At Smateria we make our own fun. We take our inspiration from our urban and local surroundings and find beauty in the unusual and unconventional materials. We consider all of them as a potential fabric. We shake them, turn them inside out, layer them, stitch them up and transform them into something extraordinary.
Repurposed nylon net
Giving a soul and light to an industrial material
Nylon net is a multipurpose material mainly used for fishing or in the construction field. In Phnom Penh we are surrounded by this material. It was such an inspiration that we decided to repurpose it and make it our signature material. We love to play with the different colours and layer them to obtain endless combinations of colours and textures.
Giving scraps a second life
That’s what we like most at Smateria, turning waste into something unconventional and of high quality. The leather we use comes from sofa factories in Cambodia which inspired the name of the Diva line. We collect the leftovers from local factories and give them a new life.
Each piece has to go through several manual operations before being placed on the surface with a pattern, like a puzzle. Working closely with the pattern makers, we design unique shapes to make the most of these wastes.
Reviving handicraft while upcycling plastic waste
Plastic bags pollution is a big issue globally and particularly in Asia. At Smateria, we have found a way to upcycle them and they are a part of our raw materials. We wash them, cut them and transform them into a thread which we use to crochet, to knit and to weave.
By mixing these new fabrics with our net we give life to our re-mix collection. For this project, Smateria employs a small group of women located in the outskirts of Phnom Penh who otherwise have difficulties finding fixed jobs.
Our production process
Our bags and accessories are not only ‘cut and sew’ products but are a result of multiple operations to create “the main fabric”. All the pre-assembling is a manual process entirely managed by hands and not by machines. The three main materials used (Net, Leather and Plastic) at Smateria go through a complicated process.
The cutting of the net, the pinning together of the different layers, the handling of the pieces of leather, the plastic, etc: we don’t just assemble the materials, we create our own fabric.
The perfect finish
Produced in-house from start to finish, our bags are carefully handmade by an amazing community of Khmer artisans. Working with these different materials takes time and care – every centimetre needs to be checked for imperfections, and specific processes are adopted to make the designs strong and reliable, as well as stylish. Every product is checked by a team across the production line to ensure they meet our stringent quality requirements.