Pictures courtesy of Non. DESIGN BY Danielle Campbell.

Pete Hellyer launched Non with the ambition of constructing change within the denim house. This is what it’s good to know concerning the new London-based line.

Like many people over the previous 12 months, Pete Hellyer — founding father of Non, a denim-centric label based mostly in London — has been trying to find that means. With 15 years of expertise within the e-commerce and digital realms of the style business, he discovered his client-based work was changing into extra sporadic because the pandemic’s maintain intensified. “I had a variety of free time, and there was a variety of uncertainty,” says Hellyer, who had labored as artistic director for companies together with Ssense and The Outnet earlier than going freelance.

To convey somewhat cheer into his life, Hellyer — who, once more like many people, discovered himself primarily carrying loungewear all through lockdown — determine to deal with himself to a pair of denims. “I dwell in denim,” he notes of his typical apparel. “I’m a kind of individuals with a uniform [of] a white tee and denims.”

Discovering a pair with satisfying fashion, sustainability and moral manufacturing credentials proved troublesome for Hellyer, however the course of sparked an thought. “I believed, I’ve acquired a variety of time on my arms — I’ll make some.” Initially predicting that he may produce a small run of denims that have been each ethically made and environmentally pleasant, the extra Hellyer researched and investigated supplies and manufacturing, the extra he realized he’d have to reinforce his scope to show his thought right into a actuality. “Making 100 pairs wasn’t potential” with the minimums that exist within the textile business, he says. And so, Non was born.

Pictures courtesy of Ssense

“I had no intention to launch a style model, and I don’t determine as a designer,” Hellyer notes, describing the origins of his line as a “completely satisfied accident.” The title speaks to Non’s lack of emblem and branded parts, in addition to the truth that the items are non-gendered and its manufacturing endeavours to be non-wasteful. And unofficially, it’s an acronym for the thought of “Now or by no means” — a prescient provocation given the perpetually tumultuous instances we dwell in.

“What I’ve actually loved is that it’s given me a way of objective,” says Hellyer of the way it’s felt to dive into this new endeavour that has such a well timed mandate. “It’s a mission I actually purchase into and consider in, which I haven’t possibly at all times had in my work. Within the style business, there’s not at all times objective behind every part that we do.”

Regardless of its admirable ambitions, Hellyer is hesitant to explain Non as “sustainable,” as an alternative bestowing it with the ethos of “Aware by Design.” The label’s vary of selvedge denim items, which embody a wide range of jean types, jackets and equipment, are made in Turkey by Isko, a mill that pays staff a dwelling wage and is a bluesign® SYSTEM companion (that means it adheres to strict and protected manufacturing protocols which have an environmentally-sound focus).

non denim
Pictures courtesy of Non

“I wished to push each aspect so far as we may,” Hellyer notes of the model’s use of vegan natural and recycled supplies, in addition to its unisex design philosophy. Non additionally affords a take-back program for its wares, that means prospects can ship in outdated gadgets, that are donated or recycled, and obtain a reduction their subsequent order.

Moreover, Hellyer strives to provide Non’s clothes an innate versatility (i.e. you possibly can put on them both fitted or outsized) that lends to longevity. “When you have a jacket that you would be able to put on a number of methods, it’s like having 4 jackets,” he says of how he envisions design practices enabling prospects to undertake higher consumption habits going ahead. “And it’s necessary that [these] are gadgets that don’t age.”

Whereas Non’s types might need an aesthetically timeless high quality, additionally they possess a decidedly trendy facet: The inclusion of a scannable NFC tag that permits customers to glean garment care directions and details about the piece’s provenance. This intelligent little bit of tech, created by Non companion Eon, additionally affords future recyclers a breakdown of knowledge to “enhance end-of-life administration” of the merchandise, in response to the model’s web site.

“I’ve at all times wrestled with working in style to some extent,” Hellyer says about why he’s taken such measures together with his fledgling label. “I’m an enormous advocate of private fashion and self-expression and individuality; however inherently, being a sustainable model within the style business is an issue as a result of the philosophy of the business is the issue. The very definition of it’s based mostly on redundancy — the truth that one thing is extraordinarily wanted after which not desired six months later.”

non denim
Pictures courtesy of Ssense

In grappling with the complexities of need, want and waste, Hellyer has opted to take an strategy with Non that centres round transparency as an alternative of preaching to or inundating prospects with pie charts and infrequently mystifying certifications. “I believe that’s why greenwashing is unfortunately so efficient,” he says about how insider and intellectualized a lot of the dialogue round “sustainable style” has turn into. Hellyer describes the data offered on Non’s web site as “warts and all,” indicating that there’s nonetheless extra he desires to enhance on inside its manufacturing framework. And it displays the paradoxical nature of sustainability within the style world.

Hellyer highlights how the present panorama leaves little margin for enchancment as so many points of it are handled as binary points, and that the acknowledgement of who will get to be a “acutely aware client” can be desperately missing. “You could have individuals who have cash to play gown up and might afford to put on ethically-made merchandise,” he says. “[But] it’s arduous to disclaim somebody who doesn’t have the disposable earnings the identical form of pleasure or self-expression as a result of they’ll solely afford garments which might be sadly made much less ethically.”

For his half, Hellyer hopes that the strides he and different like-minded manufacturers are making will affect and encourage extra mass companies, that means that in the end, each client could make higher calls on the subject of clothes and accent purchases. “It’s thrilling that issues are transferring faster in sure instructions,” he says of the gaining groundswell of biomaterial analysis, thought of manufacturing practices and mounting circularity within the fashion house. But as he so rightly continues, inclusivity have to be a part of the equation to really make these gestures significant.

“If we will be a part of that dialog and present processes and supplies that assist make a change in larger manufacturers and wider components of the business, that’s going to have a larger influence than if I make a thousand pairs of denims actually ethically and sustainably,” he notes. “That’s not going to vary the world.”

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