Interview with Alexandra and Lindsay Lorusso, Founders of Nudnik

When noting that textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined the fashion choices we make for ourselves and our children matter. Lucky for us, green entrepreneurs like twin sisters Lindsay and Alex Lorusso have come up with ‘Future-Proof’ kidswear made from pre-consumer textile waste that would otherwise pollute the planet. Motivated by the amount of textile waste they saw while working in the waste-management industry the sisters founded Nudnik a company which creates stylish products made entirely from waste. Here is my interview with Alexandra and Lindsay at Nudnik.

What made you decide to start your business? Where did you get the idea?

Our father started, and still owns and operates a Waste Management company here in Toronto – so we suppose the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree! Looking at waste differently is something we inherited, but it was working for our fathers company that really prepared us for battle with the second largest global polluter: fashion!

Something unique about the company is that it was created by twins, how is it like working with your sister? 

It’s amazing! We feel like we’ve been coming up with business ideas for as long as we can remember. But like everything, it comes with its own set of unique challenges. Boundaries are tough. We’re always towing that line between personal and business – which can get a little convoluted – but we figure as twins, if we could share a womb, we can share a business!

Twin co-founders Alexandra and Lindsay Lorusso grew up in the waste management industry – their father co-owns one of Canada’s largest privately-owned companies, Wasteco – and it’s working for him where they began to understand the impact we have on our planet as a result of our “throw-away” culture.

How has working in waste-management for over 20 years factored into how you run your business? 

It gave us a true understanding of waste and it’s complexity. In fashion, most roads lead to landfill because the mixing of materials makes clothing so difficult to recycle. It’s our background in material management, auditing, and source separation that we feel has been most valuable to Nudnik. 

Nudnik uses pre-consumer textile waste to make its garments. Can you explain to our readers what that is and why you chose it? 

 Firstly, the production of textiles contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined! So even though there are so many incredible initiatives happening within the resale and secondhand markets to tackle ‘post-consumer’ waste, there is still such an enormous amount of ‘pre-consumer’ waste being generated before we even wear a garment. During our very first audit, the amount of off-cut fabrics discarded during the cutting phase was astronomical – enough to yield seven adult size t-shirts for every human on earth, yearly! We saw an opportunity in that.

Not only are you using textile waste for your fabrics, but Nudnik also has various certifications that make garments more sustainable fashion choices. Can you tell us more about that and why it is important? 

Sustainability isn’t just about the products, it’s also about what they’re packaged in and about the people who make them! Our factory partners are GOTS, OKEO-TEX, SA-8000, FAIRTRADE and UPMADE certified. These certifications ensure that our products are made from safe, sustainable fabrics and also that our sewing partners are treated properly and paid fairly. Our eco-packaging choices also ensure our customers we look at every inch of our product journey, from start to finish.

Your clothing is very gender neutral can you explain why you’ve decided to make it that way? Short answer?

We just really hate being put in boxes. The longer version is as identical twins, we always used fashion as a way to differentiate ourselves and carve out our own identities! Lindsay at one point literally wanted to be a boy and change her name to Luke (Skywalker). We’ve both danced around ‘girly’ and ‘tomboyish’ our entire lives and wanted Nudnik to represent all the kiddos out there, and encourage freedom of expression! 

What’s next for your business? Are there any exciting new products in development?

YES! Covid derailed most of the product development we had in motion so we are SO EXCITED to be back sampling some new styles! You can expect a ton coming in 2022 from us – denim, accessories, larger quantities .. and perhaps a stuffy (or two)!

What advice would you give to aspiring green entrepreneurs?

Look at everything you create though an environmental lenses. Most waste can be designed out, so during creation, really take the time to not only consider sustainable parts and materials, but their afterlife. 

About the author: Cara Des Granges is the founder of the Importance of Being Green. She lives in Toronto with her partner, daughter and two cats. When she is not writing, Cara enjoys running, gardening and thrift store shopping.

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