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AN INTERVIEW WITH KATE BLACK

In the run-up to Fashion Revolution Week, we feature a cause that MATTER feels passionately for - Conscious Consumerism.

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Our artisan partners are paid at or above market benchmarks, and the factory that we work with to enable garment production is internationally certified and compliant with labour standards.


Over the Easter Weekend, I had the good fortune of meeting Kate Black, Founder of Magnifeco.com and author of “Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty”. It was, for a split second, an overwhelming moment because I had to process that this was indeed happening - it was a gathering of two aligned minds – I am passionate about educating the community at-large about mindfulness consumption, and Kate, a champion and voice in the field of ethical fashion and conscious consumerism for close to a decade.

Kate is a thought leader in America’s ethical fashion scene. She has written for Huffington Post, Perspectives, Organic Spa and CocoEco Magazines. She has lived in Japan, Canada and now resides in the US and continues to champion her passion for sustainability. We exchanged ideas about ethical businesses globally, and she found interesting that our outfit could be found halfway across the world from where she lived. I also had the opportunity to share what MATTER stood for.

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At MATTER, we make a personal visit to each of our partners and artisan clusters, which gives us the assurance that these workplaces are good to work with and good to work in.


Provenance, which means “to come from”, and “the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature.” One of the tenets of MATTER is our belief in the importance of finding out where and why something is made. Once we are more mindful, we will make more informed choices. This is especially so, when we know the impact on the environment and community of how clothing is produced.


DID YOU KNOW?  

  • The fashion manufacturing industry is the second most polluting industry on earth, only after oil
  • Polyester and nylon are made from petrochemicals, which are non-biodegradable, which means they are not sustainable
  • With much of our modern day clothing being made by cotton, did you know that more than 20,000 litres of water is used to produce 1kg of cotton, this equates to one t-shirt and one pair of jeans. Up to 8,000 different chemicals are used to turn raw materials into clothes, including a range of dyeing and finishing processes. Dying in areas where there is non-sustainable water treatment infrastructure also means that thousands of tonnes of harmful chemicals daily are being discharged into our rivers, harming the fishes, flora & fauna, humans who live off these water sources
  • Women, on average, only wear a single outfit between 3 to 7 times before throwing them away
  • This results in only a mere 1% of all materials used to produce our goods, still in use 6 months after sale 

Fickle consumer tastes are big drivers of the fast fashion industry, many brands whom acknowledge they still have a way to go in ensuring transparency in their production supply chain. There is now a shift in the balance of power to the end consumer and big fashion giants whilst power is taken away from those who manufacture our clothing for us as well as the costs to the environment.

Being a conscious consumer means that issues such as fair wages, environmentally conscious manufacturing processes, decrease in the support of counterfeit goods, human trafficking, responsible farming practices and overproduction of goods should be at the forefront of our minds.

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We take care to make sure all dyes used are azo-free, and use only natural materials like cotton, silk and linen.


So what does this mean for us? It starts with us, each and everyone of us as individuals have the power to reverse this change. Every decision, choice and action of consumption matters. And it starts with asking where is it made, how is it made and why it is made. And we hope that you will be part of this change.

Kate Black’s book Magnifeco: Your Head-to-Toe Guide to Ethical Fashion and Non-toxic Beauty is available on Amazon.com now.