I just found a great source for green clothing for women and men looking for "cleaner" and more casual day to day ware. Call it metro-sexual garb for bikers and mountain climbers. Nau, based out of Portland, OR, is a twenty-person company and clearly passionate about design. Their goods are carried in retail stores across the U.S. and you can buy them on their website as well.
Their principles of sustainable design?
- 2% of every sale to our humanitarian and environmental Partners for Change; cut-and-sew factories that adhere to their Code of Conduct.
- Natural, renewable fibers produced in a sustainable manner; synthetic fabrics that contain high recycled content; managed toxics in all product finishes and dyes; salvaged and recycled materials for retail fixtures.
- Styles and product details that are considered, timeless, and able to move seamlessly through the day and all its unpredictabilities.
I found the section about global sourcing on their website particularly revealing. It just goes to show how difficult it is to draw lines in the sand when it comes to making sustainable choices in the fashion industry these days.
We manufacture our clothing in four countries—Canada, China, Thailand and Turkey—using fabrics from China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Thailand and the U.S.A. One reason we manufacture many of our products in Asia is because many of our cutting-edge textiles originate only in Asia, and one of our goals is to have our production facilities as close as possible to where our fabric, hardware and fixtures originate, in order to reduce the environmental impact of shipping.
For many of the products we are producing (some of the most highly tailored and technical on the market) the required skill sets and technologies no longer exist in the U.S. While there are U.S.-made garments available to consumers, they are almost always less technical than what Nau designs, and are produced in far greater volume. The demise of the U.S. textile and garment-manufacturing segment of the economy is a well-known macro-economic trend, in place for many years. While disappointing, this is not something that we, as a small newcomer brand, can truly counteract.
Thankfully, along with the years of industry experience that many of our staff members bring to our team comes lasting, established relationships with foreign manufacturers whose practices and integrity we know and trust. Of course overseas production is not without controversy, but if approached with honesty and transparency, and monitored by a system of checks and balances, we believe it can actually benefit the people and countries where the work is done.