What a Difference a Dress Makes

There’s no better time than Fair Trade Month to celebrate all the good that comes from a fair partnership between producers and consumers. Throughout October, Mata is inviting fair trade fans and enterprises to share an image on Instagram of what fair trade looks like for them, with this hashtag: #whatfairtradelookslike.

We’re posting our own photos to give you a glimpse of fair trade Mata style. Take a look – you’ll see why we say that women who wear Mata empower women who make Mata to create a better life.

 

This is what fair trade looks like

Mata artisans come from rural areas, small villages, and urban slums in India and Nepal, and they all want the same thing – the chance to lift their families and communities out of poverty. Through fair trade business practices, they earn a sustainable wage, preserve traditional skills and create opportunities for themselves. They’re able to have the resources to care for their children and support their communities.

Our company partners with several fair trade organizations that, like social service agencies, provide support in the form of health care, paid maternity leave, retirement pensions, and daycare. Social workers on staff offer literacy classes, computer training and workshops on topics like hygiene, nutrition and parenting. They help artisans address complex situations such as domestic violence and dealing with HIV/AIDS.

 

The power of your purchase

Every dress, skirt, top, and piece of jewelry you buy from Mata creates more opportunity for more women and their families. Literally.

With her earnings from sewing just one Mata dress, an artisan can buy a five-day supply of rice, or a 15-day supply of wheat flour or one week of school fees for her child. What’s more, providing a stable income to women at the poverty level combats the problem of child labor at its roots. The change can be seen not only in the life of the woman employed by the cooperative, but especially in the next generation, the children she can afford to educate.

 

Check out more details on how your purchase of a Mata dress impacts our artisans:

Your purchase of ONE dress at Mata allows an artisan to buy enough rice to last 5 days, while 5-6 dresses allows an artisan to buy enough rice to last the MONTH.

 

Your purchase of ONE Dress at Mata allows an artisan to buy enough wheat flour for 15 days. And a purchase of two dresses allows an artisan to buy enough wheat flour for the MONTH.

 

Your purchase of ONE Dress allows an artisan to pay for private school for her child for about 1 week, while a purchase of four dresses allows an artisan to pay for 1 month of private school.

 

Fashion to feel good about

Why do women wear Mata? Because, they tell us, Mata makes them feel adventurous, compassionate, beautiful and (we love this one) powerful. Coincidence? That’s how we describe the women who make Mata! Comment below and tell us how you feel when you wear Mata. Is this what fair trade looks like to you?

 


 
 

A Fair Trade Decade

Mata Traders officially began in 2007, although I started wandering the globe many years before that, buying exotic things and selling them in the U.S. at flea markets and home parties.

In the beginning, Mata was about carving out my own path. At 28, I had spent most of my adult life living on a shoestring and saving my paychecks for travel. I was supporting this lifestyle myself…so who could judge? Did I have a direction? Not necessarily. I just had a strong urge to EXPLORE, and through that I learned about myself and my connection to the world. (Try telling THAT to the parents.)

Good fortune or good karma led me to the idea of starting a business that combined this wanderlust with my love for selling things and an obsession with the colorful, intricate, handmade textiles of South Asia.

Ten years later, Mata Traders is much more than my own personal journey. It’s a thriving social enterprise whose growth was and is made possible by our dedicated employee team, artisan partners and fashionably adventurous, compassionate customers who support ethical fashion worldwide. I like to say we’re “fashioning a better world” with vibrant designs and fair trade practices that enable a better life for our artisans.

EMPOWERMENT

One thing that hasn’t changed since we designed the very first Mata dress is our devotion to operating a business that helps women achieve economic and social stability.

Mata empowers our producers, mostly women, all from India and Nepal, who are breaking gender stereotypes, learning new skills in a meaningful work environment, taking leadership roles, and supporting their families through their work at the cooperatives.

We empower the ethical consumer – women who use the power of their dollar to make change – through the brave retail partners that by carrying our brand are creating purchasing avenues for women to make ethical fashion choices.

And Mata empowers our employees to apply their formidable talents and wisdom to growing a company that is having ever greater impact around the globe.

Consumers, creators and crafters are all part of an interdependent web of gifted, conscientious, global-minded people following the path of ethical fashion because it’s just what we do and who we are. I am excited to see what the next 10 years will bring for Mata and for the larger movement of fair trade and conscious consumerism. The best is yet to come.

 

 


 
 

Back to the Books (& Backpacks)

If you fell behind on your summer reading list, don’t fret!
Didn’t spend enough time on your creative pursuits this season? No worries!

Fall is the perfect time to get back to the books, whether you’re headed to class or not. Grab one of our recommended reads, your ethical backpack and a notebook and hit up a cozy spot to give your mind some me-time.

If you weren’t already excited for this time of year, supporting local, sustainable, and fair trade companies will have you itching to start your season off with a bang.

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The Aurora V-neck dress in plum has a classic vintage silhouette with an arrow design and hand stitched details– perfect for a crisp fall day. The Matt & Nat Munich bag in Jam brings out the maroon in the dress (plus, the lining is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles – how cool is that?). Perfect for your writing needs, these Mr. Ellie Pooh one-of-a-kind hardcover notebooks are organic, eco-friendly and feature 100% recycled paper. Pick up a copy of Naked Fashion: The Sustainable Fashion Revolution, which  provides an overview of the most crucial challenges facing the fashion industry and includes solutions to create sustainable change in the industry.

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A look meant to be looked at, the Belmore dress in goldenrod is a vibrant fall staple. The pop of yellow in this oversized plaid goes great with the Autumn foliage. Pair with Serrv’s Black City Backpack for chic urban style and break open Overdressed: Shockingly High Cheap Fashion. The fair trade organization that makes this backpack is dedicated to lifting disadvantaged artisans, farmers, and their families out of poverty. Overdressed assesses the true costs of low priced clothing while tracing the author’s own metamorphosis into a thorough and thoughtful shopper. Feel free to jot down notes or doodle in a CAUSEGEAR leather journal, designed in our hometown of Chicago and produced in India. The crafter’s name and photo is even displayed on the first page!

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It’s almost time to transition to longer sleeves and this jersey dress is just the thing! With a flattering fit and a flounce for days, the indigo Knit Flounce dress is comfy to the MAX. Just add your roomy but compact ethical backpack like this Baggu drawstring backpack (in indigo to pull out the print in this dress)! After class, cozy up with some extracurricular reading like MAGNIFECO, a guide that examines non-toxic beauty and ethical fashion. Take notes about author Kate Black’s recommendations in this refillable journal from Fair Trade Winds. It comes with 72 pages of 100% tree-free paper made from recycled cotton rags.


 
 

Much Ado About Ikat

Ladies with a yen for compassionate fashion make a statement with both their wardrobes and their dollars. They set high standards for style (unique), quality (impeccable) and fit (flattering). And they celebrate the talents and traditions of artisans like those who handcraft Mata apparel and accessories in India and Nepal.

We partner with women’s cooperatives and artisan groups to preserve textile art forms that date back centuries, featuring block or screen printed fabric, hand embroidery, or ikat weaving in almost all of our designs.

While hand embroidery, and block and screen printing are common, you might be less familiar with a technique called “ikat” (pronounced “ee-kaht”). You’ll find this weave throughout Mata’s Autumn/Winter ’17 collection, including the Kimono Jacket in azure and our popular Serenade dress in multi.

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Kimono Jacket in Azure

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Serenade Dress in Multi

To give you Mata lovers a taste of how much love goes into each and every one of these beautiful pieces, here’s a bit about the history of the ikat weave.

Although ikat is popular all over the world, it is most popular in India, Indonesia, Japan and other Southeast Asian countries. It is said that the Nalgonda district of Andra Pradesh, India is where the ikat weave originated during the 10th century. At that time, a strip of ikat fabric was considered an extremely prized possession due to how long it took to make the fabric.

Each ikat weave has its own distinct style. The finished fabric is meant to look imperfect, almost fuzzy, which is accomplished by dyeing the yarns before they become yardage.

First the design, usually a hand-drawn zigzag or geometric pattern, is drawn on the fabric in pen. This requires the designer to measure along each strand to make sure the design will be placed in the correct spot when the yarn is woven into yardage. Then the yarn is tied tightly around the areas that were marked in pen. This will act as a resist when the fabric goes into the dye pot, keeping the covered areas undyed. In some cases, the resist is made from wax or clay.

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The yarn is then stretched out and prepared to be dipped into the dye. Ikat’s process of dyeing is very similar to tie dye, but is a bit more complicated.

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The designer will submerge the yarn for approximately an hour, allowing the fibers to soak up as much dye as possible. In order to ensure that the color is being absorbed evenly, the designer needs to constantly agitate the pot. If the pot is not agitated, there will be darker/lighter spots in the fiber, called “hot spots.”

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Once the yarn is saturated and allowed to dry, the designer will cut off the resist. As you can see in the picture above, the yarn beneath the resist has maintained its original white color.

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This process was used to create the ikat weave for our Santorini Sundress from the Spring/Summer ’17 collection. Didn’t it turn out great?

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We are always impressed by the talents of our partner artisan groups, but learning about the craft behind the ikat process brings to light the dedication and skill the artisans bring to their work each day. Another example of how, together, we can fashion a better world!

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Starting Out at a Fair Trade Cooperative

The morning sun streaks across a bustling street in Mumbai.

Shakuntula has walked this path many times. After her husband’s death nearly two decades ago, she was in critical need of a steady job to support their young daughter. She came to the cooperative at the suggestion of a friend, 19 years ago.

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At first, despite training, she felt timid around her co-workers, uncertain of her stitching skills, and worried about her ability to contribute. That changed when the struggling center needed a member to step up and take charge. Without a clear frontrunner, the co-op looked to Shakuntula to lead. She accepted, and quickly mastered the processes of quality control and delegating work to the team.

She says, “After I became in charge, I am very confident. I know that I have control of my life.”

Her perseverance has helped make the center profitable and provide good salaries to the artisans.

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Shakuntula makes a point of looking out for newcomers, remembering her own reservation and self-doubt in those early days at the cooperative. Her quality assurance expertise has allowed the co-op members to take on increasingly sophisticated projects.

Thinking about her goals for the future, Shakuntula says, “I will educate my daughter well and make sure that she is having a happy life.” She adds, “I can educate myself, too.”


 
 

Dog Days of Mata

It’s getting hot out there! The dog days of summer are upon us, but if you work in our office, the dog days have already been here for a while.

In the last year or so, our canine workforce has exploded! While our furry friends were originally brought to the office out of convenience and companionship, we soon discovered their talents were underutilized and put them to work.

You might be wondering how any work gets done with such a rag tag group of dogs in the office. Our secret? We have a schedule.

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Meet the office dogs:

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With a slim 10-month old figure, Denna is the perfect canvas to test out select Mata items. Her non-human proportions, while a bit challenging for dresses, serve as an ideal backdrop for our scarves! Although the air in our office is quite clean, Denna’s tongue does a final check, every three seconds from 9am to 5pm. With a keen eye for home decor, Denna spends her weekends hanging artwork and tending to her vast succulent collection.

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Gene is the office veteran, coming to Mata with 10.5 years of experience warming chairs. Throughout the summer, with a workplace containing sufficiently heated seats, Gene spends his time making sales calls. The language barrier was difficult at first, but Gene’s previous experience selling snow to Eskimos was hard to ignore, and he has been a valuable addition to the team.

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Whether it’s a ball or a human, 2-year-old Reggie makes sure whoever/whatever comes through the door is properly investigated. Indoors, he carries around bones, balls, and food in an effort to assert his authority, but at the core he’s a big softie who just wants to be loved. His future aspirations include taste testing at a local sandwich shop.

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Sam is the calm, cool, and collected canine in our workspace, making his fur available for petting to any outstretched hand. Most often found sleeping on the floor or at his owner’s feet, his stare invokes feelings of peacefulness and gratitude. In his free time, Sam has been improving his macrame skills and working on his yoga instructor certification.

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With a passion for fashion, Susie never hesitates to strut her stuff in a new raincoat or sweater. She’s working on her measurement skills, but a lack of thumbs is proving to slow down progress. At 9-months old, she’s the baby of the office, but with a full name like Susan B. (Bark) Anthony, you know this pup is going places.

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Toby knows the importance of composting and recycling. After checking that our composting and recycling bins are appropriately filled, he takes some time for rest and relaxation. Toby’s personality helps him easily befriend the entire dog crew, but he spends much of the day working on his second novel, a comedic mystery.


 
 

Fall Versions of Your Summer Favorites

Fall is fast approaching, but don’t fret! That means the season of pumpkin spiced lattes and cute winter booties is also upon us, and that’s something to celebrate. Here at Mata we just launched our new fall collection, and it’s just in time to get you dreaming of those fall adventures you’re about to have.

In order to help you amp up your wardrobe for the upcoming season, we’ve picked out some Fall looks similar to our Spring best sellers that you’ll love – and don’t worry if you don’t see something on our website yet. The fall collection will be in our online shop next month!

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If you adored our Ikat Polo Dress, you’re going to swoon over our new Museo Shift Dress. Pair it with a cardigan and pumps and take a stroll through the park and take in the crisp autumn air. We guarantee with it’s shift silhouette and unique pattern you’re sure to stand out.

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The Serenade dress will steal your heart just like our Pop of Floral dress did. Our Serenade dress comes in a beautiful hand-woven ikat design, as well as a pretty watercolor floral print. Both styles are perfect for those rainy days when you just want to stay inside or peruse art at your local museum.

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Separates lovers rejoice! We have a new skirt that is sure to be a new staple in your wardrobe.

Our First in Class skirt is a longer version of our Amelia skirt, in a classic new red and navy plaid. Pair it with your favorite cable knit sweater and a pair of red tights and you’ve got a comfy yet chic outfit to wear to Thanksgiving with your family.

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If you’re looking for the perfect laid back outfit for apple picking, the Sabina shirtdress is a great choice. This new design is similar to it’s Summer sister, the Natalia shirtdress, with a cinched waist and side seam pockets. The Sabina comes in a gorgeous subdued plaid that gives off some serious autumn vibes.

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The Elena knit dress is perfect if you are a fan of our Eva wrap dress. It comes in a geometric black and white design and is made from our fair trade organic cotton jersey, sure to keep you comfy and warm. Pair it with a black hat and some oxfords and you have the perfect look for strolling through your local farmer’s market.

Check back soon to shop our new collection – it launches next month! We hope you find some new favorites!


 
 

23 Spring/Summer Mata Styles for Petites!

It can be hard shopping as a petite! While everyone has challenges when searching for new clothes, petites have to be on the lookout for items that are the right proportions – the proportions of the bodice and skirt must be short enough, and the length of a dress is often too long.

Luckily for our petite Mata fans, our very own Director of Sales (and challenger of office height competitions) Jonit tried on the entire Spring/Summer 2017 collection and made a list of the best items for petites. Here’s what she found:

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Tops

1. Tulum Tassel top
2. Trapeze tank cobalt
3. Trapeze tank maroon
4. Sunshine and Sea top seafoam

Skirts

5. High Line skirt stripes
6. Bailee Button skirt
7. Ikat Mini skirt peach
8. Florence Midi skirt red
9. Marlowe Tube skirt maroon
10. Carmella Swing skirt red
11. Carmella Swing skirt indigo

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Dresses

1. First Impressions dress red
2. Anika Scoop dress navy
3. Bellini dress teal
4. Artsy Traveler dress red
5. Artsy Traveler dress black
6. Summer Sonnet dress cobalt
7. Anika Scoop dress white/blue
8. Eva Wrap dress navy
9. Pop of Floral dress
10. Eva Wrap dress red
11. Summer Sonnet dress teal
12. Shibori Maxi dress

Happy shopping!


 
 

Red, White, & Blue Giveaway 2017 [Giveaway Closed]

–Giveaway is closed and the winner has been notified! Thanks to all who participated! —

As temperatures rise here in Chicago, so does our excitement: Summer is finally here! That means donning some flirty sandals, floppy sunhats, and your favorite sundress while you soak up the warm sunshine. Here at Mata we are rejoicing the return of our own favorite time of the year: dress season!

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we do a red, white, and blue giveaway every summer. Well, friends, that time has rolled around again, and this year’s prize is better than ever!

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We decided to switch things up a bit this summer and give you the option between four different dresses: The Madrona dress in Red, the Fine Print dress in blue, the Natalia dress in blue, or the Anika dress in navy and red. So many options, so little time! These dresses will make you stand out in the crowd during your 4th of July festivities, whether it’s grilling out with the family, or watching the fireworks display downtown.

There are three ways to enter this year and you have between June 21st and June 25th to do so:

1. Comment below with your favorite piece from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
2. Share this post on Facebook and comment on our post saying you did so.
3. Repost this post on Instagram. Include the hashtag #RWBgiveaway (if your account is private, comment on our post saying you shared it)

The giveaway will be open through the end of the day (in Chicago) Sunday, June 25th. We’ll announce one randomly-drawn winner the next morning, Monday 6/26!

Sorry Canadian and international customers, this is open to U.S.-dwellers only.


 
 

Mata’s Guide to Summer Fun

Summer is finally upon us! And lucky for us, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Chicago during these next few hot weather months. If you ever find yourself at a loss for what to do, check out one (or all) of the things below! And, of course, we’ve provided you with some cute styling suggestions. Whatever you decide to do this summer, do it in style.

Watch a movie in the park

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Get excited for summer Tuesdays, and pull your picnic basket and blanket out of winter storage! The list of movies being screened at Millennium Park this summer include classics such as The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World, and The Princess Bride, as well as a more recent smash hit La La Land. Be sure to get there early to snag a prime seat! Or visit the Chicago Parks District’s website to see if any of the other hundreds of movie screenings are happening at your local park.

Spend a weekend at the Indiana Dunes

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Such a fun weekend getaway! Splurge on a recycled polyester backpack and some ethical cargo shorts and you’re conquering the sand in style. Pitch a tent, start a fire, and spend the weekend roasting marshmallows and climbing Indiana’s famous sand dunes.

Take a “Make & Take” jewelry class with your girls!

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You love jewelry– why not try your hand at making a custom piece of your very own? MASHALLA is located in Pilsen, sells unique handmade jewelry on their website, and they offer a variety of jewelry making workshops (like the Morse Code Necklace workshop on June 22nd!). Or, schedule a private jewelry making class for you and your friends– the perfect girls night out!

Hit the zoo

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Not only does the Lincoln Park Zoo have a wide variety of animals to visit and learn more about, but did you know it’s free? For an inexpensive day out, spend your time exploring the zoo, walking their boardwalk and enjoying a view of the skyline before grabbing lunch at one of their restaurants.

Find a patio

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There’s nothing like eating a delicious meal while simultaneously enjoying a warm summer breeze. Round up your friends or coworkers and dine alfresco! For a list of some of the best patio and rooftop restaurants in the city, check out Eater Chicago’s list.

Take a hike

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Spend some time enjoying the great outdoors! Did you know you don’t have to travel that far from the city to do it? Throw on some stretchy PACT leggings and organic cotton sneakers and check out this list from Chicagoist of the best hiking paths that are totally do-able as a day trip.

Tea time at the Drake

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Pinkies up! For Chicagoans, tea time at the Drake Hotel is one of those things you have to experience at least once in your lifetime. Grab a friend, throw on a dress (how perfect would our Tea Time dress be?), and allow yourself to feel like royalty as you sip tea and munch on hors d’oeuvres.

Shop a farmer’s market

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In the Midwest, we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by tons of small farms outside any major city. We don’t even need to leave the city to appreciate their fresh produce and flowers, thanks to farmer’s markets! Green City Market is dedicated to local produce and sustainability (not to mention it’s one of the 7 best farmer’s markets in the country). Keep it casual in some Birks and your new favorite tote bag. If you can’t make it out to Green City or just prefer to stay closer to home, do not fret! Go here for a full list of farmers markets in the city.

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Hit the Beach with Mata

It’s that time of year again: beach season! But just because your mind might be on summer vacation, doesn’t mean your ethical shopping habits have to be! Support local, sustainable, and fair trade companies when you hit the beach this year.

Don’t know where to look? We put together a few ensembles to help you get started. If you weren’t already excited for some fun in the sun, these sets will make you want to head out and soak up some rays ASAP. Learn more about the companies mentioned here at the end of the post.

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A look made for lounging poolside. Show off this adorable one-piece by Underprotection with a Kayu statement tote while burying your nose in a copy of The Responsible Company, a page-turner about the first 40 years of Patagonia. If you do get the urge to dip your toes in the water, dry off with a handwoven cotton towel by Kara Weaves. Add a splash of color to the otherwise muted outfit with our Madrona dress in red!

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A little bit of indigo goes a long way. This handmade cotton towel by Woven Promises, floral bikini by Underprotection (here & here), and tote by Kayu compliment our Tisbury dress perfectly!  When you’re done splashing in the waves, flip through The Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black, your guide to learn more about the environmental and social impact of the fast fashion industry.

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Made of 95% fair trade organic cotton jersey and 5% spandex, our Summer Sonnet dress in cobalt will be a beach cover-up that won’t restrict you in the slightest. Pair with this bikini by Underprotection (here & here) and bag by Mar Y Sol for a look that will be perfect for beach volleyball, strolls on the boardwalk, and everything in between. When you’re ready to relax, lie back on this Woven Promises whimsical rainbow beach towel and flip open Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan, a book that will help you take back your purchasing power as a consumer.

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Let out your inner mermaid out in this Underprotection one-piece. Add to the feminine flair with our Oxford Pocket Dress in pink, this Mexican serape blanket by Camaxtl, and a striped tassel tote by Mar Y Sol. To Die For, an expose on the fashion industry written by Lucy Siegle, ethical living columnist for The Observer, adds the finishing touch to an afternoon in the sand.

About the Brands

Underprotection is a Danish company whose mission it is to show the world that being sustainable doesn’t mean you have to be any less fashionable. Their production is certified with Fair Wear Foundation, an independent and non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the fair treatment of garment workers, and all of their swimwear is made using recycled polyester.

Woven Promises is a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation and is dedicated to improving the lives of economically struggling artisans in Ethiopia through the fair purchase and resale of their products. The artisans they work with honor age-old techniques, weaving, spinning, and dying all of their products by hand.

Kara Weaves works with weaving co-operatives in Kerala, India to design and produce contemporary textiles using ancient fabrics and traditional wooden looms. In 2013, Kara Weaves became a member of the Fair Trade Forum of India.

Camaxtl is made up of 13 artisans working in San Bernardino Contla in Tlaxcala, Mexico. All of the designs come out of community of Saltillo and the serapes are woven using traditional methods, allowing the artisans to make a living while preserving their cultural heritage.

Mar Y Sol artisans use organically tanned leathers and ethically sourced raw materials that not only honor tradition but protect the environment. Mar Y Sol products are handmade in Madagascar and feature creative designs and exquisite craftsmanship.

Kayu is passionate about providing every woman with the ability to make a living for herself through the production of time-honored crafts. Kayu uses locally-sourced and eco-friendly materials to ensure that their production method has a positive impact on the environment, as well as their artisans.

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Ethical Wedding Showers and Flowers – Oh My!

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Weddings can take a lot of energy to plan, so it’s a huge relief that somebody else handles the bridal shower. When my mom and aunt brought up mine, one of my first thoughts was, “What am I going to wear?”

My biggest love affair, other than my soon-to-be husband, was fair trade fashion. Naturally I had to wear a dress that was not only fun and pretty, but made with integrity. And since Mata Traders always hits the mark, I went with a beautiful pastel floral print from the SS’15 collection (Afternoon Allure dress in blue – sold out but similar here).

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Looking to Mata’s current spring/summer season, floral prints are abound and featured on flirty silhouettes.

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For the bride who loves her accessories and enjoys a pop of color, the black and white Mod Motion dress is perfect. Pair it with accessories that match your wedding colors, or let your shower guests adorn you with all those ribbons.

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Feel like wearing your something blue at the shower? The Sydney dress’ indigo floral print will have your guests gushing over you. Go bold with gold and white accessories, like the Archer necklace in ivory and the Layered Spike earrings in cream.

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And for brides who love a touch of sophistication (maybe to impress the in-laws), the navy Eva Wrap dress is cut just right. Pair it with daintier jewelry like the Tiered Tube necklace or gold Chime In earrings and a pair of wedges.

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The week of my shower, I was very excited about receiving gifts, but not just so I could have more stuff. I was more enthusiastic about the great stories behind these beautiful products. I wanted our apartment to be filled with conversation pieces that could spark discussions with friends and family on the importance of fair trade and other ethical practices, and of course, make the place feel more like home!

If you’re also craving a change of pace from the standard registry, and want unique, fairly-made pieces, I found two great fair trade websites to register on for my shower. Serrv and Ten Thousand Villages both have a wide array of home goods to browse through. From kitchen utensils (how cool are these?) to furniture, to serving bowls (like these nesting bowls made in Cameroon), and garden pieces, there’s something for everyone. Or, register with a site like Thankful and add your favorite ethical products from whatever shops you like (I love these towels from Giraffe).

Beautiful acacia wood serving pieces, hand carved to highlight the wood’s natural grain.

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It seems like 99% of brides register at Target, and understandably so (what don’t they sell?). You probably want electronics and other items that may not have easily found ethical alternatives. So if you’re already planning to register at Target, I have exciting news for you! One of my favorite online shops, Accompany now has product featured on Target.com. Add linens, decorative bowls, mugs, jewelry boxes, and more to your registry. Accompany has a beautifully curated collection of fair trade and artisan made goods, so it will be hard to choose!

Of course, there are always the type of guests who won’t shop online (think: grandma and her sisters). In that case, encourage them to shop local, or even pass down something special from their own marriage (if you’re like me, you love the story, right?).

When it comes to shower day-of details, it’s surprisingly easy to add an ethical twist!

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Serve fair trade chocolate (Divine Chocolate has a ton of fun flavors) and fair trade coffee from Equal Exchange. And to sweeten up that lemonade? Try some fair trade sugar.

DIY-ing the decor and using local vendors for food and flowers is a great way to support your local community, fuel your creativity, and minimize your environmental impact.

Now knowing your shower is good for the world, it’s time to sit back, relax, and try to soak in all of the love being poured over you from dear friends and relatives.

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From Paper to Print : Behind the Design of the Spring ’17 Collection

Hello! I’m Katelyn, one of the textile designers here at Mata Traders. With our Spring/Summer ‘17 collection off to such a great start, I thought it might be fun to give you all a glimpse behind the creation process of two of our most popular prints this season! Taking a sketch from the initial concept and developing it into one of a dozen finalized prints in a collection can be a labor of love, but it is always worth it in the long run. I love seeing my work on so many beautiful Mata customers!

The first popular print of the season began with the idea of using lines to form an interconnected patchwork pattern – we called it Patchwork Lines. I took inspiration from African and Moroccan textiles but for a more organic look, added my own hand-drawn slant to it.
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I sat down and started doodling and the framework for the print emerged.

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Then I digitized it and created the tessellation.

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One of the best ways to get more mileage out of one print design is to play around with how it looks. Varying the amount of colors used in the print, using different printing methods, scale, or types of fabric are all great methods we can use to try out new variations of a print. With so many different silhouettes in each collection, sometimes certain variations work better on one style or fabric than another.

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Three color, industrial printing process, on fair trade organic jersey cotton

 

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Two color, traditional screen printing process

 

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Two color, traditional screen printing process

 

The second print that’s been flying off the shelves this spring is the Pop of Floral, and we used it in two different variations in the collection. The influence for this print came from Suzani inspired designs.

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I’m not gonna lie, this print was a real doozy to get right. Unlike the patchwork lines print, which was successful on the first iteration, the pop of floral was ridiculously tricky, taking several rounds of revisions. We almost ended up cutting it a few times but persevered! The hardest part to get right was the vines. Below are a couple of examples that were just not quite right.

Ouch. Too many vines here!

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This one is slightly better, but still kind of claustrophobic and viney.

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Ah, finally! We’ve got a winner!

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Three color, industrial printing process, on fair trade organic jersey cotton

 

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Three color, hand screen printing process

By changing the colors and doing one in woven cotton and one in a knit cotton, it almost looks like a completely different print!

Whether you’re looking for a fun floral or a funky geometric this spring, Mata has plenty of original prints for you to choose from. We invest a lot of time creating one-of-a-kind textile designs for our unique customers, and this Spring/Summer ‘17 Collection is fair trade fashion you can get excited about!

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Mata Loves Moms

In honor of today being Take Your Daughter (or Child) to Work Day here in the U.S., and in anticipation of Mother’s Day, we figured some of you might be wondering what it’s like to be a working mom at one of our partner cooperatives. You’re curious, right?

According to Indian laws, women are guaranteed 3 months of paid maternity leave and job protection – this would be great (and is still better than the maternity leave policy in the U.S.), except many employers overlook these laws. There were over 900 lawsuits filed regarding maternity law violations in the past several years, with likely many, many more unreported cases involving women who were unable to take legal action.

Few employers offer flexible working hours or daycare, and many won’t offer extended maternity leave, even if there are ongoing medical issues, forcing most women to quit their jobs after having a child.

With around only a quarter of Indian women returning to work after having children, it’s no wonder a fair trade artisan cooperative is a great place to work! At Mata, we value the importance of working with producer groups who provide support and services to their members, especially mothers.

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Our partner cooperative in Nepal has a daycare right next to the production unit where the stitchers work. If their kids aren’t old enough to attend school, moms can bring their kids to the daycare. This is super helpful for the co-op members – they don’t have to go through the stress of scheduling or paying someone else to watch their children (moms out there know what a hassle this can be!). Plus, they can see their kids whenever they want while at work!

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Some of the kids at our Nepal cooperative’s daycare center.

 

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You can see, frequent visits with mom make for some happy kiddos!

Our jewelry artisans have organized an after school program for neighborhood kids, many of them with parents who work at the cooperative. The children come to the center after school until their parents are done at work. There are two teachers, one for younger children around kindergarten age and one for older children.

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The younger kids spend some time with the ABCs, and the older children are tutored on subjects like Math, Science, Hindi, and English. A few of the kids said they love Math and Hindi, and on the day of this photo they were learning subtraction and days of the week in English.

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Naseem, the head of our jewelry workshop, with his son.
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Many women who work at our partner cooperatives have explained that homemaking and childcare tends to be the woman’s responsibility in Indian/Nepali households, so working isn’t always feasible for much of the female population. Being able to provide a second income while fulfilling their motherly responsibilities is a great opportunity, and their children happen to love it, too.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Fashion Revolution Week

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April 24th-30th is Fashion Revolution Week! And since we know you’re just as excited for it as we are, we put together a handy resource guide to answer your questions, highlight events taking place near our Chicago headquarters, and let you know how you can get involved wherever you are!

What is Fashion Revolution?

Fashion Revolution is a not-for-profit organization based in the U.K. that is dedicated to creating a more ethical fashion industry, one that values its workers and the environment and treats them both with respect.

How did it come to be?

On April 24, 2013, the Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,134 people and injuring more than 2,500. The factories inside the building produced garments for numerous popular apparel brands, including United Colors of Benetton and Zara. The day prior to the structural failure, cracks were discovered in the building, and architects warned that the conditions were dangerous. The space, originally designed for banking and retail use, wasn’t built to bear the weight of manufacturing plants with heavy machinery and thousands of employees. Under pressure to meet the short production deadlines of his fast fashion clientele, the building’s owner ordered factory staff to return to work the next day anyway. The catastrophe was the deadliest garment factory accident in history. More than half of the victims were women, along with many children who were in the factory’s daycare facility.

Fashion Revolution Week

Photo credit: Fashion Revolution

To commemorate the tragedy, Fashion Revolution asks members of the fashion industry and people all over the world to unite annually on April 24th to make fashion a force for good. Believing that transparency is at the heart of ethical production, Fashion Revolution encourages everyone to ask one simple question: Who made my clothes?

What can I do?

There are numerous ways to get involved! If you live in the Chicago area, below is a list of events you can attend:

Friday, 4/21 – Fashion Show at DePaul

6pm – 9pm, Cortelyou Commons, 2324 N. Fremont St.

The DePaul Fair Trade Committee will be hosting its fourth annual Fashion Revolution event in commemoration of the Rana Plaza Disaster. From a Runway to a free Raffle, they will be providing food and entertainment with a special performance by local artist Ridgio and much more! And did we mention its entirely FREE?

Mata Traders will be at this event so come say hi!

Tuesday, 4/25 – Make Do and Mend

5pm – 9pm, 623 S. Wabash St.

Photo Credit: Fashion Revolution

Join a group of Columbia College fashion students to fix, tailor, and upcycle your clothing! While your garments are being altered, watch a screening of “The True Cost” in the same building. There will also be a screen printing demo, with t-shirts available for immediate purchase.

Want to make a night of it? Head to Epic Burger for dinner, and mention Chicago Fair Trade at checkout: 20% of your meal’s cost will be donated to CFT! RSVP here before April 22nd.

Wednesday, 4/26 – Fashion Show and Panel

5:45pm – 9pm, 618 S. Michigan Ave., 2nd floor

Photo credit: Chicago Fair Trade

Chicago Fair Trade and Columbia College are co-sponsoring an epic ethical fashion event! The night will begin with a social, where guests can treat themselves to fair trade wine and hors d’oeuvre while perusing a curated selection of pop-up shops. Afterwards, there will be a fashion show featuring clothing from fair trade vendors, resale shops, and sustainable student pieces. Lastly, there will also be a panel discussion with keynote speaker Kelsey Timmerman, author of “Where am I Wearing?”

Mata Traders will be at this event so come say hi!

Thursday, 4/27 – Film Screening and Q&A

1pm, Evanston Public Library

Photo credit: Eco Fashion Talk

Watch “Clothes to Die For,” a documentary about the Rana Plaza Tragedy. Stay for a Q&A with Kelsey Timmerman after the screening.

Friday, 4/28 – March to Nike

10am, 618 S. Michigan Ave.

Photo credit: Huffington Post

Join a group of delegates marching to the Nike store on Michigan Avenue in protest of Nike’s refusal to let the Worker Rights Consortium access their factories. Thank you notes will also be delivered to Eileen Fisher and Patagonia for their commitment and leadership in ethical fashion.

Not in Chicago? Not a problem!

Head to http://fashionrevolution.org/events for a list of events taking place worldwide, or get involved any of the ways below:

Monday, 4/24 – Show Your Label

Photo credit: Fashion Revolution

Turn your clothing inside out and show off your label! Then snap a pic and post it to social media with the hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes to demand transparency from apparel companies.

Thursday, 4/27 – Take a Stand

Take a stand today against companies that use sweatshops, exploit cheap labor, or aren’t transparent about their supply and production chains by donating to fair trade organizations or purchasing fair trade products!

If you’re having trouble deciding on a fair trade brand to support, we may have a suggestion for you…

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Tell Your Fashion Love Story

Photo credit: Fashion Revolution

Clothing isn’t meant to be worn a couple times and discarded; it’s meant to be cherished, cared for, and passed on! Check out some of these fashion love stories, and then tell your own. Make an Instagram post, YouTube video, podcast, or blog post about an item in your closet that means a lot to you. Your story could be featured by Fashion Revolution!

Share Your #Haulternative

Photo credit: Haulternative

Fashion shopping hauls are all too common, but not at all necessary! There are numerous ways to refresh your wardrobe without buying new clothing. Make a video showing your #Haulternative, whether it be distressing jeans, trying a cute DIY, buying secondhand, or organizing a clothing swap with friends. Upload your video to YouTube during Fashion Revolution week and spread the hashtag #Haulternative. For a complete how-to, download the #Haulternative guide.

Become a Student Ambassador

Photo credit: Fashion Revolution

If you are a student and would like to get involved in organizing Fashion Revolution events at your college or university, download the guide!

Be a Conscious Shopper

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The best way to stop the harmful effects of fast fashion is to stop supporting it. Instead, invest in slow fashion and research where and how a garment is made before purchasing. For a more comprehensive guide of how you can be a fashion revolutionary, download this booklet.

Learn more about how your favorite fair trade fashions are made at our artisan partner cooperatives, and how your support of ethical fashion affects the lives of garment workers overseas. And all week long, share Fashion Revolution photos from our facebook album of some of our artisans.

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10 Women of India Who Changed History

Happy Women’s History Month! As March comes to an end, we want to recognize the skilled female artisans who craft many of Mata Traders’ pieces, as well as pay tribute to strong, inspirational women of India who’ve made their mark on history. Below is a compilation of just a few of the courageous women who have broken down barriers and changed their country for the better.

Medhar Patkar

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Image source: http://www.outlookindia.com/people/medha-patkar/4574

Activist turned politician, Medhar Patkar is a well-known advocate for sustainability, just land acquisition and development, workers rights, and the rights of slum and forest dwellers. Over the years, Patkar has led the fight against numerous development projects in India that have threatened to displace marginalized groups and hurt the environment. She is most famous for founding Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), a social movement that protests the construction of a number of large dams across the Narmada River. Patkar has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout her career, including the Human Rights Defender Award from Amnesty International and the Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice.

 

Irom Chanu Sharmila

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Image source: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/content/tags/irom-chanu-sharmila

Recently ending her 16-year hunger strike on March 14, Irom Chanu Sharmila, also known as the “Iron Lady of Manipur,” had been fasting in protest of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) since she was 28 years old. AFSPA grants the military the right to to use unregulated force in “disturbed” areas of India in order to prevent uprisings. As a consequence of her protest, Sharmila was arrested for “attempted suicide,” detained at a hospital, and fed through a nasal tube after beginning her hunger strike. Realizing that her fast was not bringing about the kind of change she’d hoped, Sharmila ended her hunger strike and shifted course to pursue a career in politics. Her legacy of passion and perseverance make her among the most influential women of India.

Rani Lakshmibai

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Image source: http://www.readersmail.com/did_you_know/5-facts-about-rani-lakshmibai/

As the queen of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmibai fought fiercely and ferociously against British rule during the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857. Having a young adopted son did not stop her in the slightest, and many accounts depict her riding into battle wielding two swords, the horse reins in her teeth, and her son on her back. Though Jhansi eventually fell to British rule, Lakshmibai was able to rally her troops and, against all odds, hold onto her land for over two weeks. Despite being forced to evacuate her city, Lakshmibai fought to the death, dying in battle after refusing to surrender. Her strength and bravery made her a legend in Indian culture. She has been honored with numerous statues, and the Indian National Army’s all female infantry was named after her during World War II.

 

Usha Mehta

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Image source: https://bravechick.com/blog/brave-chick-of-the-week-usha-mehta/

A freedom fighter and devout follower of Mahatma Gandhi, Usha Mehta and a few of her associates organized the underground radio station Secret Congress Radio during the Quit India Movement of 1942. Her efforts got her arrested and sentenced to prison for four years for conspiring against the British government. In 1998, the Indian government honored her with the Padma Vibhushan award, one of India’s highest civilian awards.

 

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Image source: https://mediadiversified.org/2016/10/29/trustee-of-the-future-vijaya-lakshmi-pandit/

A diplomat and politician, Pandit’s career was full of many impressive accomplishments. She was the first Indian woman ever to become a Cabinet Minister and the first woman in the world to be an ambassador to three different countries, serving in Moscow, London, and Washington D.C. Most notably, however, she was the first woman and the first Asian to be elected the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

 

Savitribai Phule

Savitribai Phule

Image source: http://www.dailyexcelsior.com/savitribai-phule-the-pioneer-of-women-education-in-india/

Described as “one of the first-generation modern Indian feminists,” Savitribai Phule is most known for, along with her husband Jyotirao Phule, opening the first women’s school in India. Together, the couple opened 18 schools for girls, and Savitribai became India’s first female teacher and headmistress. Their social work did not stop there, however. Savitribai and her husband opened an “infanticide prohibition house” to help care for pregnant victims of sexual exploitation who were at risk of committing suicide or infanticide due to their condition. They also fought against the caste system and opened a well in their house, welcoming untouchables who were denied drinking water by the upper caste.

 

Justice Anna Chandy

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Image source: http://www.dailytop.com

Justice Anna Chandy became the first female Indian judge when she was appointed to a district court 1937. When she was appointed to a high court in 1959, she became only the second woman in the world to hold the distinctive title of high court judge. Along with her judicial accomplishments, Justice Chandy advocated for women’s rights in the journal she founded and edited, Shrimati.

 

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

Image source: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/essay/singular-woman-kamaladevi-chattopadhyay

Freedom fighter, feminist, and socialist, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was a major contributor to India’s independence movement and an advocate for women’s equality. After the Partition of India in 1947, she organized the Indian Cooperative Union, helping rehabilitate over 50,000 refugees in the newly founded township of Faridabad. Today, the industrial township has a population of around 1.5 million people. Kamaladevi is most known for her work to preserve Indian handicrafts and protect the artisans who make them. Worried about the effects that Western methods of mass-production would have on India’s traditional crafts, she set up numerous craft museums throughout the country, as well as founded the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography. Her leadership was instrumental in starting the All India Handicrafts Board.

 

Kiran Bedi

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Image source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/kiran-bedi-youth-skill-development-bjp-delhi-assembly-elections/1/416440.html

Kiran Bedi became the first woman to join the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1972. She voluntarily retired from the force in 2007 as the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development. In May 2016, she was appointed as the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, a position that she still holds today. In 1984, she launched the NGO Navjyoti India Foundation (NIF), whose mission was to aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of drug addicts and has since expanded to tackle illiteracy and women’s empowerment issues. She also founded the India Vision Foundation in 1994, which works to reform police forces and prisons, empower women, and develop rural areas within India.

 

Sucheta Kriplani

Sucheta Kriplani

Image source: https://alchetron.com/Sucheta-Kriplani-1354814-W

A freedom fighter during the Indian Independence Movement, Sucheta Kriplani worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi during the Partition Riots. She was elected to the Constituent Assembly and, as part of a subcommittee, helped draft India’s constitution. In 1963, she was elected the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, making her the first female Chief Minister in India’s history.

 

 

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Spring Break Style

Dust off your flips flops and grab the sunnies – your escape from winter doldrums has arrived. Meet Mata’s new Spring/Summer 2017 collection!

Take a look at some fresh, fun pieces to add to your warm-weather wardrobe. Whether you actually get a vacation or just plan on daydreaming your way to a sandy beach, our spring break style tips will take you there. You’ve worked hard – treat yourself to a destination-worthy outfit.

No matter where you’re headed, our Spring 2017 collection is flexible and flattering, with bold prints and style to spare. Four trips, four outfits; we’ve got you covered.

Mountain Trip Outfit

Etta skirt *coming soon!* // Crosswinds cuff gold

All that urban air gotten to your lungs? Take a deep breath of some mountain air and be bold – that’s right, hike in a SKIRT. That’s crazy, you say. It’s so silly, you say. But if you like feeling a little girly, there’s no reason not to! Go straight from trail to taproom in a skirt that’s got plenty of room to stretch but looks nice enough for a night out. Add a fitted cuff for a smart accessory that won’t get in the way.

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Sydney dress black // Santa Fe ring *coming soon!* // Althea neckalce gold *coming soon!*

Galavanting across Europe is a gift in itself, but take a cue from the Euros: get a chic new outfit, and make it look effortless. No need to shy away from prints just because you’re in the most fashion forward area of the world – a graphic black and white dress will do the trick! Bright earrings and a big ring add the right amount of punch, and a gold layered necklace dresses it up.

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Tea Time dress red //  Hex Cutout earrings emerald

Stick a straw in that coconut, it’s time to relax (lucky you)! Take your funky side out for a beachside stroll in a bright dress and standout earrings. The salty breeze will carry you all the way to a dressy dinner. Just give your windswept hair a quick brush, and change out of your flip flops. Our favorite perk of spring break style? Versatile dresses take up minimal space to keep your luggage packed light!

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Maisie Trim Top black // Empress earrings red

Who says you have to go somewhere exotic to treat yourself to a new look? Most of us don’t make time to explore our local hidden gems, so a hometown weekend is the ultimate opportunity to rediscover great places in your own backyard. Be the new tourist in town (wink) with a comfortable top and dangly earrings. After all, adventure goes beyond a passport stamp!

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Women-Owned Businesses in honor of International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, a day to acknowledge the perseverance and determination of women everywhere. What better way to celebrate than by supporting your local and nationwide women-owned businesses (luckily, Chicago is FULL of them)! We compiled a list of just some of the hundreds of thousands of women-owned businesses nationwide, so you know your money is going to a fellow female. Happy shopping/eating/spending!

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Uncommon Ground link

A Chicago jewel, the weekend brunch is a must try! Their menu changes seasonally, and they use organic, sustainable, and locally grown ingredients whenever possible. In the summer, enjoy dishes made using produce from their certified organic rooftop garden above their Edgewater location.

Located: 1401 West Devon Ave., Chicago, IL 60660 & 3800 North Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613

Women & Children Firstlink

Not only women owned, but over the years Women & Children First has grown to be one of the largest Feminist Bookstores in the country with over 30,000 books by or about women on the shelves! Be sure to keep an eye out for the many special events and book signings they have with well-known female authors throughout the year.

Located: 5233 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60640

Art Effect Boutiquelink

A “one stop shop,” the Art Effect Boutique offers a wide and continuously changing selection of clothing, jewelry, accessories, home goods, and bath and body products.

Located: 934 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL  60614

The Growling Rabbitlink

An adorable, laid back cafe that is very vegetarian and vegan friendly! Recently relocated from Roger’s Park to Edgewater, The Growling Rabbit features a slightly updated look with the same delicious food.

Located: 5938 N. Broadway Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

Dovetaillink

A store full of handcrafted and vintage items, that is devoted to the principle of buying better–not more. Swing by for gorgeous jewelry, home goods, and more!

Located: 1452 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Ethiopian Diamondlink

Whether you’re already a fan of Ethiopian food or simply an adventurous eater, Ethiopian Diamond is the go-to for Ethiopian food in Chicago. Just don’t forget to make sure your hands are clean before you chow down.

Located: 6120 N Broadway St., Chicago, IL 60660 & 7537 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60626

Lori’s Shoeslink

Lori opened her first shop in a small storefront in Lincoln Park in 1983. Since then, Lori’s has expanded to occupy nearly 4,500 sq. ft. and sell shoes, bags, accessories and, most recently, apparel.

824 Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL 60614 (See website for suburban locations)

Badass Cross Stitchlink

Cross stitchers unite! If you are a fan of the craft, you have to look into Badass Cross Stitch. Not only are the patterns created by a woman, but many feature various influential women and women leaders–just check out the Badass Women Series!

Twisted Scissorslink

A funky salon that specializes in bold color and cuts. If you have been contemplating an edgy new style, this is the place to get it done!

Located: 2001 N. Point St., Chicago, IL 60647

Dirt Body Carelink

Reasonably priced body scrubs that are good for your skin and the planet! Dirt body scrubs are all natural and never use parabens, mineral oils, petroleum, artificial colors, or animal testing.

 

 

Nation-wide Businesses

Badalalink

Gorgeous handcrafted accessories and kitchenware. Badala provides employment to female artisans in East Africa and Central America, with the goal to eventually put an end to poverty and sex trafficking worldwide.

Mater Soaplink

Handcrafted, small batch soaps that are made using 100% natural and sustainably-sourced plant ingredients.

S’welllink

S’well was founded in 2010 as a way to combat plastic water bottle waste. Fast forward seven years and it is the fastest growing female-owned business in the country!

Juniperseed Mercantilelink

Juniperseed Mercantile is where you can find eco-friendly alternatives to many common but wasteful household items. They offer handmade cleaning solutions, beauty products, and cloth versions of everyday paper goods.

Kosåslink

Handcrafted in L.A., Kosås lipsticks are not only rich in color but they do not contain any parabens, preservatives, or synthetic fragrances. As well as being gluten, egg, nut, soy, and cruelty free.

Rae Venalink

Describing herself as a Visionary Pop Surrealist, Rae Vena’s piece are rich with color and play with perspective. View her work on her website or at one of the many festivals and art fairs she attends.

Le Feu De L’eaulink

Translated into English, Le Feu De L’eau means “the fire of the water.” Appropriate, as Le Feu De L’eau candles are sculpted using water rather than molds!

Wunderkidlink

Created to encourage young creatives to pursue a career in the arts, a portion of every sale is put into a tuition fund for the artist.

Cleanse by Lauren Napierlink

Not only are Cleanse wipes easy and effective at removing makeup, pollution, and impurities from the skin, but you can rest assured knowing that they contain only pure ingredients and complex natural compounds that have been deemed safe by the World Health Organization.

Milalink

A curated selection of worldly goods from artisans and Fair Trade Organizations across the globe!

Sokolink

Handcrafted and ethically-sourced jewelry, Soko utilizes mobile technology to introduce small-scale and marginalized artisans into the global market.

Moon Juicelink

No doubt you heard about their “sex dust” when Gwyneth Paltrow revealed that she adds it to her infamous $200 smoothie, but Moon Juice offers a wide variety of different holistic and plant-based juices, milks, and snacks.

Moonrise Whimslink

Love cross stitch but don’t know how to do it yourself? Or simply want to support another artist’s work? Moonrise Whims offers numerous beautiful designs, many with funny or empowering sayings.

Isabel Halley Ceramicslink

Handcrafted pottery that is not only incredibly chic but also undeniably unique!

Sprinkles Cupcakeslink

Founders of the Cupcake ATM, by now the bullseye topped cupcakes have become iconic. Not to mention that it was founded and is owned by a woman! As if you needed another reason to eat a cupcake today…

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Behind the Scenes: Spring 2017 Fashion Shoot

As we get ready to launch our Spring ’17 Collection (coming soon to stores and our website!), we’re excited to share a little sneak peek of the catalog photo shoot, which took place in September 2016. From the time we start designing a collection to when it hits stores takes more than a year, and the spring 2017 fashion shoot happens before the goods even go into production in India and Nepal!

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Theme of the Shoot:

This season we really wanted to capture the essence of the “classic” Mata-lovin’ girl, with unpretentious, relaxed styling set against romantic, beachy, bohemian scenery. Here is the moodboard we created to kick-start our spring 2017 fashion inspiration:

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Location Scouting

In need of a dreamy, woodsy location to evoke the right mood for the catalog, we looked in our own backyard. The Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary was perfect for the outdoor portion of the shoot, and only a short drive from our office in Chicago. Not only is it a beautiful place to walk around and explore right in the city, it’s also a stone’s throw from Montrose Beach –two different backdrops in one trip!

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Since we had more than 75 garments to photograph, we also shot a full day in the studio – but tried to carry over the playful, relaxed vibe of the outdoor locations.

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The amazing crew:

We worked with our awesome photographer, Ashley, hair and make-up artist Caitlin, and three models: Carissa, Colleen, and Sierra (our very own Sales and Operations Assistant!).

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The Styling

For hair and make-up, we kept it natural and effortless – long loose chignons, natural waves and curls, easy up-dos, and minimal make-up.

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Our staff raided their closets and brought in accessories and shoes to help us style each outfit and our lovely friends at Greenheart Shop (hi, guys!) lent us some fair trade purses and totes to add the finishing touches. They say “it takes a village,” and that couldn’t be more true.

Last but absolutely not least, our Customer Service Manager, Emily, brought in her too-cool vintage blue bike. How cute is this thing?

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Our Spring ’17 Collection launches online mid-March – stay tuned!


 
 

Behind the Seams: a Special Q & A with Kristin

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By now, you’re well aware that we specialize in unique prints and original designs – we create our own clothing and jewelry from start to finish. The prints come from us, patterns for the clothing are developed in-house, and we learn a lot with each collection we launch. One of the best parts of fair trade is remembering that there are human beings behind every piece we make, but we usually think more of the artisans physically producing our products than of the people designing and planning. Our Design & Production team here in Chicago is so involved and experienced with the immersive process of designing and creating garments and jewelry that we wanted to spend this Q&A hearing from one of Mata’s early employees and our Designer, Kristin. She joined the team in 2010 and will be taking her 10th trip to India & Nepal next month! Here’s what she had to say:

1) What is your favorite part about traveling to India/Nepal?
The first time I traveled to India and Nepal I had no idea what to expect – it was overwhelming and new. Now, it has become such a part of my life, a familiar place with familiar people. I have so many favorite parts: the animals – cows, donkeys, dogs, an occasional camel or elephant sharing the road with your rickshaw, the vibrant colors – organized chaos is the best way I can describe it. I can’t get enough of the food, the daily cups of chai, and the go with the flow attitude.

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2) What is it like working with the artisans directly, when you visit?
I love working with the designers and patternmakers at each of our co-operatives, these are the people I email and talk to the most – having that global network of friends makes part of traveling so easy. A lot of my favorite memories are the chances we get to visit their homes, meet their families, and eat some of the best home cooked meals I’ve ever had. Visiting the artisans who stitch our clothing or make our jewelry and seeing the impact of our orders each season are some of the best parts about traveling. The feeling you get when they all pile in for a picture with you or their faces any time we get the courage to try and say a couple phrases in Hindi goes beyond any words.

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3) Do you have any specific memories or stories of your first trip there?
Oh gosh, one of the funniest memories I have is when Maureen insisted on riding an elephant to complete my first tourist-y India experience. Not only was this elephant ride down the narrowest of all narrow streets – which ended up completely holding up traffic in both directions – but the elephant’s tail whipped and hit jewelry displays in front of small shops on the street, all while the owner riding with us used a wooden stick to hold the power line cords up so we didn’t run into them – or get electrocuted. True story, there is video evidence to prove it.

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Fair Trade:

4) How did you first hear about fair trade? Was it something you had known about before working at Mata?
I had actually never heard of fair trade before I started working at Mata. Only left with an internship to complete before graduating college, I was searching through this huuuge binder of internship opportunities. Almost every page looked the same but somehow I stopped on Mata Traders. I went home, looked up the website online, and decided to apply for an internship. It wasn’t until then that I learned about fair trade and what that meant. Getting the opportunity to visit the artisans in India and Nepal is what made fair trade come full circle for me.

5) What is your goal, when designing for the fair trade fashion market?
When I’m designing sometimes I think back to 21 year old me and remember I wasn’t actively searching for fair trade items but attracted to unique pieces that caught my eye. Just because someone isn’t aware of what fair trade is or means, doesn’t mean that they don’t care. I feel like part of my job when designing to the market is to capture those people by their love for the product and to help them become passionate about the mission second. It’s all about reaching people in different ways.

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Mata:

6) What’s your favorite part of your job?
Favorite part of my job would have to be traveling and being able to be creative. If someone told me 10 years ago, this is where I would be I would have thought they were absolutely crazy. I’ve always loved to travel, but Mata has given me the opportunity to go so much further than I ever imagined. It sounds cliche, but it pushed me completely out of my comfort zone – teaching me a lot about myself and broadening my horizon in so many ways.

7) Do you have an all-time favorite Mata print?
Oh gosh – trying to mentally scan 12+ seasons of Mata prints and it is hard to choose! My favorite animal is a giraffe so when the SS13 collection came out with the giraffe print I was so excited! The delicate tumbling giraffes were just too cute! More recently, I am loving all the custom woven plaid/stripe designs we get to design. We are taking Mata to a whole new level!

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8) All-time favorite piece (dress, top, etc.)?
Again…it’s so hard to say. Sometimes I just have a love/hate relationship with the styles designed. All the work in getting the fit right – picking fabrics, sometimes I have nightmares about them (not a joke). But then, once you see someone else love it and the way they feel in it – that makes it all worth it. One of my favorite memories of design would be the Shanghai Shift Dress (bringing it back to SS13 again) – mainly because that is one of the first dresses I designed and saw come to life. I’ll forever remember when I had my first “Spot a Mata” and saw a woman wearing it around Andersonville. It was the coolest feeling!

9) What most excites you about Mata’s future?
Having worked here almost 7 years already (which I can’t believe!), I have been so fortunate in witnessing how much Mata has grown in such a short time. Our staff has grown from 5 to 18 and with that growth so has the recognition for the brand. Most importantly, I’m excited to keep bringing more work to our artisans and to continue growing and building our relationship with our suppliers.  Design wise – there has been some talk about going deeper in some of our apparel categories…Mata blazers, shorts and pants may be in our future, people!

In case you missed it, here’s the last post in our Behind the Seams series, a Q&A with our Director of Sales & Social Impact.


 
 

Our Team’s Mata Holiday Wish List

While many of our wish lists have some wants (“needs,” really) from other amazing ethical companies, most of us started by looking right in our own backyard – on the Mata shelves! We have lots of favorites. Lots. We just picked a few that would make great gifts:

1. Navy Hand Screened Infinity scarf –“Dala horses on an infinity scarf? Yes please! Andersonville is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago, so any Swedish reference is near and dear to my heart. I love how the pattern can also look abstract depending on how it’s worn.” – Laura

A gift for a dweller of any climate, a scarf is the best way to accent an outfit and add an easy layer. Cover it in this quirky print and voila! A gift with a little personality.

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2. Et Cetera cuff gold“Classic enough for my mom, but quirky enough for a friend. Plus it dresses up a bummy outfit pretty easily.” – Katie

A cuff that’s as versatile as they come – take it for a night out on the town or let it simply upgrade a basic outfit.

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3. Boho Back-Wrap Dress“It’s like wearing fancy pajamas around all day — you look gorgeous but it’s so soft and warm.” – Emily G.

It’s organic cotton jersey, so there’s plenty of flexibility (will probably fit even if you aren’t 100% sure on what size to give). In a holiday-neutral color, you can wear it all year round! A lot of fans of this dress have been wearing it backwards, too – swing the V around to the front and you’ve got an evening dress that’s a little more playful.

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4. Curated Color Necklace red – “It is busy enough to wear on its own, or you can layer it up!” – Lilly

A bright necklace makes for a bold present, but the wood keeps it subtle. Whether your giftee is down-to-earth or fine and fancy, this neckpiece is a work of art appreciated by anyone.

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5. Tide and Moon necklace gray“Neutral, but not. I NEVER fail to get compliments  when I wear it, and it works with everyone’s skin tones.” – Maria

So much more than a simple necklace, this layered piece lets the gray sing and gold *bling*.

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6. Helios studs“A reminder that we will have sunshine again someday.” – Emily

Because it’s really, REALLY easy to forget sometimes.

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Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Lilly

Our last Mata team holiday wish list comes from Lilly, our Sales Manager:

1. Closed Clog with Dot Design – These red polka dot clogs are made to order in Germany. You can send the shop owner the length of your foot and he will make them custom for you!

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2. Gilmore Girls Coloring Book by Etsy artist The Card Architect – With the new episodes out on Netflix, what better way to celebrate your love for #TeamJess than by gifting this coloring book? Browse the shop to see other fun items featuring pop culture personalities.

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3. Tea for Two Set from SERRV – Tea for two, and two for tea! How perfect is this little tea set?! Handmade by fair trade artisans in Vietnam. Brownie points if you can pair it with a box of fair trade tea, such as Numi.

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Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Laura

The next Mata team holiday wish list comes from Laura, our Marketing Manager:

1. Convivial Production Hanging Planter – Most of the flat surfaces in my apartment already have plants on them, so I need to start hanging them! 🙂 This planter is handmade in Kansas, and the cool graphic design fits my decor aesthetic nicely.

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2. Oaxacan Tortillera Basket by Territory Design – These beautiful baskets are made by a group of women weavers in Southern Mexico, and continue a long tradition of basket weaving in the region. I love that they have lids so I can put things inside them and appear to have less mess around my apartment.

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3. Blockshop Textiles Diamondback Scarf – I’ve been eyeing the beautiful scarves from Blockshop Textiles for awhile. They are hand block printed by 5th generation master printers in Bagru, India.

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4. Pretty much anything and everything from the store Alapash –  This is my favorite shop in Chicago – the owner sells a beautiful selection of fair trade/ethical items, handmade products by artists in Chicago and around the U.S., and awesome PLANTS. My husband could pick out any item from here for me for the holidays and I would not be disappointed :).

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Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Justine

I’m Justine, Designer & QC Coordinator, and I’m next up for Mata team wish lists – here goes!

 

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1. Oxfam Australia’s Everest Stoneware Teapot – I could drink Chai all day. I saw this at the Sana Hastakala store in Kathmandu and regret not getting it for myself. I’m all about little details so I love the textured detailing at the bottom.

 

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2. West Elm’s Peruvian Artisan Mirrors – I’ll always be a fan of big box brands carrying handmade, artisan items. The more demand there is for ethically made products, the more likely they’ll continue to carry them, so BOOM purchasing power.

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3. Cookbook from Women for Women International – Recipes from around the globe, beautiful photography, contributions from humanitarian powerhouses like Aung San Suu Kyi, AND a foreword from Meryl Streep? Somebody please get this for me.

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4. Nappa Dori Ikat Backpack – Discovered this brand on my first trip to India and I just love their aesthetic coupled with traditional Indian fabrics – I already own a couple things from here but want this backpack for all my imaginary trips.


 
 

Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Chris

We’re continuing our series of our staff’s holiday wish lists this week! Next up is Chris, our Managing Director:

1. Nisolo’s Smoking Shoe in Brandy – I am a shoes and handbag nut. My cravings for clothes are nothing compared to my “need” for accessories. So on my list this year is the Smoking Shoe in the brandy color from Nisolo, which is handmade by artisans in Peru. And because I like to matchy-match, the Luisa leather clutch in brandy is also spectacular!

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2. Matt & Nat’s Chanda Backpack in any color – I just love its simplicity. Matt & Nat is a vegan brand, so no animal products are used in production.

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3. Pact Camisoles – Besides Mata clothing, I love Pact and their camisoles. Made out of organic cotton in a sweatshop-free and child labor-free factory.

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Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Kacey

We’re continuing our series of some Mata team holiday wish lists! Next up, our Sales Manager Kacey:

1. Accompany’s Chiri Vintage Gold Corkscrew – Opening a bottle of wine – now even more beautiful! Made of brass by fair trade artisans in India.

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2. The Citizenry’s Noche Blanket – This blanket is gorgeous and it looks so soft! Hand-loomed using 100% baby alpaca by weavers in San Pedro, Peru.

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3. Fedora from Equal Uprise – I’m not sure I’m cool enough to wear fedoras, but I’m old enough not to care :). Handcrafted in Ecuador; 100% wool.

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4. SquareHue’s 1900s Nail Polish Set – I like to do my own nails and love the colors in this set. SquareHue is a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free line that dedicates a portion of their monthly subscription fees to social causes.

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5. Cincinnati City Series Market Bag at Apolis –  For carrying things while asserting my Ohio pride. The bag is handcrafted in Bangladesh and finished in California.

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Mata Team Holiday Wish Lists: Katie

Tis the season for peppermint mochas, stockings, and…holiday wish lists! Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing the Mata team’s dream gifts and must-haves this holiday season, so check back soon for more!

First up, our Graphic Designer and Community Manager, Katie:

I want stuff. I like stuff. But it’s hard to want stuff when so much of it isn’t “necessary” ( <– a very subjective term, in my opinion). So my wish list this year is full of products I have a real use for, all from companies who are doing some good.

  1. Raven + Lily journals – Handmade of recycled cotton by artisans in Northern India.

A photo posted by Raven + Lily (@ravenandlily) on

 

2. Schoolhouse Electric’s “Want Better Not More” print – This print is handmade via a woodblock printing process by graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill. 


3. Pact Apparel socks (I can’t get enough.) –  Handmade of organic cotton by artisans in a sweatshop-free and child-labor-free factory.

A photo posted by PACT Apparel (@wearpact) on


4. Cotopaxi’s Waxed Canvas Jacket – I was SO excited to discover this company! Cotopaxi makes outdoor clothing and gear that fund sustainable poverty relief, move people to do good, and inspire adventure.

A photo posted by Cotopaxi (@cotopaxi) on

 

5. Ten Thousand Villages’ Seed Pod Ornaments – So cute! I have a handful of seed pod birds that I love, but was excited to find ornament versions, with new animals.

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6. Drawing supplies from my new favorite Andersonville shop: Martha Mae

 


 
 

Looks Made for Mingling

Hi! I’m Mary, a college student interning at Mata Traders this fall, and I’m here to share some festive looks for the holiday season. It’s a season full of gatherings and good cheer, so I pulled together a few suggestions that will have you ready to mix and mingle.

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Keep a fancy lace dress grounded by adding some black booties and the boho-chic Knotted Fringe necklace. Slip on geometric earrings and a warrior-style cuff before dashing out the door.

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Let your jewelry shine on the classic canvas of this favorite Little Black Dress. The Midnight Song necklace, Mantra earrings, and Criss-Cross cuff will be the stars of the evening. Keep it simple with a leather clutch and nude wedges.

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Home for the holidays? Strut through the door with style. An effortless Gathered Ikat skirt paired with a textured top and the Maya Luna necklace shows off the sophisticated you. Add the playful Empress earrings for the finishing touch.

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Finally, celebrate the season with color! Take the Amazing Lace dress and add bright heels, a luminous necklace, and dangly earrings to reflect those twinkle lights.

These four festive looks are a perfect way to shop ethically this holiday season! To shop more dresses and jewelry for the holidays, check out our new arrivals.


 
 

Behind the Seams: a Special Q & A with Jonit

When our founder Maureen started Mata, she had two best friends, Jonit and Michelle, by her side on a ’round the world trip. While she knew those relationships would last a lifetime, it was anybody’s guess that those friends would be her business partners at a thriving fair trade fashion company over a decade later!

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Jonit has worn a lot of hats both before and after officially joining Mata as the Marketing Director in 2011; she has packed orders, gone to trade shows, taken trips to India, and everything in between. A valuable resource to Mata Traders as well as the fair trade community as a whole, she has embraced her position here as Director of Sales and Social Impact. We asked her to reflect a bit on how she got involved and what she loves about working here.

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1) When did your awareness and passion for fair trade start?

I actually don’t remember when I first heard of fair trade, but my awareness of global poverty and inequity started when I started traveling and living abroad after college. I saw stuff that made me realize that the world was not what I thought it was and that just wasn’t right. It was pretty eye-opening.

Following our senior year, Michelle, Maureen, and I applied for and were granted work visas to live in Australia for a year and during that time we also took the short flight to Southeast Asia and spent some time there, too. In Australia, the situation for Aboriginal Australians was shocking. Right when we got there we saw protests demanding that the government apologize for the Stolen Generations. Then we went into the outback and witnessed Aboriginal communities living in poverty as second class citizens, facing blatant discrimination in employment and education. It was like we’d traveled back in time to a pre-civil rights era. Then in Southeast Asia we walked through cities made of shanty houses and rural areas dotted with dirt floor huts. A stark contrast to the life we came from.

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2) What’s your favorite thing about your job?

Without a doubt it’s visiting our producer groups and seeing the impact that we’re having on families. I’m talking about women with a 4th grade education able to support their families and send their own children to college. Women in domestic violence situations accessing the support and the means to leave with their children. Women, who for their whole lives lived under the suppression of social roles as the inferior sex in their own homes, coming into their own and finding their voice among a community of other women. It really makes me proud that we’ve been able to go back to these women each year with bigger orders, that they can rely on us as much as we rely on them. The thing that could make my job even better would be the opportunity to take our customers to India and Nepal to meet the women who make our products. I want our customers to understand like I do the impact they make by purchasing a Mata dress.

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3) You travel to India and Nepal quite frequently to visit our producers – what’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you there? What story stands out that you’ve ever heard from an artisan?

I’ve heard many stories that have made an impression on me and motivated me to work hard to generate more business for the artisans. One cool thing that I was able to do on my last trip was visit the organic cotton farmers that grow the cotton for our jersey line. I got to walk amongst the cotton fields and even pick some cotton. It was cool.

There is one artisan story that stands out. It was told to me by Choti, who is one of the women who leads a hand-embroidery group. Her village was experiencing a severe drought and the women organized to appeal to the local officials to have water trucked in. They said they would help, but nothing happened. Every time Choti and the women returned, they got the run-around and empty promises. Finally, the women decided they needed to do something more drastic. They set up a blockade on a highway road that passes the village and the women, all 250 of them, stood there and would not let traffic pass. It didn’t take long before the water trucks arrived. The thing that really struck me about the story is that Choti credits the women’s co-op for giving them the confidence to stand up for themselves. She said that without the trainings they had received, they wouldn’t have known their rights and would not have even thought to go to their local officials to voice their problems and demand action.

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4) What does it mean to be an FTF member?

FTF members commit to an all-encompassing, 360 degree practice of fair trade. It’s not just about fair wages. That’s important, but there are other tenets of fair trade that are part of our business model. One example is that we pay our producer groups up front when we place our order, rather than 30 to 90 days after we receive the goods, which is the apparel industry norm. This means that our artisan groups do not have to pay out-of-pocket for the materials and that they have been paid the full price for their work no matter what the ultimate sales results. In India, it is common for merchants to only pay artisans for their handcrafts once they sell. The FTF’s holistic version of fair trade protects against this practice.

Another example is our commitment to long-term relationships with our suppliers. Our goal is to provide a sustainable and stable source of income for the artisans and that both our business and theirs flourish and grow together. Mainstream fashion brands might shop around each season to find suppliers that will give them a better price. If costs go up in China, they move to Bangladesh. That’s not how fair trade works. FTF members work specifically with groups from marginalized communities with the goal of making lasting change and breaking the cycle of poverty. That’s why we commit to partnering with our suppliers for the long-term. [You can read more about the FTF’s principles of fair trade here.]

One last thing I want to mention about being an FTF member is that we are part of a national network (USA + Canada) of wholesalers and retailers who are fully committed to these strict practices of fair trade. It’s a great feeling to be among such a passionate and hard-working community and to know that together we are making a difference in ending global poverty and bringing ethically-sourced alternatives to consumers.

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5) Why do you think fair trade matters? What’s the most profound impact that fair trade has on it’s member artisans?

The accepted way of doing business in our corporate, globalized world is to drive up profits by driving down costs. Certain costs are fixed, though, like materials and transportation, so what usually suffers is labor wages. Fair trade turns that approach on its head and instead of being motivated solely by profit, fair trade businesses ensure that everyone involved in the supply chain is able to benefit.

With injustices rampant in the fashion industry as it exists now, fair trade companies like ours are offering people options that avoid problems like dangerous working conditions and child labor. It’s is giving consumers the power to change the industry. I think people feel a little powerless about their ability to affect the world and the industry, and fair trade is an accessible way to act on your ethics and make change in the world.

The biggest change we have seen is among female artisans. I think most women in India and Nepal aren’t in positions to economically support their families, provide continued schooling for their children, or to be leaders in their communities. In the co-ops we work with, members learn literacy and financial literacy, and they have access to healthcare for themselves and their families. There are democratic structures within the organization, so they vote on who among them will be the leaders, and there are opportunities for advancement to supervisor positions. Belonging to the cooperatives has had a very positive effect on the women involved.

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6) What is it like being a fair trade company in Chicago?

Chicago must be the greatest city to be a fair trade company. As the biggest fair trade city in the U.S., we have so much support in this really vibrant community, so many companies with similar stories to ours, and a really excited and motivated fan base. Every year Chicago Fair Trade has a World Fair Trade Day festival downtown in the middle of a pretty corporate area of the city. So many business people in the middle of their hectic days make time to talk to us about what fair trade is and how they could get behind it. It’s always really exciting to have such a receptive and openminded response from a lot of people who were unfamiliar with fair trade before.

Keep an eye out for Jonit as she travels to trade shows around the country!


 
 

Mata and 360° Fair Trade

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As a member of the Fair Trade Federation, Mata is happy to use Fair Trade Month as an excuse to introduce a new way of talking about what fair trade is and what it means for the people who are doing this work: 360° fair trade. Our commitment to social, economic, and environmental responsibilities goes beyond fair wages and safe conditions. Fair Trade Federation members are also committed to building long-term and holistic partnerships with small farmers and artisan producer groups. These meaningful relationships in turn empower small farmers and artisans to sustainably grow and develop their businesses and communities.

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How does Mata embody 360° fair trade? Here are just a few ways:

  • The artisan sector is one that is known for being unregulated, and often artisans are not guaranteed pay unless the merchant sells their products, leaving artisans vulnerable to exploitation. One of Mata’s fair trade practices requires paying our producers for half the order up front and then paying the remaining amount when the products are shipped to us. This ensures that our artisans can afford the materials and will be paid their price no matter if we sell it for full price or on sale.
  • We are slow and deliberate to expand the number of artisan producer groups we work with because we believe in establishing a long-term commitment to artisan businesses. In fact, we still continue to work with the first artisan group we partnered with when Mata was founded almost 10 years ago! The relationships we have with our artisans are not only professional, but they also symbolize the deep commitment we have to the personal well-being of our artisans.
  • Rather than leave producers behind when products have problems, we work with our artisan groups to determine how we can improve the quality, fit, or materials of the products. At Mata, we believe that collaboration between our artisans and product development team is the key to the success of our business and artisan producers.

What does this mean to you as a Mata customer? It means that the product you purchase will be one of high quality and authenticity that has been ethically sourced and made with traditional skills. Each purchase also means that our artisans will continue their long-term partnerships with Mata Traders and impact their families and communities with positive changes.

As a Fair Trade Federation member, we’re proud to continue building healthy and long-term relationships with our artisans through 360° fair trade. We’re excited to be a part of this authentic approach to developing stronger commitments to social and environmental responsibility through our power as a business and as consumers.

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