When we last spoke to Pete Hellyer at Non, he had just started up the brand, forging it in lockdown. Whilst time has flown by since then, fashion’s sustainability drive has felt a little slower, with environmental factors never being more important to consider when buying clothing. non is one of the brands championing slow fashion – sustainably minded, and conscious designing.
Primarily working with denim, this drop sees non branch out into sportswear-inspired motifs for the third instalment of the brand’s SS22 season. Bucket hats and non’s take on a tracksuit take centre stage, but still possess the brand’s core values and tropes. We caught up with Pete to chat about how non has progressed, and the trials and tribulations that come with running a brand.
Hey! Since we last spoke, what’s changed with non?
We just launched our third collection for SS22 which is a definitive move in a certain direction aesthetically. Also really pleased to have The Union Project as a new stockist — one of my favourite independent stores.
This drop deviates from the purely-denim collections you’ve released in the past – can you take us through this new release? How did it come about?
The drop is inspired by classic sportswear which is not something you see from a typical selvedge denim brand. The coordinating ‘tracksuit’ uses the edge of the selvedge fabric as the side stripe — which is the first time that has been done. It is finished off with a six-panel ‘bucket caps’ that also leans into that sportier feel.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge of running non so far?
My background is in creative direction and this was the first time taking a production from sketch through production and shipping to stores — the boring stuff like customs can also be really difficult to navigate as a small brand.
The other is probably countering greenwashing — lots of brands noisily making bold claims whilst we’re trying to make a real difference and be heard.
And biggest achievement?
Still really proud of our stockists from launch with places like SSENSE and HIP being great supporters. I really love the new collection and creating something genuinely new with the tracksuits was great — people are like a denim tracksuit… hang on, yeah these are actually cool.
Where do you see the brand going in the next 3 years?
Aiming to build in the considered way with the right stores that share our ideals and innovating in the denim space — reducing our impact and experimenting with new materials and techniques.
Sustainability is a major concern for non- can you talk a bit about how it influences your creative practices?
On a product level it is at the forefront of everything. We’re working to eradicate all plastic from our products (currently only the labels and zipper tape are) and creating styles that will last. A pair of jeans that you will wear for 10 years is going to trump most other ‘sustainable’ products.
Lastly, who would be your ultimate person to wear non – is there someone (or some brand) you’re dying to collaborate with?
I don’t have any particular muses for the brand — love to see how differently people wear it, incorporating their own style. For collabs I would say watch this space — experimenting and new presenting ideas is key to the brand and so hopefully they’ll surprise people.
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See also: THE DISTRESSION OBSESSION