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Navas Sustainability and Community

Navas cares profoundly about how our products are made and our effect on the community and the environment. We believe that if you’re going to make something it should be good, beautiful, simple and a positive addition to this world. We often ask if this is the best way to do a thing and try to do better. Practical considerations often drive us to do things in a better way.

The apparel business is often profitable because it externalizes many costs (textile crop farming, dye processing, the human cost of manufacturing, high turnover of low quality garments, etc). We started Navas to make clothes to fit tall slim guys and to do it simply in a way that holds us accountable to these externalized costs. We can’t fix everything but as we grow we can exert more and more influence on our suppliers and partners to do better and we can always strive to do better ourselves.

Navas Tall Apparel Sustainability Vancouver

  • Local Production and Products

    An apparel company just starting out has to balance the desire for a broad product range with limited resources to apply to production minimums. Local production in Vancouver is better equipped to handle smaller production minimums than huge factories in Asia and this brings with it many benefits.

    It’s easier to manage quality control, textile wastage, recycling and production efficiency when you work locally.

    Sampling locally avoids endless air freight across the Pacific Ocean. We just drive down the street and inspect our samples.

    Local production avoids a months-long ocean voyage on a cargo ship burning bunker fuel for weeks in harbor while containers wait to be loaded or unloaded. Navas skips this altogether: when our local production is finished we pack it in cardboard boxes and drive it less than a kilometer to our warehouse, no ships or cranes required. We even return the cardboard boxes to be reused.

  • Local Production and People

    We are concerned about worker conditions and we have explicit agreements that our production partners in Vancouver do not subcontract our orders to other vendors without our specific approval. 

    It’s easier to manage production locally when we can support producers from close by. We can drop by at any time to check on production and help solve problems. It’s cool for us to see our products moving through the production process. We like to support the cutters, machine operators, etc that work on our products.

    North American factories have to abide by Canadian labour and pay standards. 

    Navas partners honour Canadian minimum wage protections, unemployment insurance and health care. 

    Navas partners pass regular fire safety and building structural inspections.

  • Materials / Bamboo

    Navas bamboo material is milled in Ontario to Canadian standards for textile manufacturing and waste management and also OEKO-TEX 100. Same goes for dyeing and water treatment (also done in Ontario).

    The raw bamboo fiber is grown, harvested and processed in India according to the OEKO-TEX 100 standard. 

    We choose bamboo because it’s a very comfortable material that has natural wicking and antimicrobial properties. It’s also biodegradable. 

    Bamboo the crop requires a fraction of the water required by cotton and can be harvested multiple times per year where cotton is harvested only once per year. Bamboo also does not require fertilizer or pesticides so further reduces impact on groundwater and runoff. Bamboo also fixes nitrogen so the soil isn’t depleted after each crop. Bamboo is a very practical crop.

  • Materials / Synthetics

    Navas offers few synthetic products. One is our board shorts and they have been discontinued. 

    The other Navas synthetic products are hats. We manufacture the hats in Vancouver BC to the same standard of care for people and the environment. T-shirts or sweaters see more abrasive use and frequent washing than hats - their shorter lifespan justifies them being 

    made of a more recyclable material. Hats can realistically be worn for decades and this justifies the performance benefits of synthetics. These hats are made of very tight fiber and are infrequently washed so as to minimize microplastics being leached into the water supply.

  • Materials / Water

    The only water used in our production cycle is in the dyeing of our bamboo materials after milling in Ontario. The mills we work with are OEKO-TEX 100 certified and must treat all dye waste according to strict Canadian federal and provincial guidelines prior to disposal.

  • Business Processes

    Currently 60% of our products are made from Canadian-milled bamboo products. 100% of Navas products are manufactured in Vancouver BC. 

    The remaining 40% we make with locally-sourced materials that are made in Asia. We use these for sampling and for the first generation of a product. If it goes well we commit that style to the Canadian materials which require additional steps to produce and finish. Even these Asian-made materials are OEKO-TEX 100 certified.

    We have always promoted buying better quality locally produced goods less often. Navas tries to encourage people to buy less disposable products. A better-made product that fits better is one you will want to wear more and longer. 

    We always encourage people to repair products whenever possible. If you buy great well-made products you shouldn’t need to buy so many. To that end we tend to make classic styles in versatile functional colours - products you can wear year after year.

    T-shirts and hoodies don’t last forever but can last a very long time if they are well cared for. We recommend not washing hoodies after every use. This increases the material’s life and consumes vastly less water over the life of the garment. 

    We recommend that none of our products be put in the dryer. This saves an enormous amount of electricity every year.

  • Recycling

    Bamboo products are naturally biodegradable but not the zipper and woven tags.

    All of our orders ship in cardboard envelopes and customers are reminded to recycle that packaging on our website and order notification emails.

    We have yet to find an effective replacement for the clear plastic poly bag in which individual products are stored. For now they are a necessary evil. We buy poly bags made from recycled plastic and encourage customers to recycle them where soft plastic recycling services exist. 

    We rarely include a packing list with shipped orders. We do not print any more paper than necessary. Shipped orders include the items ordered in a cardboard envelope and an address sticker and nothing else.

  • Navas People and Community

    Navas is a brand focused on high quality men’s apparel made in Canada and from Canadian materials. Fitting tall slim guys is our focus and our Instagram and website imagery have always presented as wide a range of looks as tall guys themselves. We have a pretty even split between guys with different looks. Our focus is on fitting tall guys whoever they are.

    Navas is owned and operated by a brother-sister team. We are of British and West Indian descent. Our CEO is a black cat: this whole thing was his idea. Navas is just the three of us.

    Navas believes in contributing to the overall wellness of our community by keeping as much of our business right here. Our tags, bags, shipping services, pattern making, sample making, embroidery, photography and manufacturing are all done within a few kilometers of our headquarters. 

    Navas commits its business spending to our partners in the local community. We don’t like our resources going to factories in Asia where we have no control. We don’t like our products going on months-long sea voyages for which we must pledge to plant trees or buy carbon offsets.

    We would rather not do things that require offsets.
    We would rather make simpler decisions from the start that benefit people right here.