From Sustainable Fashion to Creating Scrubs: Meet NONIE’s Founder & Designer Nina Kharey
Courtesy of Nina Kharey
By: Bertha Solis
2020 was a year that changed everyone. Even for founder and designer of NONIE, Nina Kharey. The luxury womenswear brand, NONIE is currently undergoing a complete rebranding of their company. The sudden change is all thanks to 2020 as said by Nina Kharey, who was interviewed by The Garnette Report.
“Before the pandemic, I was really concerned about the waste and consumerism that is promoted in my industry, Fashion. I was trying to find ways to be more sustainable, but it involved risks and funding. When the pandemic hit, I quickly shifted to making masks and the fulfillment I felt from helping made me really look at myself and my business values,” says Kharey.
This certain moment was an eye-opener for Kharey. “It was clearer to me on how I can do what I love, and do it responsibly. Then of course when my social was hacked, which happened at an interesting time, everything lined up in strange away and allowed me to take on a rebrand of this nature.”
With this whole rebranding process, Kharey looks forward to a clear direction for her label. As well as a “solid market awareness for our disruptive, eco-friendly and sustainable ventures,” Kharey explained.
Through a recently released press release of NONIE, it is learned that NONIE will “become seasonless and fully recyclable, through an exclusive partnership with world-first, patent-protected athletic scrubs brand, Folds.”
Kharey’s newly released brand, Folds, also inspired this whole rebranding idea. “After making masks, I shifted to scrubs when I noticed the very limited options out there for people on the front lines. Folds was born and has turned into a great sustainability-driven company for extraordinary frontline workers, of which I design and innovate medical apparel. To me, the partnership came naturally, knowing what we had developed could roll into ready-to-wear pieces so beautifully was the perfect marriage of both sides of the spectrum.”
From making scrubs for frontline workers, she continues to push her sustainable fashion mission at her company, NONIE. Kharey explained, “Instead of promoting consumerism, I want to promote buying less, but better. Buying a piece that is a mainstay in your closet – one you can mix with others and is made from quality products so it will last. We will always need clothing, so I want to bring something to the table that will actually do its job – look good, last through time, and protect you, all while protecting our home.”
All of the garments that Kharey designs undergo a special process. She works with her lab to produce these pieces. It is all about the texture and weight of the fabric that is needed. Kharey explained that “The fabric is developed from recycled materials, using no water, no chemicals, and less energy than a polyester would require. The yarn is fused with silver ions and a carbon compound before being knit into fabric.”
Also, with her educational background in engineering, she takes what she has learned and uses it for fashion designing. However, Nina faces certain obstacles when it comes to the designing process. “The only obstacle I have had is learning how to cut and sew with this new material. It’s a very durable fabric – one that not only does its job but feels and looks impeccably stunning.”
In comparison to many other companies, NONIE is a fully recyclable brand to keep its ongoing mission for sustainability. Many of NONIE’s pieces are made with clean materials and anti-viral properties. Therefore, Kharey explains, “Our clothing will keep you clean from bacteria, fungi, and the coronavirus, and it’s also part of a circular economy, meaning we take it back and recycle the clothing to make fresh fabric.”
With NONIE’s whole rebranding process, their key piece: the sleeveless blush trench dress will now be sold on the official NONIE website. This piece was highly recognized by being worn by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
Despite having an engineering background, fashion was always surrounded by Kharey. “I grew up watching my dad manage a knit factory while my mom was a seamstress for a menswear company. Both of them loved their work and I got to run around in it falling in love with the process of art becoming something to wear. I kind of always had it in my heart but it wasn’t until I lost my older brother that I decided to get serious about what I truly wanted to do.”
Kharey envisions her company to continue its efforts with sustainability. She hopes to even collaborate with other brands that share the same eco-friendly views as her brand. This can help people become more aware of saving the planet.
She describes her company as one that “brings modern, minimalistic multifunctional clothing for working women that is protective and functional by the use of nanotechnology. Our vision has never wavered from being simple and clean in design – making timeless pieces, now in a full circle line, meaning everything we make can be taken back and broken down again to make more.”