'We look at clothes as materials, not fashions'
By Gail Piyanan |

Tanisara Poenateetai and Patanin Neamkitcharoenlap

In 2015, industrial design graduates, Tanisara “Jazz” Poenateetai and Patanin “Tap” Neamkitcharoenlap, launched their eco-friendly accessory brand named Madmatter. “We are mad people who bring rubbish back to create a product – the matter.” 

It all started with two close friends with common interests. In their free time and in between school breaks, Tap and Jazz would go shopping for second-hand clothes. They would even go on trips to other provinces just to hunt for pre-loved items. From there, their curiosity grew: Why does Thailand have almost too many second-hand clothing sources? They found their answer not long after. “The culture of giving away used clothes come from developed countries,” they duo explains. “But when there are too many donated clothes, these are transported to developing countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.”

Most of these clothes, however, are from countries with four seasons, and some are made with fabric that’s too thick for Thailand’s temperate climate. Both Jazz and Tap, however, saw the potential of recreating something out of these inappropriate material. ‘”We look at clothes as material, not fashion,” says Tap. Unlike many other brands that add details and prints to clothing and accessories, Madmatter opts to keep the fabric’s identity alive. “The fabric is already pretty by nature: its colors and texture. We don't need to add any prints or anything else.” 

Madmatter, which turns a year old in October, kicked off its product line with a selection of caps. “We like playing with simple silhouettes and classic vintage cap shapes,” says  Tap “We offer two kinds styles: panel caps and patch caps. We launch about 200 new designs every two months.”

Jazz and Tap are hesitant to follow the idea of having seasonal collections mainly because their products depend on the fabrics tbey source. “It’s a problem which turned out to be something outstanding. It made all of our products limited-edition.” 

However, the unpredictability of their sourcing process only allows production in small numbers and a certain degree of uncertainty. “Big factories only accept profitable orders from large companies, and we’ve failed at dealing with factories plenty of times,” Jazz explains. “But in the end, we found a good, local-scale factory.” In addition, Tap says, “We had to tell them that what we do is our way of helping save the world.” 

Madmatter has been successful in its first year, but only a few customers really know the eco-friendly concept behind the brand. “We are glad that most of our clients bought our products because of how they’re designed,” says Jazz with a grin on her face. “It means we broke through the stereotype that eco-friendly products always look ugly.”  ν Gail Piyanan

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