ONE MINUTE WITH

KATIE MATTHEWS

 KATIE MATTHEWS

What are you doing in life?

I live in Camberwell, London and am a Brand Strategist at Flamingo - a global insights and brand consultancy.

 

What are you wearing today?

Today I am wearing a gold leather skirt, Zebra Supergas, an orange coat from Never Fully Dressed and a Charlotte Simone popsicle 

 

What's good design to you?

Good design is about form and flair. Form is about getting the basics right and in fashion that's about something that fits and flatters. Flair is about little flourishes and unexpected details that makes something unique and interesting

 

What's the best bit of design you've seen recently?

I love what Rogue are doing – A great example of form and flair coming together -  a fun and interesting takes on flat, comfortable shoes. I also Love what Kate Jenkins is doing – absurd, fish art that is totally unexpected with a side of sequins. 

 

What do you think is driving a growing interest from consumers in the provenance of their products and in seeking greater transparency from their brands?

We are currently in the age of disposability – you can buy whatever you want for very little. It has created for many a real quantity mindset – just look at the success of Primark. There will always be a role for places like Primark I am sure, but increasingly people are wanting more than just 'stuff' – we live in increasingly small spaces with more people and as a result we are going to be increasingly forced to think about the things that really add value to our lives. I think more broadly we will start to see people wanting to buy into a philosophy that is more thoughtful, more caring and more connected to the world around them. Post 2016 I think people will be even more focused on this, asking what type of world do we want to live in? A world where things like the Rana Plaza collapse are allowed to happen or a world where we are more connected to the things we consume and the people that make them. 

 

Are there and brands doing transparency or telling the provenance  story in an interesting way?

I don’t think many brands are talking about transparency in an interesting way. There are brands talking about provenance and where products are made like Maiyet but it still feels emergent and confined to either small brands or luxury brands. I think this is partly because brands haven’t yet been able to talk provenance in a way that truly engages the customers and adds value. For many transparency is still seen as a supplier issue that ‘isn’t their concern’ - but I think that is changing, and changing for the better.

 

Can conscious consumption happen when the default is to constantly refresh, renew and rejuvenate?

I believe that we are moving towards a more thoughtful relationship with things (and the planet more broadly) - and this will likely impact consumption patterns but at the moment it is still quite emergent. Positively though just look at the momentum around meat free monday and meat free meals more generally, i think we will see a move towards consumption that has a more positive value exchange and that actually starts to think about value not just in monetary terms but in terms of its environmental or ethical value as well. 

 

Do you have any thoughts on the phrase ‘conscious consumer’

I don’t find the term conscious consumption particularly helpful – I think it feels stuck in the old world of sustainability which to me feels quite worthy and judgemental – based on notions of guilt with an underlying assumption that other kinds of consumption are bad and lacking thought. I think what we need is a more positive and collaborative take on consumption that is celebratory and absent of guilt or judgement 

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