The Materiel girl is fiercely individual, yet she draws a cult around her who admire her striking staple wardrobe. Exploring the tensions between femininity and masculinity, Materiel Tbilisi, from Georgia settles somewhere in the middle, creating collections which combine timeless shapes with sharp statement pieces. We chat to this eco-conscious label to discuss their essential silhouette and brand DNA.
How has your week been so far?
This week was quite busy and complex, as it always is. When your range of the day is so loaded that it even captures you, it is a real pleasure to be an essential part of it all.
What three words would you use to describe the Materiel Tbilisi style?
Individual, feminine and masculine.
You use eco-conscious materials within your designs, such as eco leather and responsible wool. Are sustainable materials something which you plan to develop further in future collections?
Definitely, one of our key goals is to focus on sustainability more. Each collection contains more and more staples from recyclable fabrics. We want even small characteristic details in the form of accessories and hardwares to be eco-friendly.
The pieces are extremely wearable for the everyday consumer, is this something you always have in mind when designing a collection?
During the creation process, I imagine a specific virtual woman, roughly representing her activities, interests, what she likes and where she goes. This illusion forms the silhouette you see at the end, it becomes a useful and must-have for every woman wardrobe.
Many of your garments thrive from clean-cut shapes which flatter a variety of body-types. Do you think this is one of the reasons why your collections are so popular?
I guess so, as the silhouette is associated with the brand itself, its dual identities of both feminine and masculine, high-quality tailoring and timeless shapes.
Materiel Tbilisi is known for its subdued and earthy colour palette. However, there are pieces, such as the blush Satin Ballerina Halter dress from the Spring/Sumer 2021 collection, which break this tradition. What role does colour play in your collections?
I really enjoy playing with the colour palette mixes and especially working on colour accents. Earthy shades always speak about something unique and different tones can be seen through details, prints and fabric colours, like a prologue and an epilogue.
Your Fall/Winter 2021 collection explores the individuality of women by portraying “heroines or muses,” as you describe on your website. Why was this something you wanted to represent in this collection?
Materiel collections convey individuality and strength. Uniqueness and specificity. Through this shooting project, made with Jam Project, we express how a woman that wears Materiel is self-confident, dreamy and romantic.
Your most recent collection, Resort 2022, includes many key pieces which Materiel do so well, like your statement wrap jackets. However, this collection features many pieces which are new for the brand. How would you say this collection compares to previous releases?
This is my fourth collection, I have allowed myself the freedom to experiment more than in others. Considering that the entire collection was ‘woven’ from mini capsules. Marble print, lightweight cupro and masculine forms formed very attractive blend. I used to focus on bare back dresses which are very masculine and signature for the brand’s current DNA.
Where does your inspiration come from? Where do you go to feel inspired?
I am attentive to everything around me because I guess it is everywhere. Inspiration needs to be seen, heard and felt every day.
Why do you think it is particularly important for companies such as Materiel Tbilisi to offer opportunities to young and emerging fashion designers?
We are sure it is something mutually necessary and motivational for both sides, as both designers and the company potentially may grow. The designer team has always consisted of young designers who see, perceive correctly and clearly feel the reality features.
Now more than ever, companies are being held accountable for their manufacturing processes. Materiel leads by example, offering educational and self-improvement opportunities locally and internationally. Are company values and community reach-out schemes something the brand takes pride in?
I want to note that the company itself is in a permanent development process. It seems to me that this is the main highlight of our brand – constant changes leading to growth and comprehensive development. There is some kind of love to studying and being involved in what is reflected in our trainings for artisans, various internships and courses.
The goal of the brand is to “maximise the use of available resources to create unique clothing ethically.” How does this goal affect your design process and the eventual product?
The impact is large-scale, as we even try to select raw materials partners who are strictly eco, for example. Approximately seventy per cent of the fabrics we used in the recent collections are sustainable and, additionally, our packaging is one hundred per cent biodegradable and recyclable too. As you know, the entire garment making process takes place in our factory in Tbilisi (Georgia) and left over fabrics are either upcycled or donated to local and international brands.
Fashion House Material was established in 1949. Where do you see the brand going in the future?
I believe the whole company holds a strong stable position, while simultaneously developing its subsidiaries and projects. The development of the brand is felt both conceptually and in terms of quality, so I see the brand in a complex growth more in the global terms, especially in the aspects of sustainability.