Textile artisanship is a lens through which we see the universal basics that connect us – the need to express our values, find meaning through storied motifs, and create beauty. To this end, we seek out practices that are globally dispersed and found in varying forms in specific local cultures. 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.
We choose to define artisanship as ‘skill in a craft acquired through generational transfer’, meaning we work mostly with artisans who were taught their skill by their forefathers and grew up around this knowledge. Most of the time these have become small family businesses, and are embedded in a community whose identity, culture and geography revolve around a particular technique and its processes.
In our theory of change, every customer that buys our product is voting for a new system of production that values provenance and artisanship, and every designer that works with us or our artisan partners is a move towards a new, better type of supply chain.
Every new artisan partner community we bring on is not just a supplier to us but a member of our community that we would be happy to introduce to you. Just write to us and ask. After all, the world we’re working towards is one where textile artisanship is appreciated, valued and commonplace.
Collaboration is the heart of what we do. Where there is shared passion, the potential for collaboration is far more valuable than competition – and it is our mission to manifest this in our everyday. With 15 collaborations so far, we continue to work with different designers and brands, connecting people from different backgrounds to tell their stories through our prints.
Our first artisan partners were in Rajasthan, India – after Ren’s 3000km cross-country road trip from Jaisalmer to Kerala we connected with several grassroots organisations and visited over 10 blockprinting workshops to understand more about the craft and community. It led us to Bagru and Sanganer, cultural home to Blockprint, where artisan families have been practicing for more than five generations. Since then, we worked with other textile crafts, beginning with Ikat in Koyyalagudem, a village well known for this tie and dye craft for close to a century. Then Chambray in Hyderabad, Jamdani in Habibpur, an intricate craft of hand embroidery on the loom as the textile is woven, and Jacquard in Lunkaransar – a method of weaving a motif upon an existing weave. We also expanded to Batik in Java, Indonesia, a wax-resist dyeing technique that marked a significant milestone for us as it was the first textile craft outside of India that we worked with.
We’re always on the lookout for artisan communities to collaborate with. If you know one in your part of the world, share them with our network.
We believe that for artisanship to become sustainable, designers need to be in the picture; these are the ones who’ve been in our picture so far. We chose MATTER as a brand name in large part because we wanted to create a collaborative company, and that’s what’s really exciting for us. We don’t have the vision of being a designer fashion label in the traditional sense, but a collaborative community that creates together towards the common purpose of furthering textile artisanship.
We work with designers passionate about slow design and bringing the past into the present. Designers who, with their love for cultural heritage, storytelling, and the beauty of simple, intelligent design, collaborate with us across textile design, print reinterpretation and product shapes and styles. We are always open to collaborations and experiments together, whether it’s on a new print range or for a completely new product. If you’d like to explore a journey with us, just write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Amsterdam based designer and creative ‘jane of all trades’ who lives on a tiny urban island with her husband and son, spending her days ever creating things and roaming around in her mind. There is definitely a less is more approach to Lisanne’s design work where the intelligence of the garment is revealed in the unexpected placement of a dart, the direction of a seam or the subtle billowing of a well placed pleat. She is passionate about honest craftsmanship and a good story, and anything to do with the wilderness, melancholic music, yoga and her loved ones.
Khushiram Pandey is a fifth generation block printing artisan and designer from Sanganer, a famous printing hub in Jaipur, Rajasthan. He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Craft and Design in Jaipur (IICD). Khushiram is currently the Creative Director of AK Groups, which deal in exporting, wholesaling, and retailing of block printed textiles. It is his main goal to sustain the ancient craft of block printing while at the same time giving new direction and innovation to the prints and designs.
Sonica is an apparel and accessories designer who currently lives in India and engages local artisan communities in a collaborative design process that focuses on training, design and sourcing. She believes in form over function and lives by the axiom that good design is more about how something is made and less about how it looks.She draws inspiration from life and channels her passion for music, impressionist art, anthropology, travel and spirituality into her creative process. She also believes that the life cycle of a product and its environmental impact is central to the design process.
Joanna is a multidisciplinary artist (illustration, painting, murals, printmaking, bookbinding, lettering, graphic design) and all round creative who is passionate about the arts and community. Her work reflects an investigation into contemporary manifestations of personal, cultural and social identity. These stories are told via pattern, design, collage, illustration and often include alternate personas, voices and characters that emerge from this narrative and delight in the potential of difference, revelling in absurdity.
Preetika was born and brought up in the foothills of the Himalayas and grew up in a family of artists, photographers and mountaineers. An interdisciplinary approach to design is essential, having the capability of making meaningful connections between seemingly disparate things is what Preetika strives for. She believes that a curious mind always helps, and challenges others to walk backwards and see the world from a different angle. She is also passionate about music, photography, travel, and the mountains of course.
DO THI LAN HUONG
Huong is a free spirited Vietnamese designer who is trained as a creative pattern cutter. She loves garments with special construction details that reflect a thoughtful design process and strives to design meaningful clothing that bring joy to everyone involved in the process, from the maker to the wearer and everyone else in between. Her other interests include doing henna, inline skating and traveling around the world. Adventurous Huong hopes to one day learn an extreme sport.