Recently I went to Portugal twice and I fell in lovvvvve with the country. Portugal is a country well-known for their textile industry. A lot of ethical brands produce there but we don’t know many brands that comes from the country itself. That’s about to change. Näz is a great sustainable fashion brand from Portugal, and from what I’ve seen, the winter collection will be even better.
I got to chat to the founder Cristiana to ask her more about the background of the brand and what challenges she faces.
Have a look at the Näz collection here.
Get 10% off with the code “LETSTALKSLOW10″.
How did you start Näz? What was your goal with the brand?
When I started Näz I had no idea that it would become what is now and how much it would grow in a year. I refused several job offers because they weren’t balanced with my values and so I set one challenge to myself; to design and produce democratic clothing at a fair price without exploiting people and with a reduced environmental impact. I must say that I had no idea that there were amazing and inspiring brands already in the market, because none of them were represented in Portugal (but ironically all products were produced here). I created Näz with that in mind. The social part is the most important value for us and that’s why we only produce in Portugal. The environmental value also became a pillar after a while.
With that goal in mind I actually started to sew the first pieces myself while going to events and markets around Portugal. We grew by establishing an amazing network and partnership that we can now rely on.
What are the most important values of Näz and how can you find this back in the brand and designs?
Our pillars are nature, society and democratic design.
In our production, we value the people, the people who work with us, and of course, our clients. Before we start thinking about the collection, we think about our materials and suppliers, ensuring every step of the production is done without harming the environment and the most importantly, the people.
You can find these values in our brand and design in absolutely anything. Our minimal design and the colours and materials we choose are minimal and democratic. Always thinking in producing clothes that are not only comfortable and easy to wear/wash but also that adapts to the customer’s wardrobe. We hope to decrease the environmental impact through the minimal design. Our pieces are usually 100% some fiber, thinking about the life cycle of that piece and giving it the chance to be recycled with good quality into a new fiber. When it’s not 100% it’s from deadstock production or recycled materials.
To ensure better prices we don’t smahs our suppliers margins, instead we, with them, try to see a way to produce it with a better price (minimal patterns, reduced sews and the small size scale), with that we can compete with the market while producing fairly.
What are the difficulties you face when you’re producing sustainable fashion?
Our country has a rich background in the textile industry. The production itself is not one of our biggest problems, unlike other brands. For us the price point is the hardest difficulty, we get a lot of feedback regarding that. What usually most people don’t understand, is that we pay fair wages to everyone in our production process, so the prices are only fair. With our new website, we provide a crystal clear image on the price breakdown to our customers. Helping them to get in touch with this reality. Another difficulty is to overcome the greenwashing campaigns from other brands – these don’t help because the price comparison is not based on equal standards, and usually people don’t understand this.
Who are your biggest examples in sustainable fashion?
Every starting brand is a huge example since they always try to bring something fresh and innovative. The course of some of the bigger brands is indeed a big inspiration. We are fans of Mud Jeans, their work into a circular economy inside their own production is incredible. We also love how Thinking Mu turns sustainability into something cool and fun. Other than that there are other brands that work in cosmetics, food, etc etc, that are a huge example of how you can create something beautiful and collaborative if we have the right mindset.
You work with a one size system, how come?
In the beginning we didn’t had the resources to produce different sizes so we opted for the one size system that got better with time and experience. This system actually helps our retailers because they don’t have to order a lot of sizes and the chances of having stock by the end of the season is lower, which improves the business’ sustainability. The oversized design also supports this argument and we work a lot on our patterns until they are perfect. In addition we also employ small hacks to adapt to different people – like belts and elastic bands.
With time, we had the need to improve this one size system. Instead of having all the sizes (S,M,L,XL) we are creating two sizes: one that covers the range from XS to M and another that covers the range from M to XL. It’s a big improvement that comes with a lot of risk. We hope this turns out a great and more democratic way of sizing up our pieces!
What are you working on at the moment? Is there something new coming up?
We are going to launch a new product this winter and we are really excited about it. It’s from our recycled line and it’s all locally made. We know that everyone is going to love it! In parallel, we have our next spring/summer collection coming up. This collection is getting bigger on the womenswear and menswear selection with beautiful fabrics and colours!
What part does sustainability play in your day to day life?
With experience I learned more and more about sustainability. I became aware of how big the impact is our choices have in the world we care about. How the small changes impact our day-to-day life have in the long term. Something as simple as buying eggs from the neighbour that has some chickens and that can make her health grow into buying better quality products that in the end can also impact me directly. I always had a minimal lifestyle, buying the necessary minimum. My grandparents were farmers so I lived a lot of my life in the farms, always surrounded with a lot respect for animals and nature. I’ve inherited this lifestyle and reflect it a lot of in Näz, or at least I try to. As far as I can remember I always bought everything second hand – from clothing to all the furniture inside my house. I never thought about the low impact these decisions would have in the economy and market. After some reading, the consciousness of the economy of choice was something that I always had without knowing and that is where the sustainability really lies – choice.
But there were a lot of small changes and each day I try harder to live more and more sustainably. Now my goal is having a low waste life, less plastic, less packaging, less unnecessary things.
Have a look at the Näz collection here. Get 10% off with the code “LETSTALKSLOW10″.