Mata Traders is a wonderful Chicago-based line, featuring unique, handmade women’s apparel, accessories, and home decor, featuring indigenous crafting techniques, such as block printing and embroidery.
I first came across Mata Traders on Twitter, where I instantly fell in love. I was so excited to find out the boutique I used to work at now carries them, and I was more excited when the designer’s aunt saw that we carried them, which led to an amazing, enlightening conversation about the progress of fair trade fashion!
A little about Mata:
After spending 4 months traveling through India with her friends in 2003, Maureen Dunn decided to start a fair trade business, leading her to import all kinds of goods on yearly buying trips. Aware of the poverty in India, Maureen used her buying power as a leverage to make a difference, looking for artisan groups that gave back to the community through fair wages and fair trade. Not long after, her travel buddies and friends, Joni and Michelle, joined Mata Traders as partners.
Working with organizations that “educate, employ, and empower women” (source) is the company’s main mission.
Indigenous Designs is a fantastic clothing line elevating artisans and providing income to the poorest regions of South America. This line first started in 1993, after Scott Leonard witnessed the beauty of local artisans while on a trip to the continent. Together, he and co-founder Matt Reynolds have built a remarkably socially conscious and sustainable company. The line now works with over 300 knitting and hand-looming artisan groups, providing fair wages, support, and environmental sustainability, all while preserving their rich cultural heritage.
Indigenous takes pride in their eco-friendly, fair trade, and organic clothing. Each piece is handmade using natural fiber yarn (organic certified cotton, alpaca, silk, merino wool), Global Organic Textile Standards processing, and Oekotex-100 approved natural dyes.
Learn more about Indigenous and their processes here.
This blog will be a culmination of our journey launching our own handmade collection, finding pieces and work that inspires us, artists from around the globe, our travels, indigenous craft, organizations to get involved with, interesting people/stories, fashion trends, design, sustainable living, and our lives here in Chicago!
Join us on our journey to create a socially conscious lifestyle through the products we purchase, artisans we support and collection we create!