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© 2020 THE CULTURAL CURATOR

  • JACQUELINE STEIN

Nuvango: Putting the Art in Fashion.

Updated: Mar 12


Whenever I choose to write about/promote a company on my blog, I do so with certain criteria in mind:

  1. It has to practice sustainability and care about the people behind its services and/or products;

  2. It has to have a kick-ass woman (or several!) at the helm; and

  3. It has to produce something I actually like (i.e. I would wear it or use it myself).

So, when I stumbled upon Nuvango’s pop-up store on trendy Queen West Street in Toronto last December, and struck up a conversation with Dawn Laing, the company's Director of Communications & Marketing (and full-time juggler of all the things), I knew I would be putting fingers to keyboard sooner (rather than later).

Nuvango may headquarter itself out of Toronto, but make no mistake about it. This is a global fashion and lifestyle brand, through and through. Nuvango collaborates with a roster of exceptional international artists, whose unique designs end up front and centre on the apparel that the company creates through an intelligently designed process.

I recently had the privilege of being invited for a private studio and factory tour. Housed in a two-story walk-up in The Junction neighbourhood of Toronto, Nuvango’s office is a hub for both its creative and production teams, and you can feel it all around you. Artists’ work hangs on the walls, sharing square footage with the cutting boards and machinery that contributes to the production of the clothing. Dawn tells me that Nuvango is committed to sustainability, only sending pieces to production after they’ve been ordered, saving time, materials, and production costs.

Each piece is mindfully crafted, and you can see (and feel) it in the quality of the finished product. There’s no room for mass-produced manufacturing here.

What I love most about Nuvango is that it doesn’t shy away from being different. Perhaps its greatest asset is, in fact, its eclecticism. And whether you want a pop of colour, or your fashion sensibilities lead you more in the direction of black, white, and grey, you’ll find something that fits your style. I, for one, fell in love with the designs of artist Nanami Cowdroy, when I first laid eyes on ‘The Curious Embrace Bodysuit’ in December. It’s black. It’s white. It’s all things cool. And how great would it look tucked into a pair of wide-leg jeans with a cropped motorcycle jacket to finish off the outfit?

But – if you’re more of a white t-shirt and skinny jeans kind of woman – the Scuba Jacket (from the same line) might hit the right style note with you. In fact, the Scuba Jackets from any of the lines is a no-fail fashion statement. I will happily admit that I’m coveting them all.

Clearly not one to walk the path of the mainstream (she left a secure job with the federal government and re-mortgaged her home with business and life partner, and Nuvango’s Co-Founder, Drew Downs), Dawn is now also setting her sights on new green pastures with the group's next venture: Notion. What impresses me about Notion is that it turns “regular” people like you and me into creators. If you’ve ever wanted to design your own custom apparel or accessories, Notion takes the guess (and manufacturing) work out of it.

Whether you’re building your brand, or you just want a couple of cool throw pillows for your pad, Notion facilitates you becoming the artist behind your finished product. The “Girl Boss” pillow with my faded face on it is currently in production, and I’ll eagerly be tracking its delivery date.

And, if you constantly find yourself stumped at the game of gift giving, it’s a thoughtful and customized way of showing you care (and that you have great taste).

I’m delighted that Nuvango and Notion (and Dawn) are now on my radar. It sits well with me when I know I’m supporting brands that care about the same things I do (and that I imagine most – if not all – of my readers do, as well).

Whoever said you have to sacrifice substance for style? Nuvango and Notion are a next generation duo of ethically made apparel and accessories that you’ll want to show off.

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