After years of experience in the fashion industry, Tosca van Haren was fed up with fast fashion and the waste in the industry, so she launched her own social fashion brand NUQI.
The company takes a well-rounded approach to sustainability, selecting 100% natural materials for its products. It relies on pure Merino or Adean Highland wool, recycled cotton, peace silk and organic aloe vera. There are no buttons, elastic, zippers or thread, leaving only the material in raw form. Although they prefer to maintain natural color, for articles of clothes that they do dye, they use natural vegetables.
NUQI proudly produces hand-knitted woolen items in Peru by Atelier Manta in Ayacucho. Solid Crafts, a social non-profit organization in Belgium, has set up this workshop. Many of the workers are single mothers, so the organization provides an opportunity for working in a clean and safe work environment and childcare and healthcare support.
Another workshop called KOCO, located in India, produces hand-knitted and crocheted goods made 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 social non-profit organization based in Berlin. Project Três offers workshops in both Kenya and India where workers are provided education and community training in order to provide social and financial opportunities.
“The 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 material,” NUQI said.
NUQI donates 10% of its profits to these types of social workshops and lists social entrepreneurship as one of its primary missions as a company.
Rounding out the company philosophy is a focus on slow fashion by allowing the workshops to set order completion dates rather than forcing timelines. The company explained, “Because we work without seasons, we can adjust our deliveries to the workshop schedule. In this way we create a steady stream of income for the studio.”
NUQI works to educate customers about the benefits of minimalism and slow fashion by using quality materials that are hand-crafted for a long life. The designs are timeless and accentuate a capsule wardrobe. They also offer periodic buyback periods where they offer a reward in exchange. They then recycle the materials or gives the item to employees. However, they encourage customers to gift to someone else if they no longer want an item. NUQI fights overproduction waste by existing on a pre-order system where items are made on demand.
Finally, it pays attention to transport pollution by coordinating with other companies, so shipments are combined for a full cargo load. From the pre-order to the delivery in recycled packaging, NUQI slows everything down to place the workers and the environment in the driver’s seat.
Images via NUQI