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Collaboration, not competition: The No Nasties way

What do we do at No Nasties to grow the organic movement? We collaborate, NOT compete. Because we believe the organic movement in clothing is kinda something like a symphony....

You’d know all too well that, in India, farmer distress is a problem. A BIG one. Factory workers subjected to awful conditions is a problem. Lack of awareness about environmental issues is a problem. They’re all NASTY and we want to move away from them. For that, we chose to offer a sustainable, conscious solution in the form of our organic clothing. So we could make positive differences. We’re deeply passionate about our cause, but y’know what? We can’t do it alone. We don’t want to either!

Sustainability in fashion as well as other spheres has to be a consumer-led movement. And higher demand for organic cotton has to come from mindful consumers such as yourselves - we know YOU are because you’re here ;) So, what do we do at No Nasties to grow the organic movement? We collaborate, NOT compete. Because we believe the organic movement in clothing is kinda something like a symphony. You can hum and strum all you want, but it’s only an orchestra that’ll make it come alive.

Since starting out in 2011, we’ve crossed paths with so many like-minded people who really care and want to act on it too! And we’ve ended up partnering with over 50 organisations in so many different ways. How? Let’s dig in.

Sharing our “secret sauce”

We started early. In 2011, No Nasties became India’s first Fairtrade, organic clothing brand. The flip side to this badge was that there was a real dearth of ethical fashion brands in the country. And we weren’t cool with that. So No Nasties decided to mentor more aspiring brand owners. We’ve since consulted over 100 dozens of upcoming brands, shared our take on market opportunities with them and spoken openly of our struggles and challenges. So that they have it better.

Besides making our supply chain completely transparent (organic cotton bought from farmer cooperative Chetna Organic and clothing made at Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills’ Fairtrade certified factory in Kolkata - simple!), we’ve proactively helped connect organic brands with these supply chain partners. For instance, check out the good folks at Delhi-based Stretchery, who make some awesome organic yoga clothing. One for all, all for one? That’s our jam. You see, we’re not looking for a bigger piece of the piece, we’re actually giving away the pie recipe!

On the other hand, for several overseas brands, we even take up the entire production process for them! From design and sourcing, right down to even the eco-friendly packaging. We use our experience with the factory and technical chops to bring their vision of organic clothing to life. It’s SUCH a good feeling to contribute this way and grow the tribe. One such brand partner is Toddy Inc. from Maldives. We work with them closely to create a range of clothing that best represents their idea of sustainability and home. We know that owners Riyaz and Mohammed genuinely care about the environment and it’s a real pleasure collaborating with them. Island-inspired printed tees, women’s dresses, kids clothing - we made an entire beautiful range. Pristine and happy, just like the country.

Sustainable Fashion Brands Mission Coalition

United we stand, yeah? There’s nothing we like more than uniting and amplifying voices of fashion brands that are truly ethical at heart. They’ve got infectious energy and resolve, which is why it’s so much fun working together with them.

To that end, No Nasties helped kickstart the global movement Fashion Revolution (famous for propagating the ‘Who Made My Clothes’ campaign) in India, bringing lots of like-minded people onto a single platform. We were Country Coordinators for its first year and have been on the team ever since! We work with Fairtrade India as well to bring awareness about farmer issues to schoolchildren and educate them on the need for fair trade. And back home in Goa - where there’s such closeness to the cause anyway - we organise talks about fixing the plight of fashion and hold movie screenings of landmark documentaries like True Cost, River Blue and Nero’s Guests.

Remember Chetna Organic? No Nasties also supports a global coalition called the Chetna Coalition or ‘ChetCo’ whose mission is to provide support and demand stability to Chetna’s farmers. The coalition works together on assuring future demand as well implementing social welfare projects in Chetna Organic’s communities. We give it all we got. Because we really care.

Teeing off, No Nasties style

Now we can’t forget where it all began, can we? No Nasties started off as a brand making organic cotton t-shirts (we still do! Just that there’s so much more now, too). And you know what they say about first love. We LOVE doing custom-printed organic tees for all kinds of folks - bands, social enterprises, private companies, homegrown brands. To name a few: Shaa’ir & Func, Indus Creed, Scribe, UnLtd India, Atma, Sangam, WAGGGS, Kayako, Cube Wealth, Chop Shop.… yep, it’s a LONG list! 

They care enough for their tees to be organic, so we work extra hard to create something they’ll wear proudly. Just like we did for the Goan Gin company Stranger & Sons. They distil in small batches using botanicals sourced from local spice farms. YUM. (Consider this a personal recommendation for your next Sunday G&T sesh.) For Stranger & Son’s brand launch, we custom-made a range of tees showcasing their brand identity in all its quirky glory. We even connected them to our zero-plastic packaging partner - Corugami - to design a unique box for their bottles. That’s teamwork between homegrown brands at its best!

We’re always up for a good collab, as long as the collaborators care like we do. And things don’t always work out! We’ve had to refuse our largest EVER custom order, simply because the company (read: NASTY agro-chemicals) wasn’t quite (read: not at all!) on the same page as us about farmer welfare. ZERO regrets, of course. Ultimately, all our choices go back to where we started and why we’re really doing this.  No positive impact = no go. Care for the planet and everyone on it = No Nasties.

It’s this care that spins the wheels and drives collaborative effort. At the end of the day, we’re still a small brand with a small team - we can’t rally a consumer movement just by ourselves. This is why we’d acknowledged a long time back that we’re in it together and decided that we’ll drive this change together too. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats! And y’know, we kinda feel it coming. :)

Now can you feel it coming? :)


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