Matico uses beautiful fabrics, collected from countries whose textile industries are in dramatic decline, to create striking fabric interiors and sustainable, statement jewellery using the offcuts.
Matico’s story started while Mati was nursing in Ghana in 2014 and fell in love with the vibrant colours and patterns of the beautiful, locally produced fabrics that surrounded her. The town where she stayed was full of these bright colours and bold patterns, and, instead of generic clothes shops and chains, there were small fabric shops, next to little shops where people made the clothes. When she then travelled to larger towns, she realised that this wasn’t the case everywhere, and, instead of the markets and high streets blooming with colour and vibrancy, there were lots of plain, old T-shirts and jeans. She became aware that the amazing African fabrics, that she had fallen in love with, were under threat from the millions of unwanted clothes thrown away each year by people in Europe and America. These end up in either markets or landfill sites in various African and Asian countries. This is putting Ghanaian jobs and traditions at risk, and the once booming textile industry has declined by 90% since the 1980s. This inspired Mati to buy lots and lots of the fabulous fabrics with no idea what she would make, whilst making wonderful friends and connections in the process.
In 2016, she left her job in London to travel to various African and Asian countries, whose textile industries were also under threat, to collect more fabrics. She then moved back to Wales in 2017, and, when she was asked to make a lampshade for a friend who was struggling to find a “non-beige shade”, she realised that a lampshade was the perfect way to show off the wonderful fabrics and easily brighten up a room.
While making the lampshades, she couldn’t bring herself to throw away the many offcuts of the beautiful fabrics, so she started using them to make jewellery for herself. She received such a great response to these, that she then started making pieces to sell as well. Most of Matico jewellery pieces are completely unique. Some will be similar in colours, patterns and style, but not exactly the same, which adds to their uniqueness and charm. Mati tries to use many recycled and eco friendly materials when making her jewellery. Many of the cords she uses are cork, or recycled cotton and braided T-shirt yarn, which is recycled from unwanted fashion fabrics.
Mati feels passionately about helping others and would like her business to help fund various projects both abroad and in the UK. The first of these is a school in Ghana, which was set up with a local builder, Kofi, who Mati met through buying Ghanaian fabrics. Kofi was the first generation of his family to be educated and feels very passionately about the great importance of a good education and its ability to transform people’s lives. Mati was so impressed by Kofi’s passion and drive to help others and improve education in Ghana, that when he asked if she would like to be involved with the school in 2016, she of course said yes.
The school opened in 2018 with 36 pupils, which quickly grew to 126 pupils, and there is now a long waiting list keen to start. Money from Matico sales and Kofi’s business has been going towards the running and development of this school. In 2019, they started building additional classrooms and a library for all the books kindly collected and donated. Two large shipments of books, toys and learning supplies were sent from Wales and another is ready to send when the build is complete. Unfortunately, since March 2020 and the COVID19 pandemic, Kofi’s business was severely affected, therefore, Matico and Kofi have really struggled to continue funding the build, as well as the increase in the costs of running the school.
Since March 2020, all money from Matico sales has been going to pay all the staff wages, buy learning supplies and to feed the pupils in need of a hot meal. The teachers have all been amazing at developing, delivering and marking workbooks each week for every one of the 126 pupils, to ensure that they are continuing their education while the school is shut.
Matico and Kofi are currently hoping to raise enough money to finish building the new classroom, so that the oldest children can go up a year and the next intake can start, before the school reopens in January 2021.
By buying Matico pieces you are supporting jobs and traditions, whilst also helping to fund the development of this school, with the hope that the pupils will have some of the many opportunities that we are so lucky to have here in the UK.