Sustainability is at the core of our agenda, meaning we love supporting brands that have similar values. We know that it is a transition and learning process. We also know that every effort counts. Our sustainable brands are committed to being part of the change that the fashion industry needs by making sustainable practices the new normal. 35% of our brands are made-to-order and have committed to minimizing waste by working only with demand-led inventories.
We sat down with one of our most responsible and transparent Cult Eco brands, niLuu, to discuss all things sustainability. niLuu is a PETA-Approved vegan silk and cruelty-free loungewear brand that offers premium quality vegan silk kimonos, sleep masks, face masks, and pillowcases that combine the iconic elegance of traditional silk with a socially and environmentally ethical production process. The result is an unparalleled design that breathes like cotton, drapes beautifully like silk, and reflects the cultural tradition of luxury textiles in Turkey.
niLuu is the culmination of founder Nilüfer Bracco’s journey to a more sustainable life. They are here to prove that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand. As a 1% For The Planet member, the brand has pledged to donate 1% of its annual revenue toward protecting Mother Nature.
What led you to become PETA-approved? What’s the story behind that?
Animal cruelty is much more prevalent than we think or know. At niLuu, we feel we have an important story to tell about the unnecessary cruelty inflicted on silkworms to produce traditional silk. Thousands of these creatures are boiled or gassed alive to produce a single piece of silk clothing. It made sense to partner with PETA to raise awareness of this. The good news is that our vegan silk alternative is actually superior in most aspects to the best commercially available silk. It's a win-win: you can get something beautiful that you love while feeling good about it.
What does sustainability mean to you and how do you practice it in your everyday life?
I like to say that sustainability is a journey and not a destination. By that, I mean that it's an effort of continuous improvement. The world is far from being sustainable; it is unrealistic to expect that you can switch from normal life to a perfectly sustainable one. It's about learning, being informed, and experimenting so that you improve your sustainability each year.
We have learned a great amount since we started this journey just a few years back. Our biggest investment to date has been to equip our home with solar panels producing practically 100% of our electricity needs. We recently ordered our first electric car because, although electric cars depend on electricity that may be produced in oil, gas, or charcoal plants, it is estimated that the footprint of an electric car is 60% of that of an equivalent gas car. This is a great example of where there is no perfection in sustainability. One final little example I like to share is that we installed a high-quality water filter and purchased a sparkling water maker. The result of this very small change was to eliminate thousands of single-use plastic bottles per year.
One of the reasons we fell in love with your brand is that you’re very selective in your supply chain. Why is Japan the most sustainable place for you to source your fibers?
Actually, and surprisingly, Turkey is ranked as the country with the highest awareness of the UN 2030 sustainability goals. While our fibers come from Japan, our textiles, as well as our products, are made in Turkey. Our fabric supplier has been recognized as the most sustainable business across all sectors several times in the last few years. They are a champion of sustainability and have been the first to have achieved vegan certification for their entire production. The Bemberg® cupro fibers are purchased in Japan because this is the only supplier that can make it, sustainably.
Have you visited the factories where your production takes place and would you say you have formed a connection with your production community?
We would not have started niLuu without the full support of Ipeker, our Turkish supplier. Their sustainability vision, commitment, and achievements have been an inspiration from day 1, We work very closely with them and with our Turkish atelier where our products are put together. But aside from environmental sustainability, one thing that motivates me is that both companies have a strong commitment to fair employment practices and therefore are champions of social sustainability. An equally important aspect of it. The fact that both provide opportunities for financial independence for women is something that is very dear to me.
From the Niluu selection on Cult Mia, what piece is your favorite and why would you recommend it to our community?
I think the Monroe Kimono robe remains my favorite.