Though the designs are minimal, the concept behind Non, a new London-based denim brand, is thoughtful and considered. Founded by Pete Hellyer during London’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the non-gendered, non-branded, consciously made line represents a modern approach to luxury streetwear.
It’s a category that Hellyer understands well. He worked with cult retailer Oki-Ni before becoming the creative director of the luxury and streetwear e-tailer, Ssense, and later Totokaelo, the now shuttered New York boutique known for a stock list of cool labels like Acne Studios and Yohji Yamamoto.
These experiences, Hellyer said, have helped to inform commercial decisions as he embarked on establishing his own brand. With Non, however, he aims to redefine what it means to be luxury by enveloping the qualities valued by young generations of consumers into one brand.
“I had always worked for clients before which comes with certain restrictions and expectations,” Hellyer said. “Starting Non means working creatively without restrictions, exploring my own ideas, and working with real purpose.”
Non’s debut collection includes jeans in straight, relaxed and wide-leg silhouettes with sizing from 25-36. “Jeans have always been unisex to me and historically were not gendered,” Hellyer said. “Our styles work with different body shapes that are not specific to any gender.”
Alongside the jeans there are two jackets, cut to be worn fitted or oversized, and a minimalist bucket hat and tote bag.
The collection is made from an exclusive 12-ounce selvedge fabric that was developed in partnership with Isko. The fabrics are part of Isko’s R-Two line, made with 50 percent certified organic cotton and 50 percent recycled cotton that is reclaimed from the mill. Four finishes are available for all styles; raw, lightly rinsed, an eco-stonewash and raw with white contrast stitching.
As the “uniform of the world,” Hellyer said denim has the potential to alter fashion’s course for the better. “If the whole industry changed their approach we would see a really positive impact on the planet and socially,” he said.
The garments are made by Dinateks in Turkey and washed at its in-house laundry with sustainable laser and ozone machinery. An ISO 14001 certified wastewater treatment system recycles and cleans the water the factory uses.
In an effort to not contribute to the denim industry’s microplastic crisis, Non uses post-consumer recycled polyester in its threads and sources its trims from YKK, including the company’s Natulon zippers, which are made from recycled content including PET bottles.
This information and more is packaged in consumer-facing hangtags made in partnership with EON, the technology firm behind CircularID Protocol, a platform that serves as a digital system of record for products across their lifecycle. NFC tags on each garment provide wearers with provenance and care instructions and access to circularity data, like fabric composition and tips to improve end-of-life management.
To support responsible aftercare of denim, Non also offers a take-back scheme. The brand offers a 20 percent discount on a future order in exchange for old jeans or jackets that can be donated to charity for either reuse or recycling.
“I see our collection like tech products, where we iterate and make improvements as we scale or have breakthroughs in materials or a process,” Hellyer said, adding that the company is interested in collaborating with brands that share its values and spirit. “Innovation and ideas are what interest me the most,” he said.
Non is available now through its own e-commerce site, as well as at international stockists including Ssense, Hip, Incu, Beamhill and Oallery. The collection retails for $45-$205.