The world “mata” means mother and the founders of Mata Traders chose it to symbolize Shakti, who is the female creative power. Like many of the companies featured in this series, Mata Traders aims to empower women in marginalized communities. The story of Mata Traders began when three friends, Maureen, Michelle, and Jonit decided to take a four month trip traveling the world. A simple case of wanderlust turned into a partnership and an ethical, fair trade brand dedicated to changing lives.
Mata Traders works with artisans in India and Nepal, and their partners not only employ these women, but educate them as well. As noted on their website “Spending time with these groups has helped us realize that even the most traditional women, when given the opportunity, thrive in a sphere of meaningful work. We’ve seen that equality in the workplace is possible in a country as socially stratified as India - whether a beginner sewer or production manager, all the women that make our clothing and accessories have a voice.”
Mata Traders’ garments and accessories are also all handmade. Techniques include hand embroidery, block printing, jewelry making, and screen printing. Their belief in the artisan allows the maker’s skills to shine instead of machinery. This equals well-made clothing with beautiful prints, as illustrated in the curated selection below which highlights both the styles and variety of prints and colors available. They consider their dresses "Modern bohemian dresses, made from the heart."
Styles of clothing come in very different colors or prints and the silhouettes are classic, with a few added flourishes on select designs. Currently, Mata Traders is sold in 50 states and 12 countries and you can see the closest stockist in your city or town. I actually stumbled across Mata Traders for the first time in a local ethical, fair trade shop in Madison. In addition to dresses, their line consists of tops, skirts, jewelry, scarves, and other accessories. I hope you will check out their whole line and explore more of their store on their site.