It’s all about sustainable fashion: Founders of KAI-MAATAM in Kochi

MAATAM team with their brand ambassador, Reshma Sebastian. Photo: Special Arrangement

In this age of quick fashion and frequent shift in people's shopping habits, Kochi-based 'KAI-MAATAM' is attempting to put a big number of pre-loved clothing to use. This thrifting initiative was born out of four best friends' dream project, 'MAATAM,' which strives to promote sustainability in apparel, architecture, lifestyle, and events. Thrifting is the practise of shopping for upcycled or pre-owned products at reduced costs.

Visakha G Raj, Irin Joseph and Maria P Joy who completed their graduation in Architecture from the College of Architecture, Trivandrum (CAT), founded 'MAATAM' last year. Their friend, Martin S Koickal, joined them as a business partner later. "The idea was to bring positive change into society, and 'MAATAM' is our humble efforts to create awareness on sustainability," said Martin.

The four architects were not hesitant to launch 'KAI-MAATAM,' especially because the concept of thrifting is new in Kerala. Furthermore, their goal was to urge individuals to adopt a simple lifestyle by making conscious choices that benefit the environment.

Visakha G Raj, Irin Joseph, Maria P Joy, Martin S Koickal. Photo: Special Arrangement

"Thrift culture is probably new to our people. But most of our customers are youngsters, who are wholeheartedly ready to purchase pre-owned items such as clothes and accessories," said Irin. She went on to say that these clients are also the ones that motivate them to work for their cause.

According to Visakha, thrifting allows people to purchase on a budget. "The prices of our products range from Rs 20 to Rs 200. The idea is to make sure to keep more people actively thrifting and closing the circle of fast fashion," she said.

Customers at KAI-MAATAM's flea market. Photo: Special Arrangement

Maria addressed the change in people's shopping patterns, which can eventually lead to environmental issues, when discussing the relevance of thrifting in today's times. "Our new way of life has conditioned us to shop on a regular basis, regardless of our needs. This has already started to create environmental problems that are irreversible, polluting our lands and rivers with big dumps of waste. It's all about creating a balance and reusing products," she added.

Reshma Sebastian, a fashion influencer and brand ambassador for 'KAI-MAATAM,' supports their ideas and collaborates with the team to spread the word. The founders are also particular about maintaining the hygiene of the products during the collection process. "Thanks to Jeevan Varghese, founder of JOBOY, who makes the logistics part easier," said Martin.

The prices of KAI-MAATAM products range from Rs 20 to Rs 200. Photo: Special Arrangement

The pre-owned products are sold in flea markets that are being organised in some of the popular spots in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. "We are pushing the limits and want to try to reach a bigger audience in the coming days. It's high time to embrace thrifting and affordable fashion," quipped Visakha.

Those who are interested in giving away their clothes to 'KAI-MAATAM should follow these steps:

• Follow @__maatam__ for updates on collection points
• Make sure to give products that are of good quality, with no tears, fading, or stains
• Fold them and pack them neatly in a cover or box
• Write your name and contact details on the package to receive Joboy points

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