NNCY Clothing is an ethcial Melbourne-based brand which only produces two ranges per year. Here the founders Houda, Hannan and Imman share their journey with

NNCY Clothing has been an ethical project from the beginning. We’re three sisters who share the same beliefs on how the fashion industry needs to change.

We love fashion and its licence for expression, however one day, with a coffee in hand, we had a serious conversation about where some of our loved garments came from. We want to share how we have reconciled our love for fashion and the sad reality behind the global fashion industry.

Let us shed light on how we manufacture locally, source our fabrics and the challenges we face from deciding to adopt this type of business model and structure.

Our garment’s life begins with fabric sourcing

We ensure our pieces are made of fabric that retains its quality overtime. Once we have finalised our sketches of each piece within the range, our project manager starts sourcing and selecting the fabric.

It is so important to ensure our fabric selection is correct, otherwise it can completely ruin the garment. There have been times where we weren’t able to create a garment because the fabric was impossible to find or just wouldn’t work within our vision. In this scenario, we go back to the drawing board and introduce a new design/style to the collection.

This can make fabric sourcing a very lengthy process.

The decision to use, or discard a particular fabric is a much easier process when you have an expert in the industry. Whether it’s inspecting classic floral designs, signature stripes, quality silk or duchess satin- the fabric ultimately breathes the life into the garment.

Sourcing locally maintains the longevity of Australian suppliers and lets us personally select the fabric. That’s what we want. It helps us stay close to the process and makes quick choices when things don’t go as planned.

Once we’re happy with our fabric, we start manufacturing

The manufacturing process is the longest process for us. We’re a new brand and with that comes finding a balance when it comes to manufacturing.

We adore being able to manufacture in Melbourne as it’s our hometown and locally other manufactures and fabric
suppliers are benefiting.

The fashion industry is fast paced and what we’ve found is that the local manufacturing industry does not move as fast. It is important for us to stay ahead. Falling behind in certain areas, for example, the design process, could throw out our lead times and production schedules.

The process begins with a sample. This can take two to three weeks to develop. From there we review the sample, make sure it’s the same vision as what was designed and make any changes that are required. Once the sample is approved, we then break down our sizes to meet the minimum numbers required from the manufacturers.

Sample approval to final production could be between four to six weeks and this also depends on how busy the manufacturer is. If they’re busy...let the wait times begin.

Its essential for us to stay ahead so we don’t get lengthy lead times. Sometimes we’ll be thinking 12 months ahead in terms of designs just so we can submit our samples in advance.

We do enjoy the mechanics of the business as much as admiring the final pieces.

But we want to stress that adopting a local model does come with challenges that we encounter and overcome from the inception of the process to the finished garment.

The challenges don’t overpower our motivation to stay local whilst brands are attempting to keep up with fast fashion manufacturing processes, we know that locally manufacturing our collections is a risk we are taking with each collection
we release.

It’s not an easy risk to take but we’ve found it to be a point of difference and a way to contribute to revamping the fashion industry in Australia.

Manufacturing under an ethical model results in a higher price tag for consumers.

We are required to pay higher prices for fabric and employees. But we believe there are people willing to support an ethically sustainable label that does not damage or demean anyone in the process.

Trying to educate people about minimizing disposal clothing is difficult, especially since the industry is dominated by fast fashion churning out collections made by sweatshop workers.

We believe a well-crafted garment that can stand the test of time is better suited to sit in your wardrobe than five garments cheaply made.

Thinking local for global change

So in essence we have based our brand on the positive outcome we can gain from supporting local employment and contributing to the Australian fashion industry.

We believe this will have a ripple effect on the way the global industry currently operates.

Decades after sweatshops first burst on the public scene, our clothes are still made by poorer people in developing countries’ factories.

We aim to practice social responsibility by continuing to look at the world through a local lens for a global effect.

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