Matico uses beautiful fabrics, collected from countries whose textile industries are in dramatic decline, to create striking fabric interiors and sustainable, statement jewellery using the offcuts.
Money from Matico orders help to fund a school in Ghana co-founded by Matico and Kofi, a wonderful local builder, in 2018.
Matico was set up by Mati in 2017. Mati has always loved bright colours and bold patterns, and as a child, she raided her wonderfully stylish grandmother’s wardrobe and started her collection of fabrics. She grew up with tales of family members living in various Asian and African countries and always dreamed of traveling and exploring colourful and exotic places.
While she was working as a nurse in London, she was lucky enough to get experiences to lecture in Somaliland and volunteer as a nurse in Ghana and this is where Matico's story began.
During her time in Ghana, she fell in love with the vibrant colours and patterns of the beautiful, locally produced fabrics that surrounded her.
She became aware that the amazing African fabrics, that she had fallen in love with, were under threat from the millions of unwanted clothes and waste thrown away each year by people in Europe and America. These end up in either markets or landfill sites in various African and Asian countries.
Approximately, 15 million pieces of unwanted clothing (mostly from the UK) arrives in one market in Accra, Ghana every week! In a way this is a great way to recycle our unwanted clothes, but according to research 40% of the second hand clothing that arrives in Ghana is too old and worn to be able to be sold and are discarded. Most landfill sites in Ghana are full and this situation is having a detrimental effect on Ghana environmentally and economically. This has also putting Ghanaian jobs and traditions at risk, and the once booming textile industry has declined by 90% since the 1980s. This inspired Mati to buy lots and lots of the fabulous fabrics with no idea what she would make, whilst making wonderful friends and connections in the process.
Photo credit: The OR Foundation
In 2016, she left her job in London to travel to various African and Asian countries, whose textile industries were also under threat, to collect more fabrics. Mati then moved back to Wales in 2017, and, when she was asked to make a lampshade for a friend who was struggling to find a “non-beige shade”, she realised that a lampshade was the perfect way to show off the wonderful fabrics and easily brighten up a room.
While making the lampshades, she couldn’t bring herself to throw away the many offcuts of the beautiful fabrics, so she started using them to make jewellery for herself. She received such a great response to these, that she then started making pieces to sell as well.
Most of Matico jewellery pieces are completely unique. Some will be similar in colours, patterns and style, but not exactly the same, which adds to their uniqueness and charm. Matico tries to use many recycled and eco friendly materials when making her jewellery. Many of the cords used are cork, or recycled cotton and braided T-shirt yarn, which is recycled from unwanted fashion fabrics.
Where the money from your orders goes...
Mati feels passionately about helping others and would like her business to help fund various projects both abroad and in the UK.
The first of these is a school in Ghana, which was set up with a local builder, Kofi, who she met through buying Ghanaian fabrics. Kofi was building small flats to rent on the outskirts of Accra, when he realised that building a good school there instead would be more beneficial to the community.
According to UNICEF, there are still many challenges preventing thousands of children from attending school in Ghana. Around 623,500 children are still not enrolled in primary school and 1 in 4 children aged 4-5 years old are not attending pre-school. Even when attending school, often the environment is not conducive to learning.
Kofi was the first generation of his family to be educated and feels very passionately about the great importance of a good education and its ability to transform people's lives.
Mati was so impressed by Kofi’s passion and drive to help others and improve education in Ghana, that when he asked if she would like to be involved with the school in 2016, she of course said yes.
The school opened in 2018 with 36 pupils, which quickly grew to 126 pupils with a waiting list keen to start. Money from Matico sales and Kofi’s business has been going towards the running and development of this school.
In 2019, they started building additional classrooms and a library for all the books collected and kindly donated. Two large shipments of books, toys, learning supplies and computers were sent from Wales and another is ready to be sent when the build is complete.
In March 2020, all schools in Ghana shut and Kofi’s business, along with many people in the community, were affected badly by the COVID19 pandemic. This made it very difficult to continue funding the build.
Luckily, Mati still works as a nurse, so from March 2020 to December 2020, she was able to give all money from Matico sales to pay the staff wages.
The teachers were absolutely incredible during these challenging times. At the beginning of every week, they prepared work for the pupils and then delivered these workbooks and exercises to every one of the 205 pupils currently enrolled at the school. They then picked up this work on Thursdays and marked it on Fridays.
It was amazing to see how they worked together to ensure that every pupil was able to continue learning despite the school being closed. The school gates are left open though out, so that any pupil in need of support or a hot meal could pop in.
Schools in Ghana were shut for 10 months.
Before being able to reopen the school in January 2021, Matico and Kofi needed to raise enough money to finish building more classrooms, so that the oldest children could go up a year and the next intake could start.
Thanks to the AMAZING support from Matico customers and Kofi's relentless hard work, the build was finished in time for the school to reopen on January the 18th 2021.
Since January 2021, Matico and Kofi have been working hard to build another four classrooms on the second floor, before building a further three more classrooms and a larger library for all the books collected.
The day to day running of the school is now funded by Kofi, Matico and some families in the community who can afford to help. The amount they pay is less than the local government schools and any children who’s families are struggling financially, Matico funds their attendance to school and supplies books, stationary, toys, food and toiletries.
Our dream is to make education accessible to everyone in the area and that the pupils will have some of the many opportunities that we are so lucky to have here in the UK.
By buying Matico pieces you are supporting jobs and traditions, whilst also helping to fund this school.