Why I No Longer Buy Matt & Nat

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 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 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 a great 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 even 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.

 

UPDATE: It’s also been mentioned in the comments that Matt & Nat does not seem to treat their employees well and has a lot of negative and worrisome reviews on Glassdoor.

 

What are your thoughts on Matt & Nat?

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23 Responses

  1. Kiara
    | Reply

    Great summary! To add my experience, I was also in love with their sleek photos and stylish products, but have been very disappointed. The warranty on their products is only 1 year; this says something about what they know of their own quality. Sure enough, at about 14 months, 1 strap on my backpack started cracking severely. I only use the backpack to go to and from work about 2-3 times a week at most. The cracking has gotten so bad I no longer use it, and Matt and Nat will not warranty it or replace the strap. The bag is now destined for the landfill, which defeats the whole ‘ethical’ marketing platform on which they claim. They are mass-producing items that are destined to be garbage just after 1 year! There is clearly a design flaw in their products and they could care less. At this price point, spend your money elsewhere!

  2. Petar
    | Reply

    I bought a Matt and Nat briefcase earlier this year because I enjoyed the style and it was present in a fully vegan store in Melbourne, Australia. I feel guilty hearing all the cases about this company as I was beginning to really look forward to purchasing more of their products. I am glad that I didn’t and that I have found a wonderful blog. Thank you so much for this post!

  3. Christina
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve also been wondering the same things about materiality, considering how bags that are technically made of plastic should be marked up to $125+. It would make sense if they were produced in SA8000 factories of all recycled, or at least safe PU, but to be selling PVC bags for 100+ is such a rip off. It seems like they’re just capitalizing off vegans without actually being an ethical company.

    Returning my order from them today because the color was SO off (quality control, much?) and then came across this.

    I’ve recently come across

    • Christina
      | Reply

      *recently came across the brand Von Holzhausen, who seem to hit sustainability, durability, luxury, and vegan with their “tehnik-leather” bags.

      https://vonholzhausen.com/pages/about

  4. Wynnie
    | Reply

    I also worked at Matt and Nat, a LONG time ago – closer to 14 years ago. I can confirm everything the Glassdoor reviews say and more. In your post you mentioned that they ” moved their production from Canada” – as far as I know, their production was NEVER in Canada. When I worked there 14-15 years ago it was all China. Perhaps at that time they were able to be even less transparent, which may have led to consumers thinking their items were made in Canada. The owners of this company are definitely not people you would want to be friends with! If this is how they treated their staff in Canada, you can only imagine how it is in their factories.

  5. R
    | Reply

    They are constantly posting job positions on employment websites. Without a doubt they are one of the most unethical companies around. Their base does business by manipulation and selfishness. They don’t have the correct people working in important roles at H.O which will continue to result in a steep decline of quality people leaving if someone doesn’t speak up to the base soon.

  6. Annie
    | Reply

    Ahhhhhh… this is extremely disappointing. I was about to buy a bag from them finally and they seem to be one of those vegan bags that is supposed to have quality and minimal sleek design. Maybe should stick to my current second hand for a while…

  7. Anastasia
    | Reply

    I too have been buying Matt & Nat since about 2008 and just made another purchase today (250.00). Boy was I shocked when I saw a comment on a You Tube channel about their Glassdoor reviews. Absolutely deplorable. The sad thing is is that if that does start to hurt their business they will simply have company shills post positive reviews. It happened with a company that I worked for. When its that many negative its not just a disgruntled employee or two. Sad

  8. Hannah
    | Reply

    Such an amazing and thorough article! Thanks so much!
    I’ve been plant based for the last 10 years, and recently decided to replace my real leather items. I found a used Matt & Nat Wellington bag for $15 (I never buy new. I think it’s wasteful and I’d rather not support a large company), sooo I bought it. I gotta say…it’s NICE, and so far it’s been holding up really well.
    If anyone out there wants to support a rad human and buy a NEW, SUPER LEGIT vegan bag, I HIGHLY recommend Crystalyn Kae bags. They’re super nice, and extremely durable. My sister bought one over 15 years, and she isn’t even vegan. It’s still going strong!

  9. Shahrzad
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this. Do you have any alternative suggestions?

  10. Laura
    | Reply

    Thanks for bringing my attention to this, I accidentally stumbled over this post whilst trying to find local stockists as I was about to purchase the Bee crossbody bag, but will now look for alternatives. Really disappointing!

  11. Evelina Utterdahl
    | Reply

    Oh darn!! I fell in love with the brand too for their style and being vegan. But I have to admit after I got it I realised I read the text inside that says the lining is from recycled plastic too fast, cause I thought it was the whole bag that was from recycled PET. I also then realised I knew nothing about the actual making of the bag. Of course by this point I had already used the bag and was about to leave Barcelona, Spain where I bought it.
    Guess I should put some pressure on them and ask about their making of the products and the PVC…

    Cause DAMN their products are beautiful

  12. Victoria
    | Reply

    I have worked with Matt &Nat at one of their branded retail stores, in Canada we have 4 of them, and they are the worst company I have ever worked for. No care or compassion for staff, the owner of the company claims to be vegan and then always is wearing leather Gucci shoes, has leather seats in his luxury Tesla. The products are almost all entirely PVC because the bags made with PU fall apart within a few months. The manufacturering is done super cheaply- you might buy a bag for $145, but it only cost them $10 in China to make. They are VERY cryptic about their manufacturing because it is only 1 factory that abodes to standards. The products are actual shit- we saw SOOO many come back for ‘warranty’ for bad construction that the company wouldn’t honour. These people would make you sick

  13. Judith
    | Reply

    Do you know any alternatives? I’ve looked at Denise Roobol.

  14. MC
    | Reply

    I’ve long known they use plenty of PVC and they choose not to explicitly say they do – they are much less of a green company they have touted themselves to be.
    They use green washing and clever marketing to maintain their brand image – funny how most online vegan bloggers would in the same article criticising vegan products made of PVC but support and recommend Matt&Nat which most products are made of PVC!
    They are also completely overpriced, I know the extortionate markup they put on their products made from those Chinese factories capitalising on their brand image.
    There are lots of lovely, honest vegan companies who don’t use any of the above techniques but who actually care about the environment too.

    • Mathilde
      | Reply

      I’m so glad I read this post! Would you be able to give me some names of good vegan and environmentally conscious companies? I’m looking for a good vegan backpack

  15. Mirjam
    | Reply

    I don’t find that the quality is that good either. My bag is now 1 year old and the “leather” is already wearing down quite a bit. Combined with this information from you I don’t think I will purchase from them again. I am going to look for a nice secondhand bag instead.

    • angie b.
      | Reply

      Mirjam, initially, I loved both the quality and chic appearance (I received many compliments on it) of my Wellington satchel. However, in addition to its heavy weight (it feels like lead), the “leather” also began showing signs of considerable wear after about a wear, which is quite disappointing. So, one again, I’m on the hunt for a high quality vegan bag. I’ve seen/read good reviews for Angela Roi’s bags. So, I may give them a try.

      • angie b.
        | Reply

        After about a *year*

  16. Marie Reymond
    | Reply

    Thank you very much for your post. It is a real shame, considering the quality of their products. I look forward to your next posts!

    • Verena Erin
      | Reply

      It’s SUCH a shame. I’ve had (and still have!) so many great bags from them, and definitely gave them the benefit of the doubt more than I would with another brand. The fact that I can’t get any kind of response from them besides my email being sent to someone else is such a bad sign though. Their lack of transparency is so shady 🙁

  17. Andrea Wodtke
    | Reply

    Thanks for this post! Really helpful and confirms feelings I’ve gotten about them after running across their Glassdoor employee reviews. I finally decided to try to get word out about the Glassdoor when someone shared your post with me. It all seems to add up to them being a company to avoid supporting.

    https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Matt-and-Nat-Reviews-E1008043.htm%EF%BB%BF

    • Harri L
      | Reply

      Ouch! Good catch. I’ve just read through those as well and, if anything … it does confirm quite a bit..

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