The Mindful Materialist
Brand Spotlight: NICO
Designed in Queensland | Ethically Made in India and Bangladesh
When building a sustainable wardrobe, I think it's important to start with the basics. Our underwear and socks are something we should value - we wear them everyday, wash them continuously, they're in constant contact with our skin, and they have a big impact on the environment because they are so frequently disposed of. NICO is an Australian label putting basics first when it comes to a sustainable wardrobe.
Established in 2012 by Lis Harvey, NICO is a women's underwear and basics label committed to fostering sustainable and ethical values across the business. Their designs are minimal and classic - designed for everyday comfort and function.
From the outset, the team at NICO sought out to work with manufacturers who shared their values - respect for people and the planet. They work with accredited suppliers in Tirupur in Southern India. The sewing factory is Sedex accredited, ensuring a living wage is paid and safe and fair conditions are maintained. Their production manager in India is also a signatory of their code of conduct to ensure their supply chain remains transparent and their values are upheld. They also have a zero-tolerance policy towards child labour.
NICO socks are produced in Bangladesh in the only integrated factory in the region. This means they spin their own recycled cotton yarn in their own mill - reducing transport costs and avoiding unnecessary transport emissions. The factory is also a signatory of the ACCORD on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and is certified by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accreditation Production). The factory is also compliant with BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative). You can find images from these factories on their website.
When we look at the tag on our clothes, we can usually see the country they were made in and the fibre they were made from, but an often forgotten component of textile production is the dying process. This is something that NICO has put a lot of thought into. All their fabrics are dyed with natural rather than synthetic dyes in India. This means their dyes are derived from plants and are 100% chemical free. Natural dyes are not only better for the environment in production, but also for the ongoing health of workers in the region and the environment. They're also kinder to your skin than synthetics.
NICO uses GOTS-certified organic cotton as well as recycled cotton. By using organic and recycled cotton, the brand reduces their carbon emissions, water usage, waste, as well as the amount of land needed to meet their demands. Tencel-Modal is the other fibre used across the NICO range. This fibre is made from sustainably sourced wood pulp by a company called Lenzing. Based in Austria, Lenzing works with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, and 95% of their production materials are recovered in their closed-loop factory. While Tencel does admittedly rely on logging, the fibre is created from Beechwood, which propagates naturally and doesn't require any planting or irrigation. Lenzing also source more than half their wood from Austria and neighbouring countries, which significantly lowers their carbon footprint.
INCLUSIVE PRODUCT RANGE
From socks and briefs, to loungewear and bras, NICO has got all your comfort requirements met. Their size range is inclusive of larger cup sizes, with bras up to a 16G, and their briefs are designed in a range of styles to compliment different body types and fits.
As someone who owns and loves NICO products, I would highly recommend them as some of the comfiest and softest basics around.
Shop NICO products here.