Oh hi! I am Nat (yes, that is me right there!)
My story in the fashion industry started when I was 16, as I left my hometown in Brazil to work as a model in Asia. My mother thought it was really too early for me to go but I had always known I wanted explore the world (and in my 16 year old head that was totally ok to move across the world not speaking any other language but my own and without any money. I mean...adventures, right?).
I later had the opportunity to move to London for my studies and while doing so, I worked for a number of different fashion houses. In 2015, I graduated and later left my job at the time as I wanted to create something that embodied my passions: nature, empowerment and health and so GNGR bees was born as a clothing line. A year into the development process, I realised the brand was missing the ingredient that set my soul on fire - while the clothes represented empowerment and health to some, I wanted empowerment to all, not only to the awesome women that wore it.
Figuring out what this meant for the brand and how to embody this within GNGR Bees took some time. It was essential to analyse and reassess every step of the supply chain and to understand the origin and journey of each resource, process and participant that contributes to our products and the impact each of these individually and together have on the environment. Believing business should be about more than the end product, GNGR bees as a brand was born: creating fashion with purpose for a much better world.
Compared to the 22 billion plastic bottles that end up in landfill every year, we are only little fish. But we are proud to have reclaimed as many bottles and other materials as we did because every piece of waste that does not pollute our environment is a big win.
So what do we do exactly?
Activewear made out of plastic bottles isn’t headline news. We have seen it before, haven’t we? The magic isn’t in the clothing itself, but the story it tells the world.
GNGR is a brand that thinks beyond product and makes everything out of reclaimed materials, including zero waste reusable packaging to support small community enterprises. We are an activewear brand based on personal, environmental and cultural empowerment, that starts the process of creation backwards. We look at waste and then work with social enterprises and communities to up cycle the materials rescued into forever products.
Whilst plastic bottles are the main material we use for our activewear, GNGR bees also works with reclaimed cement sacks, dead stock textile and tea sacks for our reusable packaging.
GNGR bees as a brand is about finding solutions to existing problems, basing our efforts on slow fashion that isn’t bound by seasons, supported by conscious development, transparency and honesty whilst still creating activewear that is versatile, beautiful and full of personality.
Everything in our supply chain has a story. After choosing to ban plastic out of it, we creatively decided to use up cycled materials to create our packaging.
Our postage bags that were rescued and up cycled cement sacks from Rwanda tell the tale of a community of people that sustainably hand make goods to support their families and the community. They work together with pride and respect for the work they produce, knowing they are being taken care by people that see them as family.
Our partner in Africa, Azizi life, aims to participate in local initiatives for the development of Rwandan communities, working towards physical and spiritual wholeness for all.
As well as the cement sacks, we also use up cycled tea bags. Stitched and hand painted by a community in Sri Lanka that supports and employs special needs adults, Booteek. The tea sacks are used to further protect the clothing when they are shippedfrom us to you and can be re-used in a range of different ways!
By rescuing these materials and up cycling our packaging this way, we are able to create a zero waste packaging that can be reused and that empowers communities & a clean planet.