Nagnata's Laura May On Why Sustainable Activewear Is Better Activewear

by: Rosie Dalton | 3 months ago | Features

Image: Laura May and Hannah Gibbs, the sisters behind NAGNATA.

NAGNATA is a directional fashion-meets-sportswear brand based in Sydney and run by sisters Laura May and Hannah Gibbs. After studying at Central Saint Martins and working with other brands, Laura May launched NAGNATA with the mission to focus on sustainably-minded design. Hannah joined her sister later on, bringing her experience in textile design and photography – she has worked with the likes of Australian textile artist Linda Jackson.

Using innovative knitting techniques, organic textiles and toxin-free dyes, these inspiring sisters balance form, function and planet friendliness. Here, founder Laura May shares their story.

Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us about Nagnata’s beginnings?
Laura May: I began NAGNATA as an upcycled textiles project working from India. Alongside this project, I was developing the NAGNATA movement technical-knitwear collection made from organic cotton. It took about two years and numerous knitwear mills to perfect these constructions. It was a new concept for fashion manufacturers and working with organic cotton had a lot of limitations, because most brands were using synthetic fibres for performance.

Image: the Cropped Rib Sweater by Nagnata, made from zero waste certified organic cotton.

Rosie: What are you inspired by?
Laura May: We wanted to produce the collection as sustainably as possible, so we chose to use organic cotton and made fully-fashioned knitwear, which is knitted to shape and then linked at the seams so there is zero yarn waste. When developing the knit constructions, we were inspired by knitted-retro swimsuits from the 1920s and onwards, which we sourced from the flea markets.

Image: the Colour Block Houndstooth Bralet by Nagnata, made from zero waste certified organic cotton.

Rosie: Sustainability is often used quite loosely. What does it mean to you?
Laura May: We agree that many fashion brands use the term 'sustainable' way too loosely to jump on a trend and try selling their clothes. Just because you use a 'natural’ fibre fabric doesn't mean it is sustainable. There are so many aspects to sustainability and there’s endless room for improvement. Making clothes – like the majority of commercial products – isn’t really sustainable, so we tend to use the term ‘sustainably minded design’ when thinking about our processes.

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