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In today’s Q&A, we sit down with Nick Reed, founder of the refreshingly new sustainable menswear brand Neem London.
Neem London is the new menswear brand on the block, offering men a smarter and more conscious way to shop.
The brand focuses on circularity, sustainable materials, and traceability.
We catch up with Nick to discuss his brand’s challenges and successes and how Neem contributes to sustainable innovations within the fashion landscape.
Hello! Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your brand?
I’m Nick Reed, founder of Neem London – we are a modern menswear brand focussed on low emitting and low waste yet stylish products.
We are targeting gen X, that’s 40 – 60 year olds who want a smart, versatile and comfortable product. We’re designing for the new hybrid workplace.
Why did you start your company? What inspired you?
I was increasingly appalled by the treatment of the large scale retailers towards factories in Bangladesh, India and elsewhere (I’ve spent the last 20 years on a plane visiting factories all over the world).
The pandemic heightened this, whereby retailers saw it as an opportunity to profit, cancelling orders, discounting orders, paying late then moving production and flying stock in.
It brought out the worst in people and all this was happening whilst emissions in fashion increased.
I was inspired to bring a brand to market that had sustainability hardcoded into the brand, I believe no brand can truly be low emitting without building it from day 1.
How is your brand adding to and innovating the sustainable fashion market?
We use a number of new bits of technology to facilitate our move towards low emissions products.
- We use cutting edge 3D design – To reduce the need for samples and allow us to take pre order.
- LCA analysis – To allow us to measure the emissions of the product, with as much data as we can gather.
- Pre order technology – So we can take orders to reduce waste.
- QR Codes with a track and trace technology in all our products
- We’ve set up a take back scheme of any brand to keep waste out of landfill. Plus, we’re working with the first automated colour and fibre sorter in the UK to recycle pre-loved fabrics back into clothing.
What were the main challenges and learnings you had when you started the company?
The challenges were finding people and suppliers to support you and doing almost everything yourself. I’m a 40 something with 3 kids so the challenge has also been that I’m not a standard mould “East London early 30 something with no kids”.
Additionally to find recycled fusing, thread and buttons was hard, then gathering all the data for the life cycle assessments took time.
Things have improved, we now have a steady customer base and believe there is a really big market and as we run pop ups, expand and improve the range we can target our customer with even greater focus.
In your eyes, what’s the biggest achievement or milestone of Neem London so far?
£15k in sales in June was big for us and appearing in GQ, Esquire, and the Independent is pleasing.
However, it’s simply every time we sell one thing, there is a whoop of joy – most days you give up so to have a support network that keeps us and me going is really important.
How do you ensure your company stays true to your mission as you grow?
We want to make the lowest emitting shirt in the world, I think as we grow this will actually be easier as we can really go deep on all aspects of the production.
Do you find yourself faced with eco-anxiety? If so, how do you approach this on a day-to-day basis?
Yes, I try not to read James Lovelock too much…..or Jason Hiekel – but joking aside being confident that Neem is better than buying a shirt from others due to the way in which we operate.
Do you have any advice for people looking to be more sustainable in their consumption habits and lifestyle?
Of course if you are buying new, buy Neem.
Send us your old clothing, any brand in any condition
Cut down on meat and join the veganuary tribe in January and look inside labels – I still can’t believe retailers put another 10% on their composition labels – massive red signal.
Many brands are doing the wrong thing right now, hiring heads of sustainability whilst still flying stock in….hypocrisy.
Look at what the brands are standing for and ask questions of them.
Have you tried a product from another sustainable/ethical brand that you think our audience should know about?
I rather like Finisterre and I still like buying 2nd hand.
What does the future look like for Neem London?
We’re running a pop up in November in St James’ and we have just launched a regenerative cotton shirt, now on pre order.
Wrapping Up: Neem London
We want to say a huge thank you to Nick for chatting with us about his brand Neem London. It’s refreshing to see a brand building sustainability into its hardware from day one.
If you want to discover the full collection, check out the Neem online store.
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We hope you enjoyed the interview with Nick, we’ve named Neem as one of our favorite sustainable menswear brands.