The clothing brand in the heart of Adelaide swearing off fast-fashion

Image Source: City Mag

By Faye Couros |  @CourosFaye

Down an unsuspecting stairwell at James Place, Adelaide’s newest boutique offering Nowa is shaking up the retail scene.

The name Nowa translates to light, and their seamless ethics and passion for sustainability are perhaps the gleam the fashion industry needs.

Designer duo Jorgia Dunn and Adrian Dorsey, and store owner Fahmedul Haque opened their boutique in January this year.

Everything about Nowa is cool; the store looks like an art kid’s dream, and the clothes are undoubtedly wearable.

Millennial pink adornments, splashes of sliver, and ’90s New York streetwear aesthetic provide the perfect concoction to attract keen-eyed Gen-Zers.

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Image Source: NOWA’s Instagram @nowa_thelabel

Aesthetics isn’t the only element the brand has to offer.

Nowa is transparent, eco-friendly, unisex, and offers both high and low price ranges.

Nowa is undoubtedly buzz-worthy.

Store owner Fahmedul Haque wants his customers to feel happy when they buy their clothes, and he believes their products are simple, but accessible for men and women.

“All Nowa products are very simple, and I would say freshness, that is the most important thing … like when the light of the sun comes on the grass you can feel a brightness,” Mr Fahmedul said.

Nowa is a refreshingly transparent brand and will tell you everything there is to know about their manufacturing operation in Bangladesh.

Their partner in Bangladesh has seven years of experience working with big name fashion houses, and they partnered with Nowa to create an ethical operation.

“We are taking the money back to those people who are hard working [factory workers] so that they can also be happy … they can get paid, and they can buy food and take care of their families,” Mr Fahmedul said.

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Image Source: NOWA’s Instagram @nowa_thelabel

As well as forging customer transparency, Mr Fahmedul makes sure his workers in Bangladesh are informed.

The workers know how much the clothes are selling for, how that factors into their pay, and the overall cost involvement.

Considering the rich history of labor exploitation in the fashion industry, this is a step in the right direction.

By producing environmentally-friendly clothes, Nowa is exceeding today’s zeitgeist expectations.

And swearing off “fast fashion” isn’t their only tick of approval.

“We don’t want anything with too much polyester or anything plastic,” Mr Fahmedul said.

“Our products are more decomposable and environmentally friendly. When you are wearing it you can feel the difference, and also it lasts long.”

Although some clothes are made with polyester, the brand is working on phasing it out once they find cost-effective alternatives.

Brands usually fit within narrow price ranges to fit one type of consumer, but at Nowa, some pieces of clothing are sold at two different price ranges to cater for high and low fashion price points.

To create a similar product at two price ranges, they reduce the weight of the fabric by the square metre and use alternative “eco-friendly” dyes to minimise cost.

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Image Source: NOWA’s Instagram @nowa_thelabel

“We have silk tops, and then we have linen tops, so based on the fabric quality the price is different, but the design may be the same,” Mr Fahmedul said.

There are a lot of forward-thinking ideas woven into Nowa’s DNA and their concept store’s layout is no exception.

The store isn’t just about clothes.

They sell books, South Australian art, furniture and, in the future, the team wants to sell SA wine and beer.

“We want to be unique, and a retail shop selling only clothes is boring, so we want to be more interactive,” Mr Fahmedul said.

“When people come to our shop they should feel happy, like there is something really unique, and come again and again.”

Nowa’s aim is to almost exclusively work with SA creators in order to empower each other and reach a wider audience.

To do this, they have collaborated with Salsa to showcase exhibitions in their store.

“We want to create a platform for promising artists. We can launch them because we have a manufacturing company that can give them a platform,” Mr Fahmedul said.

Nowa’s designs include tongue-in-cheek prints, like a tote with a cloud giving the finger and the slogan “blow me” printed above it, and less uncouth t-shirts with mini bouquets sprouting from the word belief.

Nowa has come at the perfect time to ride the sustainability movement and carve a place for workers and artists to thrive – plus it’s the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend wardrobe we have always dreamed of.

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