Alternatives To Leather: Live Beautifully with Matt & Nat

Standing for MAT(T)ERIAL and NATURE and the synergy between the two, Matt & Nat from Montreal offers vegan alternatives to everyday leather essentials, assembled in the form of chic everyday handbags and true city dweller shoes. With their motto being 'live beautifully', Matt & Nat encourages to appreciate integrity, authenticity and inclusiveness among other core values coining the brand's DNA. Matt & Nat advocates the use of alternatives to animal-based materials, such as PVC, and have incorporated using recycled plastic bottles from 2007. Geared forward by ideologies of innovation and renewal, Matt & Nat proves you can even be socially responsible whilst wearing your favourite leather finery...

Manny Kohli, CEO of Matt & Nat, answers all our curious questions. 

MATT & NAT SS17.

MATT & NAT SS17.

What alternatives to leather does your brand offer? How long is their lifespan?

All of our vegan leather bags are made out of PVC and PU. We’re constantly trying to source the best materials on the market to ensure a long lifespan. As with any other products, the lifespan of our bags depends on the consumer’s habits. It’s quite hard to put an exact number of this. It will vary greatly between a person who throws their bag on the floor versus another who keeps it in perfect condition. We also offer handbags in canvas material and cork material.

What are the latest advances you have incorporated into production of Matt and Nat vegan leather accessories?

We’re constantly exploring ways to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. We try to incorporate environmentally responsible materials whenever we get the chance. We have committed to using linings solely composed of recycled water bottles since 2007 and we’ve recycled over three billion water bottles producing our bags.

"We have committed to using linings solely composed of recycled water bottles since 2007 and we’ve recycled over three billion water bottles producing our bags."

MATT & NAT SS17.

MATT & NAT SS17.

MATT & NAT SS17.

MATT & NAT SS17.

What are the benefits of vegan leather products and why should they be considered to replace leather entirely?

We’re a vegan company and are very proud that no animals were hurt in the production of our bags. We chose to produce vegan bags with recycled materials to show the world that you don’t have to kill animals to produce beautiful accessories. I think consumers are becoming more socially responsible and aware of how harmful the production of leather is and we’re seeing a huge shift and demand in the vegan market.

https://mattandnat.com

The Wälderhaus Hotel: A Forest Sanctuary in Hamburg, Germany

We often wonder how sustainable living and slower lifestyle could be incorporated into our day-to-day lives. One approach that benefits living slow is making the most of your time — enjoying the various experiences life has to offer to the fullest. Travelling is a great example of that experience, and having a relaxing stay, without too many fancy, digital nuisances, is something we often strive for. Thanks to innovations in architecture and increasing interest in running a healthy lifestyle, some hotels have now become the epitome of sustainable design — creating a pure, holistic atmosphere for your stay. We took a glimpse into the environmental solutions at Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus in Hamburg, Germany, where modern architecture meets fully sustainable accommodation.

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

The extraordinary wooden façade prominently stands out in the middle of a busy city — made from mostly locally sourced certified wood, the Wälderhaus (which literally means ‘forest house’) is a modern forest delight. “Guests are fascinated by the innovative atmosphere within the hotel and how it is created,” says a Wälderhaus representative. “A nice bonus is, after a visit to the Science Center forest or an overnight stay, you can truly learn something about the connections between the city and nature. The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.” The architecture of the building, despite standing out with the use of materials, fits in with the cityscape. 

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, 2016. 

The building meets passive house standards — it is self-sustainable and thus doesn’t damage the environment. In addition to a restaurant, which serves the guests only locally sourced food, the three-star plus standard hotel Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus, with 82 rooms, offers space for special exhibitions and conferences. Here sustainability meets modern innovation to provide the guests with a 360-degree, relaxing holiday. Sleeping between organic cotton sheets and enjoying gastronomic treats at the restaurant ensures you will depart your stay with a well-rested, worry-free mind. As a cherry on top, the Wälderhaus features a green roof, planted with 9000 bushes, 500 hornbeams and various North German tree species.

“The forest house polarises, fascinates, and encourages communication and reflection.”

Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus - Komfort Zimmer.jpg

A fully natural approach is surely gaining popularity. As people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, they hold higher standards in terms of sustainability when travelling, as well. The Wälderhaus meets the needs of a conscious traveller. “The guests want as little plastic or artificial in the room as possible, also little electrosmog or superfluous ‘energy eaters’, like minibars. The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.” 

“The interest in health is rising, even in healthy indoor air. The architecture should be clear, straightforward, modern, but nevertheless cozy and comfortable.” 

An eco-approach in the hotel world will definitely be more prevalent in the future. “The eco-concept pays off. We save about 30% energy in the forest house compared to a conventional hotel. The issue will hopefully become even more important.  We like to be pioneers and show that it is possible to [be] sustainable, comfortable and modern at the same time. The number of 100% eco-hotels will surely continue to rise.” The Raphael Hotel Wälderhaus is truly a pioneer in this field, and we cannot wait to see more of such creative, yet environmentally conscious solutions in a modern, urban setting, leaving space for a slower approach to life. 

http://www.raphaelhotelwaelderhaus.de/en