"I'm not sure what to call it, perhaps coincidence, perhaps serendipity, perhaps parallel universes, but yesterday we launched a new section on our site called Grey Matters." That was Ian Yolles of Nau commenting on our post about Patagonia's Footprint Chronicles last week.
'Coz just as Patagonia has chosen to expose their product line's delicate underbelly, so too have Nau. Although Grey Matters lacks the extra showmanship of Patagonia's maps and videos Nau's intent is the same. To be frank, open and transparent with their customers about the origins of the product they're offering for sale.
Take for example their discussion on homeworkers, (sewing machinists and knitters that work from home, not in a structured factory setting). Nau's business manifesto directs them to use production that is factory based, as they believe it's more readily assessed by independent inspectors. They recently discovered that some knitted garments in the range had, without their consent, been crafted by home workers.
Production of knitted apparel for upcoming seasons, that might've been caught up in the same bind, has been suspended. But they wanted to advise customers that some existing inventory falls outside the parameters of Nau's manufacturing code of conduct, so they can make more informed purchasing decisions. The company also uses Grey Matters to discuss the conundrums of genetically modified corn in their PLA garments, manufacturing in China and other offshore locations (they suggest that many far east production facilities now have more advanced manufacturing skills and machinery, combined with better access to materials sourcing, than the U.S.). The validity of carbon offsets for businesses is also pondered.
In other news, Nau's winter line is coming through, with typically classy lines, in the likes of the women's Shroud of Purrin trench coat or the men's Asylum technical alpine jacket, both made of recycled polyester. The latter being made from a new durable three layer rendering of the material. A technological hurdle they seem to have jumped since we interviewed the team last year. ::Nau Grey Matters.