*Editor’s Note: January is “New Year, New You” month on the blog where we will feature organic food, natural beauty products, eco-fashion and lifestyle goods. Stay tuned all month and learn how to live a healthy lifestyles inside and out.
The idea behind MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE originally came to life in 1995, in beautiful Montreal. Being inspired by MAT(T)erial and NATure means exploring the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other. At Matt & Nat, they live by a simple motto, “Live beautifully”. Living beautifully means appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us. The brand’s values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. They are inspired by the textures and hues of nature and, to better protect it, they aim to constantly better our ways.
From the start, being committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in their designs felt natural. Each season, they continue to explore new innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly. Over the years, they’ve been experimenting with different recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork. Since 2007, they’ve been committed to using linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles and have also recently introduced recycled bicycle tires to our collections.
So how does one turn a battered old tire into a stylish handbag or pair of shoes? I had to ask Matt & Nat President & CEO Manny Kohli!
Choupette Social Girl: What does Matt & Nat stand for?
Manny Kohli: Matt & Nat stands for material and nature. The name explores the synergy between the two forces. We take a lot of inspiration from the dichotomy between the two.
CSG: How does one “live beautifully”?
MK: While no one is one hundred percent perfect, our advice is to try and be as conscious as possible. Try to do things that make a difference whenever you can – no matter how small your actions are! Show your support for brands who care about the world and have a strong ethical foundation. Every little action counts. And most importantly, always be humble.
CSG: What are your brand’s core values?
MK: We’re a vegan company and are very proud that no animals were hurt in the production of our bags. We aim to promote an all-round holistic lifestyle.
CSG: Why make the choice not to use animal-based materials and to use 100% recycled plastic bottles of lining?
MK: We chose to produce vegan bags with recycled materials to show the world that you don’t have to kill animals to produce beautiful materials and create stylish bags. We’ve been around since 1995 and are finally excited to see fashion veering into a new generation. Big brands are beginning to understand that we all have a social responsibility to take care of our world. Consumers also care more than ever. We get such amazing feedback from our supports who are excited to engage in helping out. It’s a new generation in fashion and we’re so excited to be able to be part of this!
CSG: How can other brands take a cue from your values and become eco-friendly?
MK: Try to incorporate eco-friendly materials whenever possible. Start small. Everyone started somewhere and everything helps!