– stripping surfing back down to its most elemental form


Portland, Oregon is a city surrounded by big nature and the greenest moss you’ve ever seen growing on the sidewalk outside your front door. Portland surfers drive quite a ways to reach the rugged Oregon coast to be sometimes rewarded with amazing long period swells wrapping into bays lined with old growth forests and driftwood art. Out of this rainy hub of the creative class comes a new movement in outdoor clothing; a company whose ideals are perhaps reflective of the future of successful and sustainable businesses.

Nau ClothingNAU will be launching their new outdoor apparel line any day now. For the past several months they have spread their ideals on the web via the Thought Kitchen — a blog authored by several NAU staff covering everything from a day at the beach to current issues in environmental politics.

In the future many companies will try and follow NAU’s business model. With multiple bottom lines including profit, social responsibility and the environment, NAU’s commitment to the consumer is wholehearted and their business ethics clear.

Nau ClothingOften in the outdoor or active apparel industry fashion and function clash in blasts of colors, strange seams and gaudy styles. NAU’s design philosophy combines beauty, performance and sustainability. Their aesthetic principles work towards a design that will not be passé after the first season on the mountain. The colors are subtle and the details like buttons and seams reminiscent of minimalist design.

One of the reasons we really admire NAU is their commitment to socially responsible labor practices. They work closely with their partners to agree on environmental policies and to ensure fair labor practices. Making sure that their labor polices are met is done by an outside agency called Verité.

“The mission of Verité is to ensure that people worldwide work under safe, fair and legal working conditions. If Verité auditors identify human rights, environmental, or health and safety violations in the workplace, we will together develop concrete steps to correct them through a combination of trainings for management and workers, education programs and remediation programs.

Nau’s engagement with Verité includes risk assessments and management action planning sessions with the factories. The risk assessments are based on Nau Clothingcomprehensive factory evaluation methodology and include worker interviews supplemented with information gathered from management, documentation review and an environment, health and safety walk-through. The risk assessment is followed up with management action planning sessions with the factories’ personnel to develop systems, solutions and time-based next steps to ensure continual improvement.”

Check out NAU online for more information about their new product line.

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2 Responses »

  1. Hello, I recently moved from Burlington, VT to Portland, OR. Portland is a great place to live, with generally good values and thinking and action. I’m impressed with Nau so far, read the story in Outside magazine. Email me if you’d like a PDF copy.
    Anyhow, nice to read your site, I am Mike LaVecchia’s brother and a writer myself, so there’s a good connection there. I wish you luck with WordPress and the site in general. If you’re ever in need of some story work, hit me up.

    Looking Forward,


  2. Just wanted to let you know I recently received the Nau newsletter and they are open for business. Now you can see all the great products in their spring line. Lots of great stuff and a company with great values. Very exciting. Happy shopping!