Nau is known for their sleek outdoor and active apparel, but this spring the Portland-based line is bringing even more versatility to their collection. This spring, Nau is introducing more classic cuts with a professional touch, made from sport-ready fabrics. In other words, these are clothes designed with your bike commute in mind.
Nau focuses on creating unique fabrics from sustainable materials, including recycled polyester and organic cotton. They've continued to create new blends, introducing several new fabrics for spring 2014. One example is the Atelier fabric, which is water-proof and wind-proof, yet also soft to the touch and isn't shiny. "It hits the sweet spot between aesthetics and performance," says Mark Galbraith, one of Nau's founders. The fabric makes its debut in blazers for men and women.
Another versatile outerwear garment is the Poncho Via, which maximizes the utilitarian aspect of the trendy cape silhouette. The generously draped sleeves and back will keep you dry in bad weather, and can also be pulled over a shoulder bag or backpack.
The Motil pant has been a top seller for Nau, featuring a quick-dry fabric and hidden reflective detailing at the ankle--so you can cuff your pant for a safer night ride but hide the shiny strip at work. This spring, Nau will introduce the Motil pant cut for women, in addition to shorts and skirts.
Galbraith says the durability of the garments is a major part of Nau's sustainability goals. However, like any company striving to create a sustainably-oriented product, there are trade-offs. "Often the challenge is that our criteria includes mutually exclusive properties," he says. "Soft may not as durable."
Trade-offs are also part of why Nau, a Portland-based company, has chosen to manufacture many of its garments in Asia. Part of this decision is because Asia is already home to some of the most technologically advanced garment and textile makers, and it would be difficult for the company to re-create this kind of infrastructure in the U.S. Nau works with contractors to ensure that their clothes are made without labor rights violations or safety violations. (Read more about Nau's manufacturing practices here.) Galbraith says working this way keeps the cost of the final product within reach.
Nau strives to make eco-conscious shopping stylish and approachable. Galbraith says, "If you're going to make any impact, it has to be accessible."
The spring 2014 collection will be available online and in stores in late February of 2014.