Merino wool, recycled fabrics, organic fibers, high style, quirky inspiration and a story behind each piece of clothing’s design – no we’re not talking about the British brand beginning with an ‘R’, rather a Portland, Oregon-based clothing company called NAU.
NAU don’t make bib shorts and jerseys; they specialize in functional city gear that suits cycle commuting and any rider’s off-the-bike style – merino polos, organic cotton T-shirts and technically functional, yet style-minded, jackets and blazers.
The US$265 Vice Blazer seen here is a key piece from their fall line. Off the bike, this modern-styled jacket blends seamlessly into attire for office or evening, but its features – including zippered pockets, an ergonomic cut and treated water-shedding finish – should also make it useful to active wearers.
NAU describes their vice blazer as a ‘gateway drug’ to blazer wearing: Marty Caivano
The Vice is made from recycled polyester and organic cotton, which makes it hand washable
The Vice is made from a recycled polyester and organic cotton blend that’s DWR treated, which gives it similar properties to a softshell technical jacket. It’s easy to care for too – no dry cleaning required; just wash and hang dry, should you get caught with it on a gritty commute. NAU will even recycle it when you’re done; send it back and they’ll turn it into recycled polyester for a piece in a future NAU collection.
NAU – where did they come from?
NAU, pronounced ‘now’, offered their first collection in 2007. Their staff of 20 or so is made up of cyclists, climbers, skiers and artists, and much of their collection is as functional on the bike and in the elements as it is stylish. “We’re all big cycling fans, and prefer bike to car at all times,” Peter Kallen, design director at NAU, told BikeRadar. “Our whole collection has been designed with the bicycle in our eyesight.”
The company offer both men’s and women’s clothing collections, and each piece features a unique design inspiration. The Vice blazer mentioned above was created with the following tagline: “The foray into the blazer world, your first drug.” Both collections combine feature-packed technical pieces with garments meant solely for style, like their women’s dress line.
The vice features multiple zippered pockets; this one is out back: Marty Caivano
The Vice features multiple zippered pockets; this one is positioned out back
NAU’s barometer for a new piece is made up of two questions: does its style and function fit their staff, and can it be produced sustainably? “We design for ourselves, first,” said Kallen. “If we won’t wear it, why should you? The same goes for business: if we can’t stand behind the decisions we make, why should you? We’re stuck on an idea: to redesign fashion and to redefine business so that each can become a powerful force for change – one small step towards un-f**king the world.”