The Paris-based fashion brand Metta operates as a committed design project promoting conscious consumption, environmentally conscious manufacturing and the abolishment of hetero-normative gender roles.
Their values and principles are mirrored in their design and manufacturing process, that is regulated and enacted in Paris. The main characteristics of Metta can be seen, for instance, on their graphic t-shirt “Eat Sleep Protest Repeat”; as well as their minimalism, non-binary cuts, and a fully sustainable and ethical supply chain.

The brand lives up to its word by using certified GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton – a standard for organic fibres, considering ecological and social-criteria, and donating 3€ for each sale to the UN Women organisation. This includes the Fund for Gender Equality (FGE), which supports national, women-led civil society organisations in achieving women's economic and political empowerment. Also, Metta attained an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, meaning the fabric has been tested and certified to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be noxious to human health. As well as careful manufacturing, Justine Tran, Metta's founder, plans to expand her activism visually, and offer a platform for independent directors and video makers on the Metta website in the future.
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Metta is known as a committed design project, that has an activist side to it. You fight for gender equality, particularly for queer women, and other social issues, like sustainability. Can you explain the full concept behind Metta?
It is right that Metta is committed to fighting for specific social causes including, the queer women movement, gender equality, and sustainability. A queer-inclusivity wave appeared recently in the media and culture, giving new and unprecedented visibility to queer people. In light of this, Metta’s mission is to bring a new perception of the queer women's movement and promote gender equality. As for the production processes, Metta takes pride in all forms of sustainability: on a product level, we choose to work with suppliers who are in line with today's standards of compliance with sustainable production chains. We also make sure to use only certified materials. On a business and human level, we are happy to be surrounded by professionals who share the same values as Metta - including gender equality and queerness. Accordingly, and because inclusion matters to us, we prioritize collaborating with queer women and people of colour.
That's great! Can you please specify who you've worked with then?
The Metta project is a happy outcome of several observations. I was working in the fashion industry and noticed that some communities were not as represented as others. The vast majority of leadership positions are still held by white men. With Metta, we want to create greater equality and maintain inclusive collaborations as much as we can. For instance, Metta's first ambassador was Moesha 13, a black producer and DJ whose principal is to create a decolonial and feminist electronic scene. Another inclusive act is Metta's latest campaign shot at LGBTQIA+ venue Château de la Haute Borde. The shooting team was exclusively composed of women who were accordingly picked for their queer sensitivity. For pride month 2021, we are looking for a painter to customize some Metta pieces. Our choice will be made according to our inclusive values.
Unisex clothing and normcore have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Do you think gender-specific clothing will become redundant at some point? In your opinion, why should there be more non-binary clothing brands?
In the time of Covid and the fight for social justice, we are finding ourselves searching for depth and meaning. As fashion is part of today’s new paradigms of gender equality, we, brands and designers, have been more willing to create unisex collections. I hope that other brands can follow, but I also believe that there will be a long time before gender-specific clothing becomes redundant. There is a deep inequality worldwide within the current system, and social change can only happen by taking a holistic approach to the problem. When we think about redefining binary collections, we need to look at the patriarchal ideology and its barriers to instituting political measures to bring gender equality in all spheres of society.
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Sustainability and longevity play a big role in your manufacturing process, considering the fact that all your pieces are handcrafted and made out of sustainable material. Why is sustainability so important to you?
The clothing industry is a significant contributor to environmental and human damage. At Metta, I couldn't imagine producing pieces without being sustainable. How you dress is about how you position yourself in the world. As a designer, by being responsible, by thinking about whether my products are good for the Earth and good for our minds, I offer the possibility for customers to buy better. We also need to think about how feminism and sustainability are linked and how sustainable fashion addresses many core social issues in ways we may not expect.
Big fashion chains claim to be sustainable to generate profit and follow the demand of a “greener behaviour” even if it is a marketing strategy called “greenwashing”. What is your opinion on this concept? In the future, do you believe the big fast-fashion chains will slowly disappear?
Even if greenwashing is deeply ingrained in the fashion world, I think we never run out of spotlights that bring awareness to sustainability. I encourage every transition to sustainability even though I wish there was more honesty to the commitment. Let’s face it, going sustainable is a luxury today. It costs more money and implies lower benefits. We know the high consideration of benefits for the big fast-fashion chains. I can hardly believe that they will accept to adopt a fully responsible behaviour, unless politicians take action on them.
On your website, the TV button says “Soon”. Can you elaborate on what your upcoming projects will focus on?
We will soon offer a space for independent directors and video makers to highlight their artworks on the website. Metta's other upcoming plan is to develop the home accessories collection. Gender is also present in objects and decoration and this inspires the brand a lot. A line of table lighters and candle holders is already on the way. Stay tuned for the next updates.
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