Sustainability Ma-tt-ers Interview with Goodhood
Following our work with Converse we met up with Goodhood at London’s First Mile to try on some of the new Renew Collection, talk alternatives and suggest some reading that might help us in these efforts.
Seetal Solanki is the founder of Ma-tt-er, a London-based material research consultancy, which aims to communicate best practices for using and reusing materials. Seetal recently launched her book, Why Materials Matter – a thought-provoking discussion as to how materials and their usage will dictate our future. With sustainability in mind, Iconic footwear brand Converse recently launched their renewed denim campaign – an initiative to update classic styles with up-cycled denim. To coincide with this, we took a trip to London’s First Mile, a recycling plant, to speak to material conservationist Seetal about her consultancy and continued fight for sustainability.
Tell us more about yourself and how the Ma-tt-er consultancy came to fruition?
My life before Ma-tt-er was a varied 12-year career working across fashion (Alexander McQueen, McQ, Hussein Chalayan, Levis, Études Studio, sportswear (Nike and Puma), architecture + lighting (UVA), automotive (Nissan) and this to name a few. It’s been a journey to say the least. With this range of experience, I was working with design, production, software engineers, sound engineers, architects, womenswear, menswear, kidswear, accessories, footwear, researchers, scientists and then some.
Hindsight has been a wonderful thing and it was very clear that materials were the main component which connected everything together for me. You see we are never without materials and there was a real lack of understanding of what materials are and the potential of them, we just haven’t been using them properly.
That age-old question, ‘what do you do’? I would say I’m a textile designer and the immediate response would be: ‘can you make me a dress or a cushion?’ Well, I can do that but I could also make a textile that could potentially power your home too.
Ma-tt-er was really born out of frustration. The lack of understanding combined with a lack of belonging and also having experienced a sheer amount of waste that occurred in all of the industries I was working in, mainly due to the fact that materials were implemented far too late in the creative process.
I wanted Ma-tt-er to not only create a space for materials and material designers to be understood but for people to understand the value they possess. Materials have previously existed in academia and the sciences but Ma-tt-er makes the complex more accessible and relatable; making materials more widely understood as everybody works with a material whether they know it or not.
So there we have the Ma-tt-er School, Ma-tt-er Consultancy and the Ma-tt-er Studio whereby we implement ways of applying materials in a more responsible way. Materials have the potential to create a positive social, environmental, political and economical impact.