If you’re looking for ethically-made clothing blending traditional textiles and creative flair, you can’t go past MATTER Prints.
Distinctive prints and patterns, traditional woven fabrics made by generational artisans and a wrap pant style that seems part sarong and part origami; MATTER Prints is easy to spot once you know what to look for.
When Singapore-based ethical label MATTER reached out to collaborate, I was thrilled. I had them earmarked to try out after spotting a pair of their fashionable trousers on a friend; vegan advocate and sustainable-fashion focussed YouTube vlogger Kristen Leo at a fashion event several years ago.
After confirming with MATTER that ours was a partnership based on common values; I jumped on their website to choose items that I would love to try. Needless to say I was enthralled with the options. My biggest gripe with ethical fashion is that it’s often beige, and what I mean by that is that it can be too monotonous, too monochromatic and rather unremarkable and bland; the lack of colour and prints in ethical fashion is a common complaint. With their eye-catching artistic designs, MATTER couldn’t be further from beige.
The collections feature natural fibres such as cotton and silk and the intricate prints are dyed by hand with azo-free eco-friendly dyes. The threads are then hand loomed using traditional techniques and looms. Since fabric preparation is all painstakingly done by hand, colour and weaving variations are likely to occur which only adds to the charm of each garment.
Checking out MATTER’s website and browsing through its shopping categories of pants, tops, jumpsuits, outerwear and accessories, I made up my mind that I wanted a couple of pairs of their signature pants; inspired by the multifold drapes of the Indian dhoti and the Indonesian sarong wrap style waist.
Deciding on colour and print was the difficult part. After considering the current items in my ethical wardrobe, I chose the maroon-coloured Lounge Lunghi + Koya; the Koya motif, created by their master Ikat weaver Srinath and subsequently named after his village. I also chose the edgy Sideswept Dhoti + Kirana, a black and white trouser with exaggerated side slinging that would pair nicely with many of my existing tees and tops.
After receiving both pairs of pants I was excited to try them on– although a little apprehensive since they weren’t regular-looking trousers with ties and inner buttons. My paranoia with wrap-style bottoms stems from a few vivid moments of sarong wrapping and then sarong undoing although seeing the buttons brought peace of mind knowing that at least the pants would be secure and wouldn’t be falling around my ankles.
Luckily the brand had the foresight to publish several simple-to-follow YouTube videos along with detailed instructions on their website which gave me the confidence I needed to fold the pants properly and know that I was wearing them right– although you can’t really go wrong; the beauty of these wrap, layered pants is that you can wear it however you want and it’ll look like you’re starting a new trend.
I tackled the maroon Lounge Lunghi + Koya pants first because the excess 100% medium weight cotton fabric and long ties piqued my interest. The pants were easy enough to work out actually, button up on the inside (there are two holes depending on your waist size) and then tie at the front for interesting and flattering front folds (my preferred style) or tie it back for a cleaner, straight-leg look. I looked effortlessly stylish and cool AF.
The Sideswept Dhoti + Kirana cotton pants were even more straightforward to wear since there is less going on (no buttons for example) and the style sequence was straightforward. After popping your legs into the pants; just wrap and tie on the side or at the front, and choose between keeping the fabric loose or tucked in for ‘pockets’. The geometric black and white print had a rather slimming effect and it was easy to dress these pants up with heels.
Both MATTER pant styles can go from day to night depending on how casual or dressy the top and shoes worn with it are. As comfortable as they are trendy, you can create endless outfit combinations with these pants; wear basic tees to more intricate tops, sandals, stilettos and even sneakers, whatever tickles your fancy. Rest assured that wherever you go and whatever event you attend, you are highly unlikely to come across another person wearing these garments, or unique print– a massive ‘pro’ for fashion-lovers who dislike being style lemmings and use clothing to artistically express individuality.
The key is to have fun when styling them and understand that people will do a double-take when they see you in them so be prepared for the question that inevitably follows: “Where did you get those pants from…?”.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by MATTER. Facts and other specific product information is checked with the company. All images of EWP founder editor Jennifer Nini taken by Ben McGuire. For more information about our policies, click here.