Right NAU!

29 12 2009

If you haven’t heard of this company, you need to check out NAU (pronounced “now”).  Nau is a unique clothing manufacturer with a strong social conscience.  They aptly describe their products as “urban + outdoor apparel…for modern mobile life.”  I don’t know if they define their mission statement as such, but if you look on their website, they have a statement that sums it up nicely:  ”…to redesign fashion and to redefine business so that each become a powerful force for change. One small step towards unf*cking the world.”  Well said…and…they make amazing stuff!

I have always thought of NAU as a group of idealistic friends with a wide range of talents who started talking about some ideas one day over coffee or drinks and actually decided to act on them.  I imagine this conversation having to do with gear they liked and didn’t like, social issues that they cared a lot about, and how they thought that they could actually do something about it – and do it better.  Well they have!

I’ll get to the premise behind the company in a bit, but let me start by talking about how good their stuff is.  When you buy something from Nau, you’re not just buying some environmentally / socially aware karma, you’re buying some of the highest quality and best designed clothing on the market.  The stitching is impeccable, the cuts are precise and the fabrics are robust, comfortable and long lasting.  Between my wife and I and all the Nau clothing we have, this has been consistent throughout.

Nau’s style is unique as well.  “Urban + Outdoor” is right on.  The first thing that comes to mind is the colors.  Most of the collection is earth tones, or muted shades of brighter colors.  If you’re looking for something flashy, go somewhere else because that is not what Nau is.  If that sounds boring, it’s not.  The styling fits the ideology and look they are going for.  They have everything from base layers, to shirts and sweaters, to jackets, pants and accessories such as hats, scarves and bags.

On top of all that, you are buying socially aware karma after all.  Nau leaves no stone unturned when it comes to being a socially responsible company (I really encourage you to check out the section on their website about this).  This is what initially drew Amanda and me to Nau.  They take everything in to consideration from the fabrics they use, to the working conditions of the factories that produce their products, to how they ship products and more.

I had (have) a lot more to say about Nau but it was getting exhaustive and to be honest, their website is great and gives you the run-down on the company.  I mainly want to get the word out about the company and vouch for the amazing quality.  The website also has a store locator but I know in Chicagoland, you can find Nau at Uncle Dan’s.

In the nature of full disclosure, I do have to mention one downside to Nau.  It is expensive!  Fortunately, they acknowledge that and address it on the website.  I have said it once and will continue to say it forever, that you get what you pay for.  With Nau, you’re getting great quality but it comes at a price.  Luckily, they put their stuff on sale quite often.  Amanda and I have never bought anything at full price and that is on purpose.  You can sign up for email alerts or check the website every now and then and there is almost always something on sale – even items that are currently in season.  (Sorry Nau, I love you guys but if I’m going to keep credibility, I have to mention that…)

So now a brief gear review:

When Amanda and I climbed Kili, Nau went along.  For the summit attempt, I wore a base layer Nau shirt (which I can’t identify on their website now unfortunately).  It was comfortable and helped keep me warm.  I also took a pair of the Twill Chin-No pants that I wore at night around camp.  On one of those nights, one of my travel mates and I were playing with our cameras and we took the following picture.  This is me, swinging my arm in a circle holding my headlamp and a (roughly) 12 second exposure time.  Nau was having a photo contest for people to submit pictures of themselves in Nau clothes.  Well, I sent this picture in a got a free Shroud of Purrin Hoody valued at $290.00.

Nau Pic

Fun on Kili

This jacket is pretty awesome.  When you pick it up, it feels like a glorified wind-breaker, but it is so much more.  It’s lightweight, virtually windproof, water-resistant and super warm.  It is lined with something that they call “feline-soft interior fuzz” which is basically a shaggy micro-fleece so it is super soft and really warm.  I am not a big fan of large and bulky clothing or jackets.  This one combines lightweight and warmth like nothing else I own.  I can wear a sweater underneath it and be as warm as if I had a heavier coat on and be more comfortable.  Now, with some of the extreme weather we have in Chicago, this jacket won’t get me through the whole winter, but it can get me through a lot of it!

So check out Nau!  This is a great company and when you buy from them, you are not only getting great gear but you are supporting a greater cause.  I made a lot of references to their website and that is because it is exceptional too.  You can see their products but also become educated.  Way to go Nau…keep up the great work and keep on producing great products!

Nau go outside…I’ll join you once I recover from the flu!





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