Three years ago, sisters Courtney and Jessyme Noble were working in fashion – Courtney was running an online vintage business and Jessyme was working on a clothing project. In 2017, they decided to bring their mutual interests together to create a few fashion label called Noble, and to manufacture their garments – which include silk camis, neutral day dresses and a pair of ridiculously cute linen shorts – at home in Sydney with sustainability front of mind. Every Noble piece and collection slow-made, designed to be a timeless addition to the owner’s wardrobe.
“The idea of being sustainable was a no-brainer,” says Courtney. “It was really just a natural process of learning about fabrics and production methods that helped us with decision-making.
“When choosing fabrics, we always look first for dead-stock material, and if that isn’t available – or there isn’t a suitable alternative – we seek out new fabrics that are biodegradable and have an accredited supply chain. Even then, the decision to make product with new fabrics means that we only do small runs at a time.”
Noble garments are made in Marrickville, where the company’s fabric-cutters and dressmakers reside, and where the Nobles find some of the dead-stock fabrics that end up in their collections. They decided to focus on local production from the get-go so as to oversee every part of the production process and reduce the label’s environmental impact.
“It allows us to have smaller order quantities, reduces our carbon footprint and means we can do small-impact measures – like avoid individually wrapping products in plastic,” Courtney explains. “We’re also able to salvage our fabric offcuts and turn them into smaller products like scrunchies and tote bags so nothing gets wasted.”
The Nobles have a strong relationship with their garment-makers, which allows them to refine the production process on the ground without costly mistakes. Their vision is working, too: the Clementine dress, a chic mid-length dress made from Lyocell (a biodegradable fabric) is now sold out in ivory and navy. (You can still grab the dusty pink, though.)
Though 2020 has been a tough year for small businesses, Noble’s customers have continued to shop – and Courtney believes it’s because they appreciate the label’s transparency.
“We’re at a pivotal point where shoppers and brands alike are re-evaluating their practices and purchases,” she says. “As online shopping increases, brands and customers are able to have a more direct relationship with each other, so understanding what the customer wants as a business is much more accessible.”