Matter is an important player in the US design world. They rep some prestigious European brands and are a great NYC retailer. However, we love them best for MATTERMADE, their beautifully-curated collection that is designed by Americans and produced locally. Our Shed Storage unit, for example, was made right out in Brooklyn.
Many of my friends have heard my rant about local production, but here it is again.
I was in China twice this winter working on new products and that will probably not change any time soon. It makes me sad, as a designer, that I must travel 16 hours to get to a factory. The factory, after all, is the playground of the designer. It is a shame that we have allowed manufacturing to die in the country. Jobs are lost, but society also loses connection to the basic human activity of fabrication.
The consumer now expects everything to be dirt cheap. They fill up their baskets at the big box stores with poorly-designed, poorly-made crap that will most likely end up in a landfill. It is a vicious cycle. Cheap goods just drop into our lives from China, so no one even thinks about how they are made. I am certainly guilty too - I like my disposable glassware from CB2. No one thinks about the fact that the factory workers do not have health insurance or that the factory waste is simply dumped in the local river. It all takes place out of sight and out of mind. We have exported all of the problems related to manufacturing.
Few today remember the pride of consuming goods that are made by your neighbors. Few know anyone who makes anything for a living. So in turn, no one wants to pay a fair price for anything, no one understands what makes a piece of furniture great, or mediocre. I'd like to see people consume fewer, better things. I'd like to see consumers learning about design and manufacturing and thus demanding better goods in their lives. This is impossible if production is in China or India.
Call me selfish, I don't relish getting on the plane for another 16 hour flight, but I have also seen great design made here. MATTERMADE, for instance! Please vote for them.