Matt & Nat Opens Rideau Centre Location

Despite the growing movements of veganism and environmental activism, it is uncommon to find companies that strike a balance in the relationship between the creation of their products and conserving their environment. While a few brands are hoping on the bandwagon, they are still few and far between.

Matt & Nat, short for Mat(t)erial and Nature, has found harmony between these two main influences.

Specializing in high-end vegan leather since 1995, the Montreal-based chain just opened their first brick-and-mortar boutique on the second level of the Rideau Centre (taking over the spot that was once Danier Leather).

Taking inspiration from nature, both in their merchandise and company ethics, the brand strives to protect the world around them. Their goal is to work with integrity and love, “exploring the synergy between the two, the reflection of one on the other.” They embrace the motto “live beautifully”, self-described as “appreciating the humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.”

Their aesthetic is chic, simple and understated – both for their products and for the décor of the store. The space is light and airy with illuminated white shelves and a worn wood-paneled wall behind the cash register, evoking a calm atmosphere that one rarely finds inside a bustling shopping mall.

The brand capitalizes on the minimalist trend with a mix of streamlined designed in a range of solid neutrals, pastels and bold shades. Their shoes and bags for both men and women have been seen on everyone from Nathalie Portman and Olivia Wilde to Tobey Maguire and Adrian Grenier. Even the packaging is elegant, with white paper bags featuring the brand name in clean black type.

Matt & Nat not only uses strictly vegan materials in their goods, but also prioritizes environmental sustainability. The linings in all their bags are formed from 100% recycled plastic bottles and they have started incorporating recycled bike tires into their creations. Their bags are made to last, rendering them more sustainable by eliminating the need to toss them. Their head office is “cruelty free” and they throw a vegetarian potluck at the end of each month. A core company value is social responsibility and they are constantly experimenting to discover new ways to be eco-friendly.

According to the company website, the idea for Matt & Nat materialized as though it was “always meant to be.” In a similar fashion, their new Ottawa home fits like a vegan leather glove.