Month: June 2011

In the Garden

Hello, everyone!  Here I am guest blogging for Mata!  I have always been a fan of this brand, and have a sizable Mata collection in my closet.  I am such a blog junkie, so it’s neat to be writing instead of reading.  I hope you enjoy, and comments are welcome!  Here we go:

This weekend I got a chance to go to one of my favorite places in St. Louis, the Botanical Gardens.  They are pretty and peaceful.  Every time I go here I try to wear something bright to fit in with all of the surroundings.  I had a really bad sunburn (accidentally!) that I didn’t particularly want to show off, so I opted for the softest cotton top I own.  It is a simple white button-down and I chose floral print shorts to get some color going on.  I am a bit of a color-phobe so I kept my accessories neutral.

I wish this was my backyard.  In the background you see the Climatron, which is where the exotic plants are grown.  Believe it or not, it was hotter outside the Climatron on this day.  So hot, in fact, that I was forced to do this:

…which I did not mind at all – I love knotting my shirt tails!  When tied tight your shirt turns into more of a crop top.  I usually do crop tops with things high-waisted, like Mata’s Symphony Skirt.  Such a cool look for summer.  I’ve been knotting things left and right.  Knot a t-shirt to the side (like you did in the 90s!), knot up the front of a cotton maxi-dress.  It’s a quick way to change a look, and get multiple looks out of one piece.

top Graham & Spencer, shorts Forever21, shoes Laurie Solet, sunglasses Gap, bracelets J. Crew and Waxing Poetic

Don’t you love when you find a shoe in that perfect color that magically goes with everything?  I call the color of these shoes taupe.  They kind of remind me of the Isabel Marant boots everyone is wearing, only much more affordable.  These mini wedges are go-to’s when I’ll be on my feet for the day and still want height.

All in all, it was a relaxing weekend that was desperately needed.  Did you guys have a good weekend?  I got my dad a coffee grinder for Father’s Day.  He promptly made a pot (with fair trade beans!) which was enjoyed out of my oldest favorite mug…

Until next time!


Welcome new fashion blogger!

Meet Laura.  You might recognize her from the cover of such catalogs as…

Mata Traders Winter 2008

Mata Traders Spring 2009

Mata Traders Spring/Summer 2010

Mata Traders Fall/Winter 2010

Laura is a wardrobe and image consultant and first came to Mata as a design intern from the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago.  Besides modeling in our catalogs, she also styled several of them and designed the layout.  She’s got some serious fashion chops, and we love her intuitive sense of style and coolness.

The big news around the blog is (drum roll, please)… Laura will be a guest fashion blogger!  Stay tuned to this station to discover her fashion insights, like how to style your Matawear to look your most fabulous and other fashion tips and musings.


Lakshmi bathing suit makes a splash in India

Back in May, label Lisa Blue sent a line of swimsuits down the runway at Australian Fashion Week.  One particular suit in the collection had an image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi on the front and across the rear end.  This caused outrage among some devout Hindus in India, who took to the streets to protest.  They ripped up photocopies of the Lakshmi suit and burned the Australian flag.

If you liked the suit and were hoping to buy one, you’re out of luck.  Lisa Blue quickly posted this response on facebook:

We would like to offer an apology to anyone we may have offended and advise that the image of Goddess Lakshmi will not appear on any piece of Lisa Blue swimwear for the new season, with a halt put on all production of the new range and pieces shown on the runway from last week removed. Lisa Blue has been born out of a love of conservation, spirituality and a respect for all people. At no time would we ever have intended that the brand would cause offense. The use of images of Goddess Lakshmi was not in any way a measure of calculated risk taking, simply it was a desire to celebrate different cultures and share that through our brand.

While you can buy Lakshmi t-shirts and tote bags throughout the entire Indian subcontinent, seeing the goddess of wealth and beauty stretched over someone’s rear end, that just goes too far for modest Indian sensibilities.  Of course, fashion is an equal opportunity offender, and the image of Buddha on a swimsuit was also seen as blasphemous in the somewhat-less-modest-than-India country of Thailand.

In case you’re wondering, Jesus on a bathing suit has been done before – in Brazil, and sure enough, the Catholic church vocalized its objections.  I don’t know where the picture below of the Virgin Mary bikini was taken, but it certainly makes a fitting counterpart to the back of the Lakshmi suit.


Catalog Appreciation Day

This week, Taylor has been creating our Fall/Winter 2011 catalog.  As you can imagine, it is quite an endeavor:  photographing the samples, writing descriptions, designing the layout and then using Photoshop to tediously put it all together.  For the inside cover, we decided to make a collage from pictures I took last summer in India of the women who sew our clothes at the cooperatives.  I think it’s a great idea, because, as a shopper, how often do you actually get to see a picture of the person who made the clothes you buy?!?!

Here are a few of the photos Taylor chose for the collage:

As I was sorting through the portraits for Taylor, and I came across some really fun pictures.  We actually had last Fall’s catalog with us at the cooperative, and the ladies were so excited to see it!  They got such a kick out of flipping through the pages and recognizing the pieces they had sewn.  They were obviously proud to see their work photographed on a model and displayed on glossy pages, and I felt like they were not used to seeing the end result of their hard work – the clothing for sale in a catalog.  They loved it!  I even think they were as thrilled as we were when we discovered our Arbor skirt on the TV show Pretty Little Liars.

Here they are admiring their handiwork in the pages of our Fall 2010 catalog:

p.s. Taylor, thank you so much for all of your hard work and attention to detail on the new catalog!  It looks great, and I can’t wait to see the finished product in print!


Fair Trade Lingerie is not easy to find

Michelle got married on Saturday!  It turned out to be a fabulous event and all of us bridesmaids were looking great in our fair trade bridesmaids dresses.  We’ll be sure to post lots of pics as soon as we get them from the photographer.

But, before we even talk about the dresses, I thought we should go deeper, under the surface, er…under the dress.  I’m referring to underwear.  For Michelle’s bachelorette party, the plan was for everyone to bring gifts of sexy lingerie for the new bride.  Maureen came up with the idea to get Michelle fair trade lingerie, and so I did an online search to find some.  Well, it turns out that fair trade lingerie is not that easy to find.  In fact, the US is so lacking in this product category that we had to order our sexy fair trade lingerie from the UK.

After looking at several ethical lingerie companies in the UK and France, including Enamore, Peau Ethique, Saumarez, we decided on a pretty floral nightie and matching panties from Luva Huva.

Forget-Me-Not Floral Nightie and Knickers from Luva Huva

With the value of the dollar at a low, in addition to the cost of international shipping, fair trade lingerie was not the most economical option.  But, we thought it was important, so Maureen and I split the cost 3 ways along with Michelle’s friend, Laura, who joined in with this gift.  When Michelle unwrapped it, she immediately loved the beautiful semi-sheer fabric and simple elegance of the design.  She loved it even more when we told her it was fair trade!

If you’re looking for socially responsible underwear from the US, we came across PACT.  They don’t have sexy lingerie.  In fact, they don’t even have bras.  What they do offer are straight up comfy underpants for men and women.


Walking the Fair Trade Runway

Here are the first runway pics from Greenheart’s Fair Trade Fashion Show.  A big thank you to all the fabulous models and to Greenheart Shop for putting on a great show!