Just six months after being introduced to the Australian marketplace, Fair Trade brand Smateria has established a loyal following with the Aussie public.
Based in Cambodia, Smateria transforms everyday rubbish including mosquito nets, black plastic bags and motorcycle seats into gorgeous fashion accessories, offering a sustainable and unique alternative to high-street fashion.
Sarah Miller, Australian distributor for Smateria, said the sustainable and environmentally friendly aspects of the brand had struck a chord with Australian consumers and demand for the products was high.
“Smateria is now stocked by more than a dozen retail outlets across the country and online enquiries are higher than ever,” Sarah said.
“The fact that our bags are all made from recycled and repurposed materials not only makes them sustainable but also addresses in some small way, the problems related to the enormous issue of rubbish disposal in Cambodia.”
“What is more, Smateria provides secure work, fair pay and training opportunities to more than 50 Cambodians – and as demand increases for these products, so do the employment opportunities in Cambodia.”
“Now more than ever, Australians are demanding socially responsible products, but they are not prepared to compromise on style.”
“Each bag, wallet and accessory demonstrates the best of Italian design and Cambodian craftsmanship – blending some of the best elements of two very different cultures.”
Smateria will further boost its profile in Australia by exhibiting at the Life Instyle Show in Melbourne, 4-7 August 2011. This boutique trade event features the very best designers from around the world, with each exhibitor selected by jury for its high calibre products and demonstrated commitment to good design.
“I am so excited to be exhibiting at this trade fair,” Sarah said.
“We have developed a stand display that really catches the eye and have even used a ‘moto’ as a display case - paying homage to the source of the fabric for our ‘smoto’ range, made from recycled motorbike seats found in Cambodia’s repair shops lining Phnom Penh streets.”
Smateria’s range to be displayed in Melbourne includes handbags, laptop bags, luggage, messenger bags, backpacks, toiletry bags, passport holders, wallets and keyrings, all made from brightly coloured multi-purposed netting from Cambodia’s markets, crocheted black plastic bags discarded in the streets and the nylon from recycled motorcycle seats.
Note: samples available for Photo Shoots
Smateria produces bags and accessories fashioned from recycled and common materials in Cambodia.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Smateria’
• In 5 years, Smateria has experienced huge growth and has expanded from 5 to 50 employees and from 1 to 4 exclusive boutiques in Cambodia;
• No employees have ever left the employ of Smateria in Cambodia given its fantastic work conditions, training opportunities and family-friendly work environment;
• In 2010, all Smateria employees were shouted a group trip to the iconic Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s premiere tourist destination and a sacred place for khmer visitors who all try to get there at least once in their lives.
• “Smateria” is derived from the Italian word ‘Materia’ which means material and by adding a ‘S’ it signifies the transformation of this material which supports Smateria’s belief that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
• Smateria are the first manufacturers to recycle old motorcycle (moto) seats in Cambodia, gathering the PVC fabric from moto repair shops, using elbow grease to scrub them back to their former glory and fashioning them in to durable, one-off designer bags.
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