West-coast based clothing company Nau is opening a pop-up shop in New York for the holidays, and is taking the word “sustainable” to the next level.
Here/Nau/NYC opens Thursday in Soho, featuring its line of eco-friendly clothing. But what’s interesting about the store is that everything–apparel aside–has been collected from waste products in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Rolling racks have been constructed from old piping, wood, and wheels from an abandoned go-kart. A weathered ladder doubles as a shoe display. Tables made of cardboard and recycled metal stand as product displays. Gathered branches act as artsy ceilings to fitting rooms, which are veiled by coffee-dyed cloth. If I didn’t already know, I would have never guessed that these items had been scooped up from the streets in the past few weeks–the store looks clean and streamlined.
Gordon Seabury, CEO of Horny Toad, which owns Nau, said that New York is the market with the largest online demand for the brand, which made bringing the pop-up store to the city a no-brainer.
“From the product aesthetic, to the fashion, to the function, it suits this market,” he said. “We’re bringing sustainability to the consumer in an authentic way, and this market is ready for it.”
All raw materials used in Nau products are either renewable or made of synthetic polyesters created from recycled material, but are designed to be long-lasting and convenient. They use classic lines and colors to ensure that each item has a long life.
“If something is sustainable, but it’s cool for one season and then you never wear it again, you’ve negated the sustainability factor,” said Mark Galbraith, general manager of Nau. “It doesn’t have a useful life.”
The products are useful, yes. But cheap? Not exactly. Nau’s outerwear can run as much as $450, and merino and cotton shirts are around $100. It’s pricey, especially in this economy, but the Nau team says these items will fit any part of life.
“People tend to assume that if it’s sustainable, it’s a little granola,” Galbraith said. “But we apply our thinking to an urban lifestyle. Throw it in a bag, wear it to dinner–you don’t have to get in costumes for every thing you do.”
For example, the women’s Modus Trench ($425) is water- and wind-proof, but design-wise, it’s suitable for an evening out. Galbraith demonstrated to me how, if you roll it up, it really is small enough to throw in a handbag.
Seabury said that above all, he hopes the store, which will stay open until December 31, makes people actively think about sustainability. “We’re really putting the brand and our product in a leadership position to be an educator,” he said, adding that the store will generate interest by hosting private events, fundraisers, and public events with live music and art each week.
“Our ideals are behind everything,” Galbraith added. “The world doesn’t need another clothing store, but someone that can look under every rock and say, ‘how can we do it better?'”