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A Clean Slate: A Talk With MATE The Label

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)

Throughout history, people have incorporated toxic materials such as mercury, radium, or lead into clothing dye to create more vibrant colors. While these chemicals are no longer in current production for clothes, many fashion companies compromise by using low-quality materials for a higher profit margin. Due to social media platforms and the internet, customers are becoming more aware of a garment's chemical costs. Customers want to understand the consequences of their purchasing decisions. MATE The Label combines transparent sustainability and high-quality products to create an oasis of clean clothing. I had the chance to speak with Tyler Cobian, Sustainability Manager, to learn more about the company.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)


1. What makes MATE The Label different from other brands?

Our founder Kayti O'Connell started MATE the Label because she was interested in the intersection of chemical impact and apparel. She saw how other sectors (like beauty and food) began a shift towards cleaner ingredients and processes. Carr recognized the need for clean clothing. MATE The Label applies life cycle thinking to our supply chain in our product development process. We look at how we make products through the lens of industrial ecology.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)

Consequently, we see how each step of our manufacturing and materials sourcing impacts people and the planet. We consider energy usage, water, and carbon pollution. We create sustainable solutions for our production cycle step with an emphasis on chemical impact. Our customers usually come to us because of our special attention to detail in the chemical effect of clothing and how we reduce clothing's chemical impact.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)

2. How does MATE The Label continues to be at the forefront of sustainability efforts?

We are keyed into the sustainable apparel community. We keep our fingers on the pulse by tapping into our network, looking to other innovators in the space, and gauging where the industry is moving. This enables us to have cross-brand collaborations and be part of industry groups.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)

3. How does MATE The Label use its social media platforms?

MATE The Label is a digitally native brand born at the dawn of Instagram. We use our social media to advertise our products and address science communications efforts. We use static and video posts to educate our audience. When exploring our social media page, our audiences can learn about Tencel Lyocell, GOTS Certification, and carbon neutrality from infographics. After seeing how successful the infographics were, we pivoted to creating video content. We expanded our videos to discuss both sustainability efforts and apparel industry happenings. The videos dive into Per and Polyflurooaklyl substances, BPA, and the chemical consequences of using certain materials in apparel.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)

4. How does MATE The Label incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

MATE The Label created The MATE Eight, a list of company values we use as our Northstar. The Mate Eight are Clean, Essential, Organic, Ethical, Women's-Centered, Plastic-Free, Circular, and Local. We constantly evaluate if a product's supply chain is local, consolidated, and promotes local artisans. We ensure the people involved at any step of our product's journey align with our values.

(Image courtesy of MATE The Label.)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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