NRBY Clothing was founded in 2019 by Jo Hooper. Having been at the forefront of women’s fashion for almost three decades, Jo had noticed how women’s lives had changed, with more women than ever working from home or part-time, clothes were no longer about the 9-5 or the big event. Always attracted to the Japanese concept of one-mile wear, Jo set out to create exactly that with NRBY: clothes that make the wearer look and feel good, in beautiful natural fabrics. Here Jo discusses NRBY’s approach to sustainable fashion…
What is your definition of sustainable fashion?
Fashion that will last (with a little TLC) hopefully a lifetime.
How did NRBY’s sustainability journey begin?
With a philosophy at its heart focused on natural fabrics (linen, silk, cotton and cashmere), in timeless silhouettes, made to be worn forever. This is central to NRBY’s design philosophy and everything starts from here.
We work closely with our (Sedex approved) makers to find the best fabrics and trims, focusing on environmental impact. Fashion has a bad reputation, but if we all make the right steps we can do so much better.
A good example is hangers, NRBY’s are made of recycled card, and are recyclable. We also use dead-stock fabric – in other words, fabric that is already in the supply chain, leftover, rejected possibly – and we turn it into lovely things!
We are also currently working with Crisis Charity on an up-cycling project to be revealed as part of Secondhand September.
Why is being sustainable so important to your brand?
Everyone has a responsibility to be conscious of their output and carbon footprint. We know that “stuff” doesn’t make us happy, and that when you throw something away – well, where does it go? Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Buying conscientiously and thoughtfully means choosing carefully. Buy less but buy better!
Have you had any challenges building a sustainable brand? If so, what were they and how have you overcome them?
We’ve had many! Our product is made from natural fabrics and fibres – these are more expensive, and that means the product must truly be beautiful.
We’ve also changed our labelling to recycled polyester and bamboo, in order to minimise waste and landfill. We are constantly trying to find solutions to packaging that mean our items are protected and delivered beautifully to our customers, whilst minimising waste, however of course there is still lots and lots to do!
Have you seen a shift in your customers in recent years as sustainable fashion has become more widely talked about?
Absolutely! Customers are really engaged, they want to know where our garments are made, what is good about our linen for instance (it is grown in Europe and irrigated by rainwater), and they are of course always happy to hear that you can wash 99% of our pieces!
What would be your top tip for creating a more sustainable wardrobe?
Think carefully about your lifestyle and what you might get the most wear out of – if easy dresses are good, choose those that you can wear with sandals now, and sneakers or boots later in the season . Versatility is the key to achieving maximum wear and minimum outlay. And most importantly enjoy what you wear! Fashion should make you feel good.