Why We Choose To Make Flexible Clothing

5 years ago, we launched MATTER with the intention of creating flexible clothing made from artisan textiles. We knew that we wanted to celebrate people and provenance, and for us that commitment was twofold: to carry on the narrative of generational craft through artisan-made textiles, and create flexible clothing that was not only unisex, but also inclusive to fit multiple sizes. 

Wrap Skirt Jumping Shot, Flexible Clothing
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With that, we designed our pieces for freedom of movement. Pants and jumpsuits come with adjustable closures for waist or hip wearing–no zips, just buttons, wraps, and fabric belts. Tops and dresses are flexible in their relaxed fit. This is how clothing was made in the past, before zippers anyways, and we wanted to continue that thoughtful detail. 

When we set out to design flexible clothing we knew three things. One, they had to be comfortable and versatile, but never sloppy. Second, they had to be truly easy care and easy fit. Third, we were not going to subscribe to the trends of fast fashion and so the styles had to be timeless. We looked to history for inspiration and merged them from cultures such as India, Vietnam and Thailand with actual time proven, signature silhouettes from wardrobes all over. 

Dhoti origins
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Take the Sideswept Dhoti: This is our signature unisex style. Derived from India, the Dhoti was the insignia of tradition and a pillar of Gandhi’s appearance as he championed for the nation’s independence. Inspired by the multifold drapes of the Indian dhoti, this is an edgier version designed for modern asymmetry. The Lounge Lunghi’s inspiration roots in the continuous length of the lunghi or sarong seen in hot climates everywhere from South Asia to the Horn of Africa and southern Arabian peninsula, our modern day version is tailored without side seams and a straight leg cut that folds flatteringly when wrapped. The Modern Monpe comes from the Japanese work pants usually worn by fieldworkers or tradesmen, popularized in the war era by villagers who had to turn their beautiful kasuri kimonos into fabric for Monpe pants to expand their freedom of movement. Then there’s the Classic Wideleg, a favourite around here, this silhouette was inspired by the elegance of the Vietnamese ao dai. These styles have long existed before us, the reason for their timelessness lies in their silhouette and functionality, and we’ve taken a page out of their (history) books and added some changes to our own. 

Part of developing flexible clothing also means looking into size inclusivity which is why we go through multiple fittings on multiple customers to ensure that our fit works across the board. So we decided to reduce the complicated sizing of clothing into three flexible options that fit 2-3 “regular” sizes into 1. Meaning, our Size P garments fit US sizes 0-2, Size 1 fits US sizes 4-6, Size 2 fits US sizes 8-10, and Size 3 fits US sizes 12-14.

For the love of transparency, we know we can always be better. We rely on and look forward to our community feedback, after all it’s what encouraged us to add skirts to our range, add deeper pockets to our pants, and a belt loop for extra security. It’s also why we’re currently working on expanding our size range to Size 4, we know we can always do better and we’ve got miles more to go. 

Shop the newest additions to our range of flexible clothing here.

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