A Conversation with

Inder Bedi

Now that we抳e covered fashionable and eco-friendly clothing and swimwear options, it抯 time to complete the ensemble with a green accessory. Inder Bedi, founder of MATT & NAT, has been designing vegan handbags and accessories for nearly 20 years. By utilizing a variety of recycled and biodegradable materials, MATT & NAT, which stands for MATERIAL and NATURE, provides conscious consumers with a bevy of beautiful purses, wallets and backpacks to choose from. We talked to Inder about the brand抯 eco philosophies and practices.

What is your brand抯 philosophy?
Living beautifully is the message at the heart of MATT & NAT. Living beautifully is seeing the positivity, humanity, creativity and beauty in everything and living thoughtfully. For us, this translates into a simple, unique aesthetic, practical products built to last and a focus on using sustainable materials.

Did you have any design experience before starting MATT & NAT?
I had actually just finished a bachelor抯 degree in marketing before starting MATT & NAT, and while I didn抰 have specific experience in design, I had a passion for it!

What influenced you to create a cruelty-free eco-friendly fashion line?
It sort of came instinctively. I was interested in design and using different materials, and I loved the idea of creating a brand with a positive philosophy.

What practices have you incorporated into the production of your accessories that make MATT & NAT environmentally conscious?
The lining of all our products is 100 percent recycled; it抯 made from plastic bottles. On average, this represents about 120,000 recycled bottles per year to manufacture our bags. We also use real cork for certain elements on our bags. Cork is a renewable and biodegradable resource, which makes it great to work with. All our packaging and promotional materials are post-consumer recycled or FSC-certified. For Fall 2013, we抳e started to integrate rubber made from recycled bicycle tires into our line.

What does eco-friendly fashion mean to you as a designer?
Eco-fashion means always keeping an eye out for materials and processes that are sustainable.

Why should people buy eco-friendly fashion?
We cannot deny the impact that we have on the environment and on future generations. As customers, people have the power to change the way things are done.

Do you think the perception of eco-friendly fashion has changed in the industry since you抳e been a designer?
Definitely! When we first started out in 1995, there were very few eco-minded companies around. That focus has changed tremendously in the past few years, with a rising awareness about social issues and the environment.

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