Tucked behind Rundle Mall beneath James Place is Nowa, a new concept store featuring local and international talent. The glue that holds it all together is the shop’s eponymous label, a sustainable clothing line by long-time friends Jorgia Dunn and Adrian Dorsey that debuted along with the store in January.
Nowa the Label’s range includes menswear, womenswear and unisex items for any age or demographic. The pieces vary from delicate ruffled dresses to durable denims to crisp cotton T-shirts. The prices are just as varied. “We have skirts that are $69.95 and we have skirts that are $450,” says Dorsey. “We’re trying to cater to both brackets.” There’s also a made-to-order service available to customers who want an inch added to – or taken off – any of the pieces.
“The only way Adrian and I were going to do this was if it was all sustainable and eco-friendly,” says Dunn. Nowa’s garments are made from entirely natural fabrics, and produced in small batches and on demand to minimise waste. Dunn and Dorsey have also chosen not to use disposable swing tags on any of their items, and they package online orders in biodegradable postbags.
Nowa has set up its own small factory in Bangladesh. The clothes are made by a handpicked team of 40 people, who are paid above the average award rate. Staff are also provided with free transport to and from the factory and meals each day. Dunn and Dorsey want Nowa to start a dialogue about where our money goes when we buy clothes. They say the conversation is not limited to fast fashion, and that many high-end labels engage in practices that are unethical and unsustainable. “People have been tricked into thinking they’re doing the right thing by purchasing the more expensive product, but that’s simply not the case,” says Dorsey.
Nowa is also a home for other brands: you’ll find select pieces from local labels Jungles and Saturday Lingerie mingled with international streetwear labels such as Carrots, Chinatown Market, Raised by Wolves and Belief.
The walls of the shop’s entrance are covered in colourful murals and paintings by local artist James Smith. The main space is all industrial metal walls and white lights – “I have a background in science and I wanted to make it look like a lab,” says Dunn – but the austere vibe is countered by custom-made pink suede couches by Adelaide designer The Design Stoop.
In the corner you’ll find a small bar, which, pending licensing approval, will serve wine from Murdoch Hill and beer from Uraidla Brewery. Every three months, Nowa will display the work of a chosen artist on the walls of the store; Dorsey and Dunn will also print the artworks on to select pieces of clothing.
Shop 21-23, Rundle Mall (access via James Place), Adelaide
(08) 8212 0045
Mon to Thu 10am–5pm