Meet MATE the Label: an Oscea-approved Brand Spotlight
If you are on the market for the world’s cleanest, chicest organic loungewear including sweatshirts, sweatpants and matching sets, look no further than MATE the Label. At Oscea, having extremely high standards is an understatement; we want to make sustainable shopping a transparent and trustworthy experience for our readers by highlighting brands that are Oscea approved. This article features MATE the Label, one of our favorite brands that passes the test with flying colors on our main pillars; clean, eco-friendly, ethical, and conscious, MATE offers a variety of casual and modern relaxed silhouettes. Their comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing separates make for perfect loungewear that the entire family will love.
Our Favorite Products
Build Your Own Sets
Our favorite MATE products are their customizable “build your own” sets. These aren’t your everyday sweats, and they offer a polished look without sacrificing for comfortability. MATE the Label also makes a wide variety of tops, including sweatshirts, t-shirts, long sleeves, and tank tops that can be mixed and matched with a wide selection of bottoms, including organic biker shorts, sweatpants, joggers, wide-leg pants, and more. Not only can you customize the style of your set, but you can also customize its color and fabric. MATE sets come in 12 beautiful colors and limited edition and seasonal colors are often introduced. For materials, you can choose among organic thermal, fleece, or organic cotton.
Aside from their versatile sets, which can also be purchased as individual separates, MATE also offers a range of other casual garments that can be easily dressed up or down. Their sustainable linen jumpsuits are comfortable, breathable, flattering, and perfect for any occasion. MATE’s jumpsuits are made in five different colors, with the option of short or long sleeve styles.
Originally focused on sustainable women's clothing, MATE has recently decided to expand beyond women's apparel in hopes of making an even greater impact. In 2020, the company launched MATE Men’s and now offers a selection of great menswear basics. MATE Men’s offers a variety of products that can be mixed and matched to create custom sets such as shorts, sweatpants, hoodies, crewnecks, and t-shirts. Their Men's Fleece Crew Neck Sweatshirt is one of our top picks. It is comfortable, easy, and can be easily dressed up or down.
Baby & Kids
Want to match your mini? Also in 2020, the company launched MINI MATE for kids and babies. Build your baby’s set and twin with your little one all day long. With a unisex color palette and an all-around comfy, oversized fit, these sets are perfect for lounging around the house or running around town.
MATE’s Mission: Dress Clean
MATE the Label’s mission is to provide everyday essentials made with non-toxic, natural, and organic materials that are locally produced in Los Angeles. On MATE’s website, their founder and creative director, Kayti O'Connell Carr is quoted:
“MATE is on a mission to clean up the fashion industry, one garment at a time. As a business, we believe that prioritizing the health of the planet and its people is an urgent matter. By committing to non-toxic, natural, and organic materials, we hope to lead the clean fashion movement and affect change in the industry."
With a tagline and philosophy to “Dress Clean”, the company aims to provide people with essentials that are “clean from seed to skin.” In an interview with Vitruvi, Carr explained the creation of MATE, which was originally a vintage-inspired graphic t-shirt brand. In her early 20s, Carr loved to go to flea markets and thrift stores. Her hobby turned into a business with the launch of MATE Vintage. It wasn’t until she started doing research into what her company's production was doing to the planet that her philosophy of “Dress Clean” was born:
“You’re seeing what’s going on in the factories, you’re seeing what’s happening in the dye house—and so I sat back and was like, ‘What am I doing?’ I started listening to a lot of podcasts, reading books, and it all just sort of hit me: ‘This is not really sitting right with me what we’re doing. What can we do?”
Since they launched their “Dress Clean” initiative in early 2018, MATE has been committed to using strictly natural fibers, certified organic materials, and low-impact dyes.
The Highest Standards
MATE has strict and clear standards that ensure sustainability. Their standards are as follows:
Since ‘clean’ is one of Oscea’s main standards, we love that MATE has a strict list of restricted chemicals that are never used in their products. Through their organic materials and non-toxic dyes, MATE ensures that no pesticides, micro-plastics, formaldehyde, carcinogens, or endocrine disruptors are present in their supply chain.
MATE is focused on producing season-less styles and quality goods that will last a lifetime.
From their yarns to their dyes, MATE is committed to organic production. This directly aligns with Oscea’s standards relating to the use of organic, pesticide-free materials.
‘Ethical production’ is one of Oscea’s pillar standards, and it is essential to MATE’s mission, too. The company ensures that their entire supply chain has fair, safe, and respectful working environments.
Founded by women, run by women, and focused on making products for all women, MATE is the epitome of a woman-centered brand. We couldn’t love this more!
6. Plastic Free
MATE has eliminated all plastic from their labels and packaging, and they never use materials that contain micro-plastics, such as polyester, nylon, or polyamide. However, we do have to note that the company does use a small percentage of spandex (elastane) in their stretchy garments. At Oscea, we love to promote and uplift brands like MATE, who have made large sustainability strides by (mostly) eliminating the use of plastic and plastic derivatives in their products and packaging.
With their new recycling program, MATE is taking old garments back and giving them new life. Since Oscea also holds ‘circularity’ as one of our main standards, we love to see that MATE is taking responsibility for their products' entire life span.
8 . Local
MATE is rooted in Los Angeles and committed to uplifting their local community by supporting LA garment workers. All goods are knitted, cut, sewn, and dyed in LA no more than 15 miles from the company's main office.
Certifications and Partnerships
MATE has some great certifications and partnerships that Oscea loves to see!
In 2020, MATE launched their partnership with 1% For the Planet and has donated over $95,000 to environmental and social justice organizations.
MATE became officially Climate Neutral certified in 2021. Their carbon offset projects included Capricorn Ridge Wind Project in Texas and Doo Doo Does More in India.
MATE is a member of the California Cotton and Climate Coalition, a group of brands, scientists, and farmers working to promote California-grown cotton and regenerative farming practices.
Partnering with BEAM allows MATE to give customers the reigns to decide where they want to donate 1% of their purchase. Some of the great foundations you can support include Women's Voices for the Earth and the Surfrider Foundation.
Sustainability Impact Reports
MATE publishes annual in-depth sustainability reports on their website. This is an admirable step that helps create transparency and actionable change within the company's supply chain. Their reports allow consumers to see the true environmental impact of the company’s materials, production, and packaging as well as their plan to improve this impact in the following year. We will now draw from their 2021 impact report to take a closer look at MATE’s materials, dyes, production, packaging, and recent initiatives.
Materials and Dyes
The majority of MATE’s products are made from organic terry, organic linen, and organic fleece. Organic materials have significantly lower carbon emissions and water usage than their conventional counterparts. For example, MATE reports that their organic cotton jersey has 37.1% lower carbon emission and 85.3% less water use compared to conventional cotton. These organic materials also ensure that their products are free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals. MATE’s vibrant colors are something that truly sets them apart; luckily, these beautiful hues are created with azo-free and formaldehyde-free dyes!
All of MATE’s production is LA-based. Their supply chain is hyper-localized with production taking place within 10 miles of their main office. This allows them to visit associated factories every week to ensure that quality and social standards are met. The local supply chain also allows MATE to reduce their carbon footprint and build meaningful relationships with their factories. All of MATE’s factories pay their employees at an hourly rate and none pay by the piece. You can learn more about each of their factories on MATE's website.
MATE has been taking major steps to reduce the impact of their packaging. In addition to eliminating all plastic from their consumer packaging, they have also transitioned to recycled and compostable packing slips and tissue paper with no extra branding materials. Their mailer is made of recycled paper and their labels and tags are made from organic cotton. In 2021, the average MATE package accounted for 0.01 kg of carbon dioxide emissions, which makes up only about 0.2% of their overall product impact.
Recent Initiatives and Future
At the start of 2022, the brand officially launched their clothing take-back program called ReMATE. With this new circular initiative, you can now send in your old MATE items and receive store credit. They also recently launched their MOVE activewear line which contains only 8% elastane for the lowest impact on the environment. MATE plans to keep innovating and expanding this sustainable activewear line. Moving forward, the brand is in the process of becoming B Corp certified with hopes of becoming officially certified by the end of 2022.