I spoke with Peter Kallen, designer of Nau clothing, and he explained what makes “minimal considered” clothing design. “When I get to the point where I can’t take anything away, it’s done.” Nau clothing is for active-living, but it isn’t “sportswear”. There’s none of the bright colors, stripes, or supertights that make you look like a mating bird. The colors are more subdued: denim, blue, brown, black, and khaki. You don’t have to change outfits when you change activities. “It will last in your wardrobe,” Kallen claims. “It’s a sustainable color palette, a timeless quality.” Bright colors are momentary, though Nau does make an orange rust colored jacket for back-country visibility. Most companies target their line to a demographic, Nau has in mind a “psychegraphic”. “For us, it’s a sense of living, and head space.”
Amazingly, there’s no external logoing on any garments. This makes me wonder how they compare to the other clothing brands, or how they can compete in the marketplace. “We’re not trying to capitalize on the it, we’re trying to provoke the sustainable movement.” Nau gives two percent of every sale to Partners for Change. Nau ensures through a third party auditor, Verite, that their factories are safe, employees have the right to gather, and there’s no discrimination.
“We’re pioneering fabrics,” Kallen says. “The actual value is related to its price. It’s not faux luxury. We can justify why the fabrics cost the amount they do. It’s transparent in that way.” Synthetic fibers made from recycled polyester that is recyclable at the end of its life – a complete cradle-to-cradle cycle. The cotton is certified organic,traceable back to the bale level. The wool is traceable back to the pasture in New Zealand.
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