industry, doing incredible things to bring justice and sustainability to the communities they work in and collaborate with.
One of the brands I wanted to tell you about is Matter Prints. Founded by Yvonne and Ren, Matter is passionate about "fostering designer-artisan collaborations, inspiring consumers to value provenance and process, and pioneering industry change and sustainability for rural textile communities." This is well thought out systemic change. When you break it down, the fashion industry is about so much more than just fashion. It's about economics, equality, solidarity, opportunities, craftsmanship, tradition, culture and diversity.
Matter work in rural communities around the world with artisans and designers to create some of the truly loveliest prints and weaves that I've ever seen. I love the idea that they are keeping particular traditions of craftsmanship (craftswomanship?) alive and giving them fresh exposure and life with their contemporary styles.
Their signature pants (trousers here in the UK, lest you think I'm about to show you pictures of me in my underwear!) caught my eye immediately because of their unique design and I have been wearing the Lounge Lunghi design on the regular. The pants usually come in two sizes and each size is adjustable to fit any shape with two different button options and a gorgeous wrap around sarong-like belt tie that can be worn loads of different ways and give loads of flexibility.
The design of these pants are genius because you get to dress them up or down, high-waisted or low, tied at the side, front or even back. There are so many options, which I know is giving me loads more opportunity to get good wear out of them. Matter call them "pants to see the world in" which feels perfectly apt, both because they are globally made but also because they are the perfect travel trousers. When we were in France, I threw them on in the morning for breakfast with a linen vest and then dressed them up in the evening when we went out for dinner with strappy sandals and a fancier vintage tucked in top. I also wore them home on the plane with a baggy t-shirt for ultimate comfort.
I fell for the traditional ikat print on mine and I especially love Matter's complete manufacturing transparency on their website - showing you where each element of the manufacturing process happens, even down to how many days of employment was generated by the making of each piece (10 days for these pants - how incredible is that?!). There is something so significant and humbling for us to really know how our garment were made; the attention and care that went into them by real people across the world. It connects us to the makers - making sure we remember that quality and craftsmanship is still so important. So personal, so incredible and so rare nowadays.
Matter have so many other amazing styles of clothing with the same aesthetic - I've picked some of my other summer favourites below. Pieces range in price from around £60 which I think is really amazing for clothing that is made with dedicated skill and will last a lifetime.
Do you love them as much as I do? I hope you're able to see the variety and value in a brand like Matter - the significance for me is in the name. Where our clothes come from? It matters. Who makes them? It matters.
I'll be sharing more sustainable summer style throughout the rest of the month so stay tuned and please feel free to leave a comment and ask me any questions you might have!
With thanks to Matter Prints for working with me on this post. They are truly changing the world.