Smateria believes “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” and transforms discarded materials into gorgeous new fashion accessories by mixing Italian design and Khmer technical skills. Smateria’s current 2011 range stretches to handbags, laptop bags, luggage, messenger bags, backpacks, toiletry bags, passport holders, wallets and keyrings.
Originally designed as a protection net for use on construction sites, the net that doesn’t meet safety standards is sold off as “faulty” at the markets. It then becomes multipurpose. It’s used for drying rice, fishing, and protecting cows from mosquitoes. Smateria purchases rolls of this “mosquito net” to manufacture unique bags and accessories.
In Cambodia plastic bags are strewn everywhere, all over the streets and in the rivers. With such a ready supply, it made sense for Smateria to transform this material into something desirable. Black like oil, soft like leather, resistant in the way only plastic can be. It’s an ideal material for bags and wallets. A team of 20 craftspeople work at Smateria’s plastic project at the relocation site for displaced people in the village of Andong.
>>Motorbike seats “Smoto”
The “moto” holds legendary status among Cambodians. Everybody wants or has one. Five people can easily fit in one. Monks bless new ones every day at the pagoda. With no public transport system and cars being so expensive, the motorbike is essential to the Cambodian family. At Smateria we recycle old discarded seats and use them to produce funky bags and wallets.