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   Photo Credit: No Nasties

 

If you have had a look around our website, then you are bound to have come across the No Nasties clothing brand. They are a brand that are highlighted by their modern trendy designs, that are soft, comfortable, and lightweight. Best of all, every item in their range has been independently certified Fairtrade and organic!

However, you can never truly know a brand and what they stand for until you meet the people behind the scenes. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have a Q & A with the founder and owner of No Nasties, Apurva Kothari. An intelligent and determined individual, he has his heart set on making a change and helping others in his native India. A fantastic guy; his sense of humor, compassion, and confidence immediately stand out. He was kind enough to give up his time to answer my questions… so enjoy this fascinating discovery of Apurva and No Nasties!

What were you doing before you started No Nasties?
I’m a software engineer and worked in Technology for 12 years in the USA and even a year in Sydney!
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Was there a specific moment or event that changed things for you personally – giving you that passion and determination to make a difference? What was it?

Did your upbringing have anything to do with it?

If I think back, the seed was planted in my mind when I read an article about the farmer suicides in cotton farming in India. I couldn’t believe the numbers (2 suicides every hour and going on for over 15 years!). But life didn’t take a turn overnight – it took me many years to finally leave my technology career and jump to the world of ethical fashion. It was a switch to living a more purposeful life and making a difference in the world.
My upbringing and family background is far removed from farming and cotton – I’ve been a city boy all my life. But the rural crisis in India was too large to ignore and I knew I had to do something about it when the idea had stuck around in my head & heart for year after year till I changed careers.
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Who has had the biggest positive impact on you in your journey so far?
I think the words from Mahatma Gandhi have always been a guide for me:
“Happiness is when you what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”
Did you work or volunteer with any other ethical/ organic businesses or movements prior to starting No Nasties? 
No, but I did research the space for 3-4 years before starting out.
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When you are not working what do you enjoy doing? 
I love living in Goa – the beach is always a warm & welcoming escape.
Besides my work, I’m very passionate about Ultimate Frisbee too – been playing for almost 20 years now and play for the national Indian team.
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How long ago did you start No Nasties and how has the business changed since then?
We launched No Nasties in April 2011 (and were working on it behind-the-scenes for 6 months prior). At the time of launch, we started as a designer t-shirt company along the lines of the Threadless model. Since then, we have moved to being a full fashion brand with dresses, skirts, shirts, hoodies, accessories, etc on offer and a lot more coming down the pipe!
What has NOT changed is our focus for ethical fashion and our foundation of being 100% organic and 100% fairtrade from day 1!
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You speak about the rate of suicides among Indian cotton farmers as being a contributing factor to being in business. Would you say this is the number one motivation behind No Nasties?
Yes, it’s our raison d’etre.
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Your brand video includes the music made famous by the Toy Story movies. Deliberate marketing ploy or lucky coincidence? 
Definitely lucky coincidence because I don’t know which song you are referring to even 🙂
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Who are the cotton farmers you work with and what difference is Fairtrade and GOTS having on their lives?
We purchase all our cotton from Chetna Organic – they’re a farmer owned organic fair trade cotton co-operative and do amazing work.
They started out in 2004 with around 300-400 farmers and in 2014 had scaled up to 35,000+ farmers! The impact on their lives is immense – not just financially but also socially and environmentally. Their communities are happier and their families are healthier due to the switch to organic and fairtrade cotton farming.
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Every business needs a point of difference to stand out from the crowd. How is No Nasties different from other ethical clothing brands?
We do a few things differently:
1) We’re not a typical business in that we’re not doing it for the money. It’s about the purpose first.
2) We collaborate, not compete. All our supply chain information is shared transparently and we actively & personally help other brands start/switch to ethical fashion.
3) We operate with a bottomline of happiness.
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What is the ultimate goal for No Nasties?  
Our mission is to create a consumer movement for ethical fashion by being an organic & fairtrade brand that people love!
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If you could say one thing to someone who was unsure of whether they should purchase ethical clothing, what would it be?
That every time you make a purchase, you’re casting a vote to see more of what you want in the world.
Buying organic and fairtrade means supporting farming communities globally and creating a healthier planet.
The need is clear. Your impact is immense. Your purchases matter!
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Where does the inspiration for your clothing designs come from?
Our designer, Shweta, draws inspiration from various sources – the palm trees in Goa, from her own art sketches; and from her online research as well.
(You can read more about it on our blog – there’s a lot of posts covering this as well as our design process!)
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Are you one of the many cricket fanatics in India?
Haha! I wouldn’t call myself a fanatic anymore, just a fan. But it’s true that in India, cricket is a religion (and Sachin is God!).
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The cloth bag packaging is a very nice touch. Where did this idea come from?
From the start, we have used eco-friendly packaging. Whether it’s cardboard pizza boxes or muslin cloth wraps, it’s been sustainable and 100% bio-degradable. We wanted to make the packaging as re-usable as we can, and finally found an attractive as well as affordable solution in our cloth bags!
They’re made with organic fairtrade cotton too, of course 🙂
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Finally, what exciting things can customers expect from No Nasties in the future?
Oh boy! So much coming soon!
1. We are launching our Denim Bags collection very soon and have 3 products in that – a weekender duffel bag, a fold over backpack and a market tote bag. All in lovely organic fairtrade denim.
2. Next is our kids collection – it’s a tiny one; we’re starting small (get it?) with 2 styles for boys and 2 for girls.
3. We’ve got new printed tees coming soon for men – that’s where we started the brand so thought it’d be a nice touch to re-introduce a few prints.
4. And we will launch our next collection pretty soon too – a full range of lightweight dresses, jumpsuits, shirts and tees!
All of this coming soon – hold your breath!

For me, one thing immediately stands out about Apurva. His passion for the ethical clothing movement, and his drive to see change in his homeland; which is very admirable! Living in a country (India) where so much of the worlds clothing is manufactured, he has a front row seat to both the good and bad clothing manufacturing practices. Because of this, the exploitation is closer to heart; but through No Nasties a difference is being made!

I am fortunate to have had the privilege of beginning to get to know Apurva. He is always happy to talk and share his knowledge on the ethical clothing industry, which has been of great help for our business in the initial stages. With such a passionate, genuine and friendly person leading No Nasties, you can be sure great things are going to happen with this brand! At the end of the day, Apurva is a humble down to earth guy. Therefore, I hope you are encouraged, as it shows that anyone can make a difference in this world… if you put your heart to it!

 

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