I used to be a huge Matt & Nat fan. The first bag I invested in over 10 years ago was from Matt & Nat, and since then, almost all of my bags have been Matt & Nat. But sadly, this is no longer the case.
First of all, I want to say that I love their styles and that they’re vegan, and the bags can be very good quality (I still have that first bag!). I used to recommend them for all these reasons, but have now stopped promoting them and removed them from my directory. Here’s why:
They’re not transparent and I can’t get any information about their manufacturing.
About two years ago I was looking for a backpack, and I of course checked out Matt & Nat. Reading through their website, I had some questions about their transparency page and manufacturing process, especially since they moved their production from Canada. I don’t like companies that use vague/general statements like “the conditions of the workers developing it are up to par with our standards” so I sent them an email asking for more information about their ethical/labour standards, whether they worked with a lot of factories or just a few, and asked them to elaborate on their SA8000 certification, because the website only says that “One of our factories operates by the SA8000 standard“. I got a response saying, “I have forwarded your inquiry to the appropriate representative who will be able to give you more information on this“, and then… Nothing. After a few months I sent another email, and again, no response.
I also took part in Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign asking Matt & Nat “Who made my bag?” which, unsurprisingly at this point, also got no response.
I regret buying the backpack from them, even though it’s the perfect size and I love the style because I also learned that:
The majority of their bags are made from PVC.
We know that synthetic vegan leathers are not good for the environment, but PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is significantly worse than the other common material PU (polyurethane), as it has a negative impact throughout its production and life cycle and may also possibly be hazardous to our health. On Matt & Nat’s website they say that “PU is always preferred over PVC, as it is less harmful for the environment“, so I assumed that most of their bags were PU. They also present themselves as being an eco-conscious company, using recycled bottles and cork (and it is awesome they use those materials!), but it turns out a lot of their bags are still PVC. The bag’s outer material is also not included on their website listings, so it’s very difficult to know whether or not a bag is made from PVC.
I checked the tags on my bags, and most of them, including the backpack, are PVC. Currently Matt & Nat’s ‘Dwell’ and ‘Vintage’ collections – which make up the majority of their bags – are made from PVC.
Finally, Project Just also recently released a profile on Matt & Nat that confirmed my worries about their transparency; their investigation also found that there is no information about whether or not Matt & Nat monitors any of the environmental impact of their supply chain.
So, in conclusion, I think their quality is a big pro, and I like that they’re using materials like cork and recycled PET. But until they offer more information about their manufacturing process and their current and future use of vegan leathers/PVC, I don’t feel comfortable supporting them and can’t help but feel there is some greenwashing going on.
What are your thoughts on Matt & Nat?