After years of experience in the fashion industry, Tosca van Haren was fed up with fast fashion and waste in the industry, so she started her own social fashion brand NUQI.
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The company takes a holistic approach to sustainability, selecting 100% natural materials for its products. It is based on pure merino or Adean Highland wool, recycled cotton, Peace silk and organic aloe vera. There are no buttons, rubber bands, zippers or thread, leaving only the material in raw form. Although they prefer to keep the natural color, for the clothes they dye they use natural vegetables.
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NUQI proudly produces woolen items hand-knitted in Peru by Atelier Manta in Ayacucho. Solid Crafts, a non-profit social organization in Belgium, set up this workshop. Many of the workers are single mothers, so the organization provides the opportunity to work in a clean and safe working environment, as well as childcare and health care.
Another workshop called KOCO, located in India, makes hand-knitted and crocheted items from recycled cotton. Women in rural villages benefit from the work, but they also receive education in a variety of subjects.
NUQI also collaborates with Project Três, a Berlin-based non-profit social organization. Project Três offers workshops in Kenya and India where workers receive community education and training to provide social and financial opportunities.
“Workshops in India and Kenya make jewelry from recycled glass beads, bags and clothing from recycled sarongs and recycled cotton and accessories from organic Aloe Vera,” NUQI said.
NUQI donates 10% of its profits to this type of social workshop and includes social entrepreneurship among its primary missions as a business.
To complement the company’s philosophy, the emphasis is on slow fashion by allowing workshops to set order completion dates rather than imposing deadlines. The company explains: “Because we work without seasons, we can adapt our deliveries to the workshop schedule. In this way, we create a constant stream of income for the studio.
NUQI strives to educate customers on the benefits of minimalism and slow fashion using quality handcrafted materials for long life. The designs are timeless and accentuate a capsule wardrobe. They also offer periodic redemption periods where they offer a reward in return. They then recycle the materials or give the item to employees. However, they do encourage customers to gift someone else if they don’t want more of an item. NUQI fights against overproduction waste by existing on a pre-order system where items are made to order.
Finally, it pays attention to transport pollution by coordinating with other companies, so that the shipments are combined for a full cargo. From pre-order to delivery in recycled packaging, NUQI slows everything down to put workers and the environment in the driver’s seat.
Images via NUQI