The Heart Behind - Muta Wear
What inspired you to start Muta Wear?
The Rana Plaza Disaster in 2013 was to me a pivotal tragedy and trigger. Seeing its aftermath shocked my system with the realisation that this industry is literally killing vulnerable people. What made it worse was how preventable it was. I registered the business (taikensonzai LLP) in 2014 as an act of “turning my back” on the current state of the fashion industry to forge something different.
Where do you take your inspiration from?
I am quite a history nut when it comes to textile craft and traditional garments/costume history across cultures. I love the research process and finding commonalities between historical garments across the countless cultural/ethnic groups from all sides of the planet. I could go on for ages on this topic, perhaps another time...
You use pre-consumer textile waste to create your products. What does that mean?
I source both pre and post-consumer textile waste for making with. Pre-consumer basically means factory waste that has yet to hit retail, and post-consumer refers to second-hand or older material. Over the years I have collected various large and small amounts of “junk” thrown out by friends’ fashion/design businesses, done “karang-guni” work, procured second-hand fabrics from other makers, and found reliable yarn suppliers (e.g. from Portugal, Indonesia, India) who are also committed to doing less harm environmentally and socially.
You’ve been in this space for quite some time. What keeps you going?
I must say, these are really challenging times and there are days when it is tough to persevere. But it is easy to give up the fight, and life is never easy isn’t it? We all need to regularly reevaluate our priorities and move forward to better our world, do less harm, and do more good. Living needs to have purpose and meaning, and that is what we must seek. It's a long game and stamina is important. Some days it boils down to simply getting enough sleep and spending time with loved ones, children or pets, who show you the simple joys of play and small pleasures - like sharing watermelon after dinner, then playing Monopoly.
Why is zero-waste and sustainable fashion important to you?
I have always seen waste as a resource and strongly believe that circularity is achievable within this lifetime, across all industries. Even if there is insufficient top-down initiative, grassroots communities are growing to fill gaps and there is increasing awareness. But we need to move faster, and those in power need to take actions that match their status.
What do you think consumers need to know about sustainability and conscious consumption?
It is a highly complex and severe problem, there is no easy nor perfect solution, we need to all do whatever we can and drop expectations of perfection. Investigate all aspects of our lives, explore all possibilities of change/improvement, and stop complaining/criticizing. Join relevant communities and keep the movement going.