When it comes to handbags and footwear, usually I go for leather. This is mostly for the durability factor, but also because it also ages so beautifully, and it is a byproduct that otherwise would be discarded. Also, I buy most of my stuff secondhand nowadays, so since I understand the problem of the meat industry being so terrible for our environment, this helps me feel a bit better. However, I’ve noticed the animal friendly, vegan community really making incredible strides in their manufacturing practices, with vegan leather being just about as strong, if not as strong, as the real thing. Matt & Nat has been an amazing vegan handbag brand on my radar for quite some time now, and I’ve carried a few of their products for awhile and they’ve held up quite well!
In 1995, Matt & Nat was founded in Montreal The name stands for MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE, and symbolizes the relationship between the two. The brand holds the motto “Live Beautifully,” or “appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.” They are very much inspired by the textures and colors of nature, and always strive to continue improving their manufacturing methods to sustain it. In 2010, the UN declared the best way to treat our environment is to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet due to the harmful effects of factory farming, so Matt & Nat have always promised to never use animal products in their collections. All linings within their bags are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles (about 21 bottles are used for every bag), and everything else is either sourced from cork or rubber, or made from PU (polyurethane) which is more environmentally friendly than PVC (polyvinylchloride). This awesome brand has also experimented with recycled cardboard, nylons, rubber, cork, and has recently introduced recycled bicycle tires to their collections. When it comes to durability, several quality control tests are performed on each seasonal collection to ensure the quality of these bags doesn’t stop at their fashionable and practical appeal. After all, the concept of sustainability also includes the importance of longevity to ensure a lasting product that stays out of the landfill for as long as possible. All details even go down to the hardware on every piece, which is all made custom by the brand.
Matt & Nat is also committed to ethical practices; one of their factories operates under the SA8000 standard, and the brand constantly keeps a close relationship with, and visits, all factories on a regular basis. They also encourage all employees to volunteer as best they can to help create a better world, and encourage anyone to donate any of their bags they no longer use to various organizations that help upcycle products to those who can give them a second life.
Each piece in the new Studio 901 collection are limited edition, and come in several earthy colors: black, chili (a mahogany brown), mosaic (a lighter reddish brown) and Villa (an olive green). I tried to share an equal amount of each color through all models available in this release…they all look so pretty together, don’t they?
“From the start, being committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in our designs felt natural to us. Each season, we continue to explore new innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly.”
“At MATT & NAT, we live by a simple motto, “Live beautifully”. Living beautifully means appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us. Our values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. We are inspired by the textures and hues of nature and, to better protect it, we aim to constantly better our ways.”
“We visit diligently each factory and build strong personal relationships with their owners; they too are a part of the Matt & Nat family. This involvement in the making of our bags ensures integrity every step of the way.”
“We strive to design timeless and durable styles. Each season, several quality control tests are performed on all new styles. We also appropriate ourselves these styles and test them in our daily lives. By doing this, we test the wear and tear of our materials and make sure that our bags are as functional and resistant as they are fashionable.”
“We are not perfect but we aim to better ourselves with time. The vegan spirit of Matt & Nat will live on. Our learning journey has just begun.” – Manny Kohli, President & Ceo
Visit the Studio 901 Collection at Matt & Natt’s website here.