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Lis From Nico On How Fair, Sustainable Production Supply Chains Can Have Positive Environmental And Human Impacts

by: Rosie Dalton | 4 months ago | Features

Image: Lis, Nico's founder and designer, with Shivaraj, who heads up the natural dyeing studio Nico use in India. He also did a lot of the tie-dye work that features in the winter range.



We wear lingerie directly next to our skin, so it’s pretty important to us that it’s free from harmful chemicals. Enter Brisbane-based label Nico. All of Nico’s beautiful underwear, loungewear, and daywear is fairly-made, from sustainable fabrics, including Lenzing Modal, and plant-dyed certified organic cotton, which, on top of having minimised environmental impact, allows us to tell everyone who will listen that, for example, the lilac hue of our t-shirt is derived from Tacoma flowers (and then show them the picture of said Tacoma flowers, and then launch into a detailed explanation of the importance of sustainability in fashion – yep, we’re annoying at dinner parties!).

Nico has just launched their new collection, and one of their first forays into casual wear, which is pretty exciting for us, because it means we get to wear the label’s fair, sustainable, and super soft pieces all the time. Also: tie-dye.

Here, our fashion editor, Rosie Dalton, catches up with Nico’s founder, Lis Harvey, who, through running an independent fair, sustainable fashion label, is an expert in the space. Onwards!



Rosie: Can you tell us a bit about the new Nico collection that’s launching on Well Made Clothes?
Lis: The launch of this range really marks an expansion for us as a brand as we take our skills in making comfy undies further into leisurewear. The new range features some of your favourite intimates styles alongside a capsule of outerwear designed for everyday comfort. The entire range is made from plant dyed organic cotton and we collaborated with our natural dyeing team in India to produce some really beautifully tie dyed pieces.

The campaign is fronted by the amazing Scarlett Stevens and shot in the bushland at the back of my house.

Rosie: It is World Environment Day this week. What does this mean to you and to the brand?
Lis: As a brand we have to make heaps of decisions all the time - materials choices, manufacturing techniques, which suppliers to partner with. There’s a lot of factors to consider but for us, the environmental impact of each choice is front and centre in our decision making process. It’s really important to have these days to remind the world to think about the environment, but equally important that we all integrate this thinking into our everyday activities.

Rosie: A key focus of World Environment Day this year is celebrating biodiversity. Can you explain what this means in a fashion context, and how certain sustainable fabrics actually help to promote soil biodiversity?
Lis: Biodiversity refers to the number of species of plants, animals and microorganisms and plays a key role in the ability of ecosystems to survive and thrive. It’s easy to forget but we are all linked and reliant on each other! Soil that shows strong biodiversity is known to produce stronger crops that are more resistant to pests and less reliant on pesticides. However the rampant use of pesticides in modern farming have created a nasty cycle where farms become dependant on these chemicals to produce crops.

The use of more sustainably focussed fibres like organic cotton removes the use of chemicals in the farming process and promotes a healthier, more biodiverse soil.

Rosie: What materials do you use for your Nico collections and why?
Lis: We are big fans of using GOTS certified organic cotton that has been naturally dyed using plants. The GOTS certification means the fibres are entirely traceable and produced without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Once the fibres have been knitted into our fabrics, they are handed to our natural dyeing team who are completely committed to a chemical free dyeing process and produce the most beautiful colours using only plant based materials. To be able to deliver a garment to our customers that is completely chemical free - especially garments that are worn so close to our skin - is something we’re really proud of.

Rosie: How far have we come in terms of environmental awareness over recent years?
Lis: It’s encouraging to see that awareness of environmental issues is growing in the consciousness of consumers and we are so lucky to have so many amazing customers who really appreciate our processes. I think so many people have broken their addiction to fast fashion and are really using their purchasing power for good.

Rosie: And how far do we still have to go?
Lis: We’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go and the threat of climate change is looming. I think it’s important that we keep the conversation going and part of that is strong leadership.  I really hope we can make sure the environment is front of mind at the next election day. 

Check out Nico's new fair, plant-dyed certified organic cotton collection here.

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