design meets social responsibility, nau

Nau  (“welcome” in the language of the Maori of New Zealand) is a fashion forward, eco friendly apparel company with a big heart and a compelling story.  Founded in 2005 by Eric Reynolds, Nau’s vision to “do well by doing good” brought us technical outdoor clothing and sportswear with enduring design reminiscent of Armani, Jil Sander, Prada and social responsibility demonstrated by its commitment to using fabrics made from recycled materials, 100% organic cotton, 100% wool, and biopolymer textiles made from PLA, a synthetic fiber made from corn.

To cut to the chase, Nau opened its online store and bricks and mortar locations in Chicago, Portland, Boulder, Seattle and a few other cites.  Within a season or so their doors suddenly closed with this explanation on their site:

“In the current highly risk-averse capital market, we simply could not raise the necessary funds to continue to move forward. We believe this is not so much a reflection of the viability of our business, but the result of an unfortunate confluence of events. Just as we could not have predicted the sudden groundswell of environmental consciousness that blossomed at the time we launched our business, we did not foresee the current crisis in the capital markets. At this time, investors are loath to invest in anything; especially, it appears, a company like Nau that has the audacity to challenge conventional paradigms of what a business should be.”

And so it seemed that Nau was gone forever, much to the chagrin of loyal customers, who like me dragged friends to see how a business committed to great design and social responsibility can succeed!

So, with some amazement and great joy, we were thrilled to get an email blast a few months ago that a re-shaped Nau was returning.  Their new investment and distribution partner, Horny Toad and the persistence of devoted customers have brought Nau back to life  … consumers and like-minded partners can make a difference!

The retail stores are sadly gone, but Nau apparel will be available shortly at selected retailers and through their online store at ….keep checking the site for the latest. 


3 comments to design meets social responsibility, nau

  • Jim,

    Thanks for your incredibly supportive commentary. We’ve been working our you know what’s off to put the pieces back together again. We’re getting incredibly close. In fact, the public launch of our new website and Fall 08 line is targeted for Tuesday, October 21. We hope you’ll enjoy the fruits of our labor. Cheers.


  • Chas Hermann

    Like many great companies in there early stage development – NAU was simply ahead of its time. While the products are fashion forward yet simple, the stores a creation of “sense of place” (sadly missed), the most impressive brand element is the NAU team members. NAU gets it…it’s about a great culture delivering a great experience!! Glad they’re back.

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