What does 'Social Responsibility' mean to us?
For us, social responsibility is about being responsible towards the people in the supply chain, the communities they operate in and the environment around them. Smateria New Zealand values this ethos.
We enjoy a close working relationship with Jennifer and Elisa who established Smateria in 2007. Their aim to create a beautiful, high-quality product using repurposed materials not usually associated with fashion and to employ mainly Cambodian women and mothers in a fair and sustainable way, appealed to us.
In today’s world it is not enough to create beautiful designs. Consumers want to know that a product has been produced ethically and that the people who produced it are being treated well by their employers.
Where does Smateria manufacture its products?
Smateria manufactures all of its bags and accessories in its own workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Each creation is made from repurposed or recycled materials, including netting, plastic shopping bags, vinyl and leather off cuts combined with high quality zips, cotton linings and canvas strapping.
Nylon netting is Smateria's signature material. It comes in a range of base colours layered in different variations to create a vibrant colour palate.
Crocheted detailing is created from recycled black plastic bags by women who wish to work from home, either due to displacement from Phnom Penh under the city’s wave of urbanization, or so they can look after family members. They are supported with weekly visits and training in their village by Smateria.
Off-cuts of leather from an Italian sofa manufacturer are pieced together with fishing netting to create Smateria's leather range.
Smateria’s employees (85 percent of whom are women) enjoy comfortable working conditions, a thirteen-month salary, health insurance, professional training and the freedom to train across the whole organization. Those with young children can use the free on-site preschool provided by Smateria.