State of Matter may be the next promising foray into men’s sustainable lifestyle apparel.
Slated for a mid-September launch, State of Matter is the first sustainably produced and positioned lifestyle brand from Japanese manufacturer Itochu. The company already counts Vince Camuto, Psycho Bunny, Lands’ End, Perry Ellis and Haggar among its portfolio of licensed apparel brands.
The collection of patterned shirts, comfort-prioritizing work pants and blazers, priced between $98 to $278, will be available on the brand’s web site, Stateofmatterapparel.com, starting Sept. 15.
State of Matter’s “modern” man, according to Itochu head of merchandising, marketing and e-commerce Tim Reid, is a sort of conscious trendsetter and “an early adopter of new things — and that could be in technology as well as fashion.”
“We’re obsessively driven by our brand purpose of ‘Unconventional Innovation’ and creating sustainable performance materials that are new to market that consumers would actually care about,” Reid added. “First and foremost, it has to be great product that’s on-trend and has performance features that will make the clothing the most comfortable thing that people have ever worn. I know a lot of brands say that they have the ‘most comfortable shirt in the world,’ but we really achieved it and did it in a considerably more sustainable way.”
State of Matter leans into Itochu’s supply chain expertise by plugging into a network of partners that are “best-in-class from a quality and ethical standpoint,” according to the company’s vice president of global sourcing Richard Zhou. Products are made at a couple of the company’s stated “best factories” in Egypt and Indonesia, which are certified by both Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production, and U.N. International Labour Organization and International Finance Corporation workers’ rights program Better Work.
Sustainable material innovation is a distinguishing characteristic of the incoming State of Matter line. With a year in research and development, Zhou said “all of our sustainable fibers are individually certified by some of the top agencies in the world such as Bluesign, Global Recycling Standard and Oeko-Tex.”
For fall, State of Matter’s flagship fabrics include The Triton commuter fabric and its Phoenix shirt fabric. The Triton is made from 79 percent Econyl regenerated nylon, while the Phoenix fabric includes a mix of 88 percent Renu — a branded recycled polyester from textile and garment waste — and 12 percent of Lycra’s EcoMade elastane. Rounding out the assortments are Greenplus and Repreve. Both branded fibers are made from recycled bottles, with the former seen in the brand’s yarn-dyed patterned shirts and the latter appearing in the brand’s staple “Lennox blazer.”
“Next season we have more exciting and innovative developments on the fabric side of things. We have sustainable fabrics in the pipeline that can actually clean the air around you and another using materials from the sea to enhance the performance features of the products,” said Kimberley Acevedo, Itochu’s merchandise and design manager for tops.
Looking ahead, Reid believes women’s apparel and accessories are the next logical step for State of Matter.
“We’re starting with men’s apparel as that is our expertise right now but we’ve shown our core fabrics and samples to women in the industry along with friends and family and they want to know how fast we can launch a ready-to-wear line,” he said. “They were truly excited about it because it doesn’t really exist right now from a comfort, performance and sustainability perspective — and we know we can bring great products to this consumer.”
Product end-of-life is also considered, as State of Matter operates a reuse channel called its 360° Afterlife Program. Customers have the option to send back worn items to be cleaned and donated, with the potential for recycling fibers into new garments “if and when the day comes,” Reid reiterated.