Nau: Sustainable Style For Active Individuals

The performance brand aims to create a new genre of clothing with an environmental impact. 

What do you get when you combine people from the biggest fitness and outdoor brands and pair them with sustainable thinking? A collaboration unlike any other.

When Eric Reynolds founded Nau, a sustainable outdoor clothing company, in 2005, he envisioned a brand that would not only cater to active individuals, but also rely on a goal to make an environmental impact.

To carry out this idea, Reynolds recruited individuals from Patagonia, Nike and other brands to combine their talents and create clothing that encompasses Nau’s design philosophy of beauty, performance and sustainability.

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The group came up with the name, Nau, after being inspired by the Maori word, spelled in the same way, which means welcome.

“The broad, complex community that Nau strives to serve is comprised of individuals pursuing their passions in an increasingly mindful way,” said Mark Galbraith, Nau general manager. “We look at our community as a combination of multidimensional athletes, activists and creative influencers. Athletes that most closely aligns with the brand are those who integrate urban and outdoor experiences, and seek products that are multifaceted in terms of function, season and sport.”

He adds that instead of using demographics as a foundation for their consumers, the brand uses a psychographic to determine their following of athletes, environmentalists and artists.

The Portland-based brand, which most recently started using Cocona, a carbon-based insulation made from coconut husks, uses only natural and renewable fibers and recycled materials; even its product dyes and finishes are sustainable.

Gailbraith says what sets Nau apart from other sustainable performance brands is their business model, as they create their clothing using only the most environmentally friendly practices, such as donating a portion of the proceeds to Partners for Change, using reusable packing when shipping orders,

“Our positioning is a mash-up of accessible and wearable fashion with the function and performance of technical outdoor apparel. The result of our design principals creates, in essence, a new genre of clothing,” said Galbraith.

Despite the brand’s limited palette of resources, it still manages to reinvent its collections by experimenting with innovative fabrics. For their fall collection, consumers will find fabrics like waxed cotton and waterproof wool, among others, in items like the M2 Rib Neck baselayer and M2 tights.

For their upcoming collections, Nau is focusing on more color and surface treatments, wool and waxed cotton blends, lightweight technical rain wear, and lux blend cotton knits in the yoga and rock climbing sub-collection.

Nau is currently distributed in more than 130 retailers in the U.S., Switzerland and Japan.


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