The Art of Storytelling With Matter Prints

Emily Uebergang

Brought to you by Matter Prints

Calling together the gypsy nomads and blockprint lovers of this world. It’s time you get acquainted with MATTER Prints.

Finding travel wear that’s versatile, functional and comfortable, but doesn’t look like your Grandma plucked them off the sales rack, is no small feat. Add to this a desire for a modern design that exudes traditional craftsmanship, tied to a romantic story that connects you to its creator and origin, then you may think you’re asking the impossible.

For MATTER Prints, this is their everyday reality.

Next to your camera, passport, toothbrush and underwear, your handcrafted MATTER clothing is bound to become a travel essential.

The MATTER Prints range includes gorgeous blockprinted and handloom woven pants, tops, jumpsuits and handcrafted accessories. Their collection brings together affordable luxury and thoughtful design for the modern nomad looking to gallivant the globe, while keeping one conscious foot firmly grounded.

Drawing attention to the story behind each garment’s provenance, the MATTER Prints story is one worth retelling.

ethical fashionWidelege_Leharia_Watermelon Pink

Drawing attention to the story behind each garment’s provenance, the MATTER Prints story is one worth retelling.

IMPRINTED BY TRAVEL

It’s no coincidence the story of MATTER Prints started on the nomadic trail. And there’s nothing like the lush, tropical beaches of Mexico to open the floodgates for conversation, allowing housemates and colleagues at the time, Ren and Yvonne, to exchange stargazing hopes and dreams.

Sharing a love for travel, cultural storytelling, and unique travel wear, Ren and Yvonne spoke openly and candidly about the potential of going into business together. Maybe it was the magic of travel, or maybe it was something in the water, but a business idea was starting to take shape.

It took another five years before the idea finally solidified into a full-fledged business in 2014. Two key motivations laid the foundation for the brand’s awakening. Firstly, to create products that celebrate the rich cultural heritage and textiles in Asia. Secondly, to build a social business that enables the textile craft to continue as a viable industry while kindling positive impact.

The MATTER Prints’ marketing maven, Devonne explains, “We believe that inspiration is in the every day, we just have to learn how to open our eyes to it. Travel of course is the biggest inspiration, because that’s when we drop our usual contexts and start to appreciate and respect both the difference and similarity that unite us across cultures.”

Inspired by the kind of travel they love, MATTER Prints was founded on the principles of mutual cultural respect, building direct relationships, fostering community spirit and embracing the art of storytelling.

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ethical fashion

MATTERS OF THE HEART

Their ridiculously attractive blockprints will turn heads for all the right reasons. And what better way to strike up a conversation will fellow travellers than by engaging in a conversation about the story and origins behind your clothing. After all, you’re now part of that story.

Imagine being able to share the exact provenance of your clothing, the traditional blockprinting or weaving skill employed and the positive impact this opportunity is imparting to these communities. These are the kind of stories MATTER Prints are making possible. Who knows, maybe you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who resonates with your story while stargazing on the beach?

It’s about facilitating direct collaborations between artisans and designers, inspiring new relationships between consumers and producers, and engaging fellow travellers in stories that matter.

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SLOWING DOWN

Underpinning the MATTER Prints philosophy is this idea of ‘slow.’ They focus on seasonless styles dictated by timeless principles rather than runway trends. Their production model highlights the importance of quality over quantity in maintaining such high ethical standards. Lastly, every design intentionally ties a unique cultural backstory and significance to each piece.

More simplistically, Matter Prints optimizes the very opposite of fast fashion.

“Respect, intention, and collaboration. It is important to have respect for the things people do not usually see value in, such as diversity and difference. We try to do everything with the right intention for benefiting others. The world has too many problems to solve on our own, so collaboration is key if you want to get anywhere.”

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DESIGNED WITH INTENTION

MATTER Prints embraces heritage techniques and prints mastered over many years by these rural artisans. Paying homage to their stories, culture and tradition, MATTER Prints is opening doors for these artisans to previously, inaccessible markets. Artisans are being provided the freedom to pursue their craft and stand on their own feet. Similarly, these skills can now be appreciated by travellers around the world.

Take for example their blockprinting designs. This employs a technical skillset unseen in commercial screenprinting. Block designs are hand-carved, hand-pressed and far more time intensive. Down to the minute details, each design is incredibly well-thought out with practicality in mind.

"Inspired by the spirit of travel and adventure, we began with pants as a symbol of exploration. The styles we design pay tribute to the vibrant cultural heritage in our region by celebrating Asian garments."

STORYTELLING THROUGH PRINTS

Within each prints lies a unique story that unravels tradition and folklore.

“We love the intention behind prints. Every print holds a story, and we hope that when our customers wear these pants they feel the significance of that. The pants they wear, carry the prints of someone else’s heritage. There is a common thread that links us all together and we hope they find meaning in that common humanity. We believe in designing from the past, and so we choose prints that already exist and reinterpret them by playing with white space, outlines, motif size, and repeat.”

These magical stories play out through the creative designs. It’s impossible to resist just a little bit of that magic rubbing off onto you as you wear their clothing.

“There is the story of the Leharia print, named for the wave forms that crash against the store the print is inspired by a monsoon story of love. As the story goes, women would wear pink Leharia saris into monsoon festivals and dance in the streets; if the pink colour came off on your skin, you’d be loved forever. Whereas the Trikora print, was traditionally used as a border design for Rajasthani houses. The architectural Kangura print is a sign of protection and defense of loved ones. The Trikora or triangle is a foundation piece of this motif and with its up-facing three-sided shape usually symbolises stability with the elements of earth and water.”

Moving forward, and with much anticipation, the MATTER Prints team will be expanding their collection to include skirts, dresses and pouches. Furthermore, they will be scouting regions in Vietnam and Indonesia for other heritage techniques, like embroidery and batik, to incorporate into their collection.

It’s an exciting journey to be on and one you’re invited to come join.

Emily Uebergang

Emily Uebergang is a writer, farmer and ecoprenuer who transitioned from the urban jungle to a working farmstead in the beautiful mountains of the Manning Valley in New South Wales, Australia. She writes like she's out to try and save the world... or at least make a difference for the better.