Har Mar Superstar Goes Green For Nau

Phil Smrek

While world leaders continue their hamstrung efforts to combat climate change in Copenhagen, Nau is taking matters into its own hands in New York with its SoHo pop-up shop.

With roots in sport-based outdoor performance apparel, the two-year-old brand adds fashion, mobility and sustainability to its innovative designs, which are built upon a business chassis aimed at "unfucking" the world. The garments, many made from re-used materials, are fully recyclable. Even better? Nau employs an independent watch group to monitor the labor and environments practices of its overseas factories, purchases carbon offsets for all of its shipping and gives 2% of gross sales to charities.

The temporary location at 69 Mercer St., was built with with up-cycled materials from dumpsters and other refuse found throughout the city. A full schedule of live music, art shows, and guest speakers is planned through its close December 31st. This evening (Thurs., Nov. 19) camp-glam crooner Har Mar Superstar performs. On Saturday, Nau prestents its first Grant for Change of $10,000 to the film and photography team of Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele.

At the store's recent opening, I sat in a dressing room with general manager Mark Galbraith and design director Peter Kallen to discuss the future of eco-friendly fashion. Phil Smrek: Why Nau?

Peter Kallen: One of the first ideas was to work with a group of people and to start a company that was much more responsible for every action it took in the world -- not unlike how we choose to live our personal lives. We look forward to the day when sustainability isn't even a topic.

PS: How difficult is it to maintain a comfortable profit margin and remain 100% sustainable?

Mark Galbraith: It shouldn't be either or. I think some people have the misperception that in order to function sustainably, you can't be profitable. You must give up something. Most people think of sustainability as this righteous but negative weight to bear. What we're trying to do is breakdown these misperceptions that for sustainability you're gonna spend a whole lot more money for something that's inferior. You can give back to charity, you can use great materials, and you can have labor standards you're proud of. You can have product that's beautiful and lasts a long time. I think you can have both.

PS: What's on the schedule for 2010?

PK: Stepping back a minute. To have this opportunity to be here in New York has been a dream of mine and Mark's for a long time. And the conversation that we have started to have with New York is wonderful. So perhaps we'll pop up in other cities, but all with the original intent of interaction and engagement for a better good.

For store hours and event schedule: nau.com

Photos by Dion Harvey and Eugenie Frerichs

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