In essence, this column is to inform and advise. Understanding the ‘fast-fashion model,’ which is a large sector of the fashion industry, is crucial to living a stylish life of mindfulness. Many people have fallen victim to the allure of industry and aren’t aware of the irreversible impact it’s having on our planet. Throughout all stages of textile production, the aquatic, terrestrial, and atmospheric ecosystems experience lasting environmental harm, including but certainly not limited to the emission of greenhouse gases.
As the severity of the situation persists, large companies and local brands alike are vowing to break the chain. It is their mission to do what is ethical by ensuring all operations are carried out sustainably. Nature and fashion can coexist despite the toxic relationship the two have had over the last century. We don’t have to forfeit our love of fashion, we just have to find brands that are willing to do what’s right. That’s where I come in; I’m here to offer alternatives to the otherwise disposable pieces you regularly shop for.
Discovering fresh brands that have beauty and brains is one of my guilty pleasures. There’s nothing like finding a line that has a unique aesthetic and a progressive mindset, am I right? Buckle up because with each new Sustainable Spotlight post, I will be introducing you to another awesome brand that you’ll probably fall in love with (just like I did).
Time to set sail into a sea of sustainably-made beauties.
Destination: MATE the Label, DTLA.
While perusing Instagram a few years back, I stumbled upon MATE’s feed and was mesmerized. In all honesty, I judged this book by its covered and was sold solely on their style. MATE was a mystery company to me, so I didn’t yet know that they were the whole package. After doing a bit of research, I quickly realized they weren’t a mystery at all. In fact, they were already an established line that hailed from the west coast.
MATE the Label is the brainchild of Kayti Carr O’Connell, who I was lucky to meet earlier this fall. It began as a side hustle, which consisted of Carr selling thrifted wonders she found herself. From this, the idea for MATE was conceived and thus, the Label was born.
Dreamy graphics decorate the majority of MATE’s buttery-soft pieces. Not only could they potentially melt in your hands, they’re extremely versatile as well. By this, I mean you sleep in them or rock ‘em for a night out on the town. It is clear that MATE has mastered the groovy vibes category but they also stand for some really great causes. That’s far out.
In a 2017 interview with La Femme Creative, she said, “being made in Los Angeles is a big part of our brand. We have partnered with factories that are all within a 5-mile radius of our HQ. This means that we are able to check in on development and production on a daily basis. We are very hands-on with each step of the process and love being able to build relationships with the people that are making our product.” Apparently, the average shirt travels to 4 or 5 factories before reaching the hands of the consumer, so the fact that MATE produces and manufactures all products in what is essentially their backyard is commendable.
As mentioned, I met with Kayti a few months ago at MATE HQ. I was there for an interview, actually. Upon my arrival here in LA, I was trying to figure out which direction I wanted to take within the sustainability realm. I did know that LA is a breeding ground for environmentally conscious brands, so I racked my brain for some of my faves. Naturally, MATE came to mind. I checked out the ‘Careers’ section on their site and went for it. Email sent. The position was for a social intern, which is up my alley and a great launch pad but after being offered the position, reality hit me and reminded me that being car-less wouldn’t allow me to commit to the position.
Anyway, while there, Kayti and I discussed her vision for MATE in the future, along with a few other ideas she had brewing in the pot. She mentioned putting an even greater emphasis on being natural, in terms of fibers and dyes, with an obvious continual effort on ‘thinking green’. A company with morals, an organic outlook, and killer taste is one I can get behind. Not to mention, their pieces are super fun to style (as seen below). MATE has it goin’ on, at a reasonable price point, nonetheless!
The next time you’re looking for not-so-basic basics and trying to minimize your environmental impact, opting for MATE is a chic option. You’ll be turning heads, guilt-free.
The captain of this ship is out. Until next time…