Matter Prints

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The Matter Prints logo.

Matter Prints is a socially conscious lifestyle brand that retails garments. The Singapore-based brand works with generational artisans and integrates traditional prints with modern design concepts.[1] Matter Prints was incorporated on 16 August 2013.[2][3] Within 6 months of operations, the business broke even. In 2016, the company was acquired by Banyan Tree Holdings Limited for S$234,000.[4] Matter Prints has been featured in various publications including Vogue, The Good Trade and Conscious Magazine.[5][6]

Founders

Yvonne (left) and Ren Yung (right) the co-founders of Matter Prints. Photo from Lifestyle Asia.

Ho Ren Yung[7]

Ho Ren Yung is the co-founder and Managing Director of Matter Prints. She studied at the London School of Economics and Political Science, majoring in Sociology. Before setting up Matter Prints, Ho Ren Yung ventured into 2 start-ups — Kennel, a creative co-working space and Ideasian, a crowdsourcing platform.[8] She is married to Adrien Desbaillets, President of SaladStop! — a quick-service restaurant franchise.[9]


Ho Ren Yung is the daughter of Ho Kwon Ping and Claire Chiang, founders of Banyan Tree Holdings.[10] As of September 2019, she holds the following positions: Vice President of Brand HQ at Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Singapore, Assistant Vice President and Director of Spa and Gallery at Banyan Tree Spa Singapore and Assistant Vice President and Director of Group Retail Operations at Banyan Tree Gallery Singapore.

Yvonne De Suñer Beltran[11]

Yvonne De Suñer Beltran is the co-founder of Matter Prints and the head of sourcing and design. Yvonne studied at the Universidad de La Laguna in Spain, obtaining a Diploma in Tourism. As of September 2019, Yvonne is the Assistant Vice President and Regional Director of Operations and Experience Development at Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Phuket, Thailand.

Origins

Co-founders Ren Yung and Yvonne conceptualised Matter Prints while working on the resort opening of Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Mexico in 2009.[12][13][14] The pair shared anecdotes from their travels that led to the common goal of creating a positive impact on local communities.[15]


The idea took off when Ren Yung and her husband flew to India to participate in the Rickshaw Run in 2013. The Rickshaw Run was a 3000 km journey from Rajasthan to Cochin on a tuk-tuk that spanned over 14 days.[16] The purpose of the trip was to raise funds for 4 charities: Frank Water, Toybank, Barefoot College and The Wildlife Trust of India. In total, the couple amassed S$35,000 for the selected charities.[17] Ren Yung’s encounters with individuals from the textile and social enterprise communities prompted her to kick-start the business.


During the first phase of Matter Prints, pants were the sole product of the brand. Over the years, Matter Prints expanded its range to include jumpsuits, tops, shorts, dresses, scarves and menswear.[18]

Brand concept

The Pyramid Top - A block printed top from Matter Prints. Photo from Matter Prints.

Brand message: Change beyond textiles

Matter Prints’ aims to create a sustainable ecosystem for traditional artisan production. Matter Prints collaboratively sources for rural artisans and prioritises economic freedom among artisans. As mentioned on their website, a minimum sum of 30 per cent of cost should be paid out to the artisans, depending on the complexity of craftsmanship.[19] It encourages thoughtful design processes through clothing that combines traditional textile prints and fabrics with modern design principles.[20] Matter Prints hopes to develop consumer understanding of their clothing’s origins, thereby celebrating the unique heritage of each garment.[21]

Environmental sustainability

Matter Prints is a strong advocate for environmental sustainability. The label frequently updates their site with articles featuring eco-conscious brands and posts about sustainable fashion.[22][23] The brand builds its business processes around artisan workflow production that ignores the fast pace of seasonal fashion trends.


In their efforts to minimize waste, Matter Prints repurposes cut-off fabric by collaborating with artists to create products such as pouches, necklaces and handbags.[24] The company's packaging material is made with fully recyclable 100% post-consumer and post-industrial recycled material.[25]

Supply chain partners

Matter Prints curates its supply chain partners based on product integrity, adaptive business management, social and environmental responsibility and community focus.[26] As of 2017, Matter Prints has worked with 8 artisan communities, 1,287 artisans and dealt with over 5 traditional craftwork techniques.[27][28] These communities create the signature prints of Matter Prints' products.

The Lounge Lungi - Print made using the Ikat dyeing technique. Photo from Matter Prints.
Technique Description Location of artisan community
Block-printing Xylography of woodblocks are used as relief patterns that are applied on the desired surface.[29][30] Block printing is a technique dating back to East Asia.[31] Jaipur, India
Ikat Ikat is a dyeing technique that uses "resist dyeing" to pattern textiles before proceeding to dye and weave the fabric.[32] Ikat is widely practiced in over 30 countries across the world.[33] Pochampally, India
Natural dye Natural dye is derived from organic and natural resources including plants, animals and minerals.[34] Traditional dyeing process dating back several thousand years. Ahmedabad, India
Handloom The handloom technique utilizes manual labour to weave fabric using a wooden loom.[35] The technique dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization and other earlier empires.[36] Kannur and Pochampally, India
Jamdani[37][38] Jamdani is a form of handloom weaving using the weft technique. Origins of the technique can be traced back to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Habibpur, India
Batik[39][40] Batik is a traditional technique of creating surface textiles. With cultural roots in Indonesia, the technique "wax-resist dyeing" technique to pattern textiles. Jlamprang, Indonesia

Collaborations

In addition to its signature prints, Matter Prints has created a variety of products through numerous collaborations with brands like L'Oréal and The Warehouse Hotel.[41]

Collaboration Product Artisan/Collaborator


Technique used (Production location)
Matter Wraps[42]


The purpose of the collaboration was to uplift the economic situation in the Jlamprang village of Semarang, Indonesia by collaborating with local artisans on batik craft.

Headwraps


Matter Wraps.jpg

Aarika Lee

SukkhaCitta

Traditional Batik (Indonesia)
Akin[43]


Collaboration with the multi-disciplinary artist, Joanna Kambourian on exploring print motifs relating to her Armenian-Dutch heritage.

Scarves Joanna Kambourian Traditional stitching and block-printing (Jaipur, India)
Kumaon[44]


The collaboration with Himalayan native, Preetika Sah, drew inspiration from Aipan art with roots in the Kumaon region

Pants Preetika Sah Traditional stitching and block-printing (Delhi and Jaipur, India)
Anatolia[45]


Inspired by the historical symbols found in Anatolian rugs.

Shorts Ikat Artisans Traditional Ikat, dyeing and weaving

(Pochampally, Hyderabad,India)

Amado Gudek[46]


A collaboration with the goal to create jewellery from recycled waste.

Necklace
Amado Gudek Matter Prints.jpg

Elaine Tan of Amado Gudek Bioresin casting
Miakoda[47][48][49]


A collaboration formed through a shared passion for sustainability. The Avarta motif was insipired by artisans in Khushiram, India.

Loungewear apparel Miakoda Entire production process (India)
The Tea Sommelier[50]


Collaboration with The Tea Sommelier to promote sustainable tea.

Tea Anne-Carole of The Tea Sommelier -
F1[51][52]


Matter Prints was commissioned by Insert Coin to design 10 artwork panels in celebration of the 10 Year Anniversary of the F1 Race. The designs were for the Singapore Tourism Board Temasek Suite.

10 Artwork Panels
Matter Prints F1.jpg
Lee Ming (Chief Project Strategist of Insert Coin) Sheryl (Intern at Matter Prints)

Khushiram Panday (5th generation blockprinter and design partner of Matter Prints)

-
Mohinders[53]


The collaboration with Mohinders made use of traditional buffalo leather tanned with myrobalan, acacia bark, limestone and myrobalan nut. The shoe's dust bags were imprinted with a Marga motif that is inspired by the Rangoli art form.

Leather Shoes Mohinders Traditional shoemaking (Athani, India)
The Wrap Life[54]


Creation of headwraps with textiles inspired by Adinkra symbols, Fawohodie, Nsoromma, and Mmere Dane from West Africa.

Headwraps The Wrap Life


Traditional block-printing

(India)

Kérastase[55]


Collaborative effort to promote L’Oréal’s Aura Botanica product range. Inspired by the Golden Ratio and Moroccan oil used in the product range.

Pouches and Totebags
Kerastase Matter Prints.jpg

L’Oréal Traditional block-printing with azo-free dyes

(Bagru, India)

The Warehouse Hotel[56]


Custom print design to celebrate the launch of The Warehouse Hotel. Cutoff fabrics were repurposed as pouches and string bags for the storage of toiletries and hair dryers.

Bed runners

Pouches

String bags

The Warehouse Hotel and Srinath Fabrics Traditional Ikat dyeing and weaving (Koyyalagudem, Pochampally, India)
Cut & Paste Lifestyle[57]


Collaboration with limited pieces. Signature Trikora motif used as part of the design.

Laptop Sleeves and Convertible bags
Cut and Paste Lifestyle Matter Prints.jpg

Cut and Paste Lifetyle Traditional Ikat dyeing and weaving, drum dyeing of leather

(India and Bangkok, Thailand)

Thread&Hands


Use of Jamdani motifs: Shunya, Eksa and Jamiti.

Scarves Sonica Kapur Traditional Jamndani weaving (Habibpur, Ranaghat, India)
Then & There[58][59][60][61][62]


Collaboration between designers located in Singapore, Philippines, India and Indonesia in appreciation of Asian heritage and crafts. Each motif represents the culture of the designer’s home country.

Pants Yah-Leng Yu (Foreign Policy Design Group)

Anya Lim (ANTHILL Fabric Galllery)

Nitya Amarnath (Botto, Joe Lim and Ba’i) Soemarlono (Populo Batik)

-

Community

Matter Prints' pants are inscribed with parallel red threads to symbolise interconnectedness. Photo from Matter Prints.

Through heritage story-telling on its website, Matter Prints has amassed a customer base with a strong sense of appreciation towards fabric provenance.[63][64]

Social media

Customers are encouraged to share outfits on Instagram with the hashtag #mattertribe with features on their Instagram page.[65]

Field Testers

To develop feedback on their apparel, Matter Prints has sent out products to individuals located at different parts of the globe including Iceland and Nicaragua to test their clothing under varying weather conditions.[66] Individuals are named as Fieldtesters and are featured regularly through web articles.[67][68]

Red Threads

Inspired by East Asian beliefs, each pair of pants from Matter Prints are inscribed with two parallel red threads. The red threads symbolise the interconnectedness between customers, the label and its collaborative partners. The initiative celebrates the community’s unwavering journey towards achieving the brand’s goals.[69] 

Stores

Matter Prints’ main platform of commerce is through its online webstore. In 2016, Matter Prints shipped globally to more than 40 countries.[70] The brand has distributed its apparel to various stockists such as Naiise, Kapok and at Banyan Tree Gallery stores.[71][72]


During its early inception, Matter Prints launched the Nomad Cart — an in-store pop-up stand retailing a small assortment of its product line.[73][74][75]

Awards & accolades

Year Awarding Organisation / Event Title
2018 Eluxe Awards Best Casual Fashion Brand (Winner)
2017 Buro 24/7 Digital Awards Best Singapore CSR-Driven Digital Campaign (Winner)[76][77]

Events[78]

Over the years, Matter Prints has been a part of various events ranging from workshops and panel discussions to fashion shows.

2019

Dates Event Description
26 April Slow Fashion Runway Show[79] Fashion Show in collaboration with The Canvas by Querencia Studio, showcasing sustainable clothing brands.
22 April The Future on Our Sleeves: Exploring Sustainable Fashion[80] Panel discussion alongside H&M, The Fashion Pulpit and Fashion Revolution SG to discuss sustainable and ethical fashion.

2018

Dates Event Description
17 - 18 November A Merry Conscious Christmas Christmas Market at The Green Collective SG featuring various craft workshops.
16 November The Big Bang Launch Party Relaunch of The Green Collective SG — renovation of floor space and introduction of eco-friendly brands to the collective
9 - 11 November Workshops by Matter & Co at Boutique Fairs Hosted workshops focusing on batik & natural dye, upcycling, leather crafting and mono printing
9 - 10 November Offcut Tote Bag Workshop Hosted a tote bag making workshop using fabric offcuts in collaboration with The Fashion Pulpit at the F1 Pit Building
27 July - 5 August Keepers Playground of Infinite Happiness Hosted by Keepers, retail pop-up at National Design Centre
12 May Matter X Miakoda Launch Party + Sustainable Fashion Talk Debut clothing collection between Matter Prints and Miakoda
20 - 22 April The Conscious Festival by Green Is The New Black - Hong Kong Retail pop-up at PMQ 元創方 in Hong Kong
26 March - 8 April Matter x Mischa at 19A Haji Lane Level 2 Showroom feature space with Mischa
6 - 7 January Keepers Red Letter Sale Singapore Designer Sale featuring over 40 brands at National Design Centre

2017

Dates Event Description
24 November Matter End Of Year Block Party End of Year celebrations at Haji Lane
27 October - 19 November The Anti Sweatshop Pop-up Shop Retail pop-up hosted by Naiise UK at The Truman Brewery in London
10 November The Beauty of Block-printing - A Conversation with Khushiram Block-printing workshop at Grassroots book Room with partnered designer Khushiram
10 - 12 November Block-printing Workshop Block-printing workshop at F1 Pit building with partnered designer, Khushiram
30 September Matter x Agy Textile Artist: Offcut Sewing Workshop Offcut sewing workshop at Trehaus in collaboration with Agy : Textile Artist
9 September Matter at lululemon Morning yoga session in collaboration with lululemon at Orchard
9 August National Museum of Singapore x Matter - Print and Go Workshop Linocut carving and block-printing activity session in celebration of National Day at National Museum of Singapore
22 July Open House at Pagoda Closing sale at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio
12 - 26 June Summer POP Retail pop-up at Summer Pop — a lifestyle collective located in Hong Kong
27 - 28 May Keepers x Straits Clan presents Multiply: A Majestic Playground Retail pop-up at New Majestic Hotel showcasing collaboration with Aarika Lee and SukkhaCitta
6 & 13 May National Museum of Singapore x Matter - Print and Go Workshop Linocut carving and block-printing activity session in celebration of National Day at National Museum of Singapore
5 May Matter Turns Three: Moving On 3rd Anniversary celebration at  at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio
22 April Fashion Charity Market Retail pop-up at charity market hosted by Buro 24/7, portions of proceeds donated to Nepali students under Children and Youth First
10 March Boutiques at the F1 Pit Building Retail pop-up at F1 Pit building hosted by Boutique Fairs Singapore

2016

Dates Event Description
11 December The Yard's Christmas Festival! Retail pop-up at Christmas-themed marketplace hosted by The Yard
28 November - 2 December Matter Christmas Open House Christmas sales and party at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio
24 - 26 November Keepers Christmas At The Fullerton Hotel Retail pop-up at Fullerton Hotel hosted by Keepers
4 - 5 November Matter at Boutique Fairs Singapore Retail pop-up at F1 Pit building hosted by Boutique Fairs Singapore
24 September & 15 October October Open House Open house at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio


18 August Pants Party: Kumaon Launch Debut of Kumaon edition clothing collection between Matter Prints and Preetika Sah
26 May MATTER turns TWO 2nd Anniversary celebration at  at 145 Neil Road
14 April Prints Party New product release and lucky draw at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio
28 January Pants Party New product soft launch and lucky draw at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio

2015

Dates Event Description
3 December Pre-Holiday Party Pre-Christmas event with debut of Threads&Hands edition collection
16 - 29 November Buro Pop-up Designer Showcase Pop-up store by Buro 24/7
22 October Pants [email protected]! Debut of Then&There edition collection at 26A Pagoda Street shophouse studio
30 September IT’S A PANTS PARTY Openhouse featuring various collections
22 July PANTS PARTY: HALLO AMSTERDAM Debut of Monochrome collection at onedayshop in Amsterdam
9 July PANTS PARTY: Hola Madrid! Retail pop-up at Hat-Bar Madrid featuring various collections
12 - 21 June MATTER Pants Pop Up Retail-pop up at Haji Lane featuring various collections
14 May We Turn One: Pants Party Special! 1st Anniversary celebration at 145 Neil Road featuring sneak preview of 2016 designs
15 April It's a Pants Party! Debut of Silk Cities edition collection at 145 Neil Road
11 February It's a Pants Party! Openhouse at 145 Neil Road featuring sneak preview of Building Block edition collection

2014

Dates Event Description
15 November A Naiise Christmas Pop-up Christmas-themed retail pop-up at 72-74 Dunlop Street, hosted by Naiise
23 October It’s a Pants Party! Openhouse at 145 Neil Road featuring a sneak preview of November collection, collaborated with Fictive Fingers
27 September Nana & bird X MATTER Nomadcart retail store 2 week pop-up at nana & bird
30 August MATTER x KEEPERS Nomadcart pop-up at 136 Bukit Timah Road, hosted by Keepers
10 May The MATTER #nomadcart Nomadcart pop-up at Wanderlust boutique hotel from 10 to 18 May 2014, featuring talks from Loh Lik Peng, founder of Unlisted Collection

References / Citations

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