At the core of everything we do at NICO is a strong respect for the people we work with, and the environment we work within. When choosing the materials we use to make our clothing, there's a few things that we have in mind.
- suitability of the materials for the garments they are being used for - it sounds obvious but it's key to ensuring the garments are useful and loved
-quality of the materials to ensure they will stand the test of time
-the environmental footprint of the materials and ensuring we are working with the most environmentally sustainable options possible.
-we will not use any animal materials in our products and all NICO products are vegan.
Right now we are working with the following materials:
PLANT DYED ORGANIC COTTON
Our Organic Cotton fabrics are GOTS certified. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well. It's a comprehensive accreditation covering things like prohibiting the use of toxic chemical inputs, regulating the treatment of waste water, enforcing laws around forced labour and of course strictly prohibiting child labour.
The fibres are knitted at a high gauge and the finished fabrics undergo a bio-wash process (although we use a natural chemical free alternative to conventional bio-wash techniques). This ensures a premium quality fabric that is resistant to pilling and shrinkage.
We work with a talented group of artisans in India on our 100% chemical free dyeing process. All ingredients and materials throughout the process are plant based. This in itself is a technical feat and our team has 16 years of research behind them to develop techniques that are kind to the environment without sacrificing quality or colourfastness.
Using plant dyed organic cotton removes the use of toxic chemicals throughout our supply chain. It also makes a crucial difference in the lives and health of the people making our clothing. A product that is kinder to the environment and to your skin.
We’ve chosen to use Lenzing Modal for so many reasons. It’s a super high quality, botanic fibre and it’s amazingly soft. We’re not even exaggerating. Truly soft. Plus, Lenzing, who produce the fibre, are one innovative company who are committed to environmental sustainability.
The raw material used to produce Lenzing Modal is beechwood trees. Lenzing is an Austrian company and they source more than half of the wood from within Austria and the rest from neighbouring countries. Beechwood propagates naturally, which means no irrigation or planting is required. Lenzing works with the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC™) to ensure the wood is sustainably sourced.
The organic matter is then broken down to turn it into Modal fibres. This is where Lenzing really shines. Their innovative process is resource efficient and closed loop - which means 95% of production materials are recovered in the factory.
Lenzing have a bunch of awards and certifications that recognise their commitment to sustainable production including the Eco-Label of the European Union (becoming the first ever fibre manufacturer to achieve this) and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certificate (this guarantees the fibres are free of harmful chemicals).
The fibres are then knitted into our fabrics and dyed. The fibres are knitted at a high gauge and the finished fabrics undergo a bio-wash process (although we use a natural chemical free alternative to conventional bio-wash techniques). This ensures a premium quality fabric that is resistant to pilling and shrinkage.
Our socks are crafted from an eco-friendly regenerated yarn, which is made up of 54% recycled cotton. With conventional garment manufacturing comes waste, but with waste comes an opportunity to innovate. Our supplier is reclaiming the off cuts left over from pattern cutting, which are usually sent to landfill or incinerated. These off cuts are then sorted into colours, shredded into fibre, blended with Polyester Stable Fibre for added strength and then spun into a high quality yarn ready to be made into new products like our super soft socks! The best bit is the whole process is dye and chemical free. For added peace of mind, the yarn has passed the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, which certifies that it has been tested for and is free from any harmful chemicals.
Not only does this process save perfectly good textiles from being wasted, but it also saves a massive amount of resources and avoids excessive and unnecessary pollution. Just one tonne (1000 KG) of recycled yarn:
Saves 4,817.6 litres of water
Saves 16.5 kg of chemical products
Avoids the emission of 233.8 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere
Avoids the dumping of 3,574.4 litres of contaminated waste water
Saves 512.5 Kw/h of energy, and
Saves a 1990.1-m2 surface area of cotton-growing land.