The Story of Neem

The Story of Neem

I want to tell the story of Neem when the pandemic broke in March 2020, a period of great uncertainty In the fashion world, more about why later, a little bit about the past first.

I’ve worked in menswear since I was young, studying textiles at Leeds University, with a father who worked at senior level at C&A -remember Rodeo sportswear?  And then having the good fortune of joining Charles Tyrwhitt when they were a fledgling brand which taught me that there are good times and highs also mixed with many lows. An immersive culture, working closely with suppliers and strong communication across all levels of the business, It grew  from £5m when I joined to £200m when I left, and it still continues to thrive. Three words stand out from my time at CT; clarity, unity and focus and I had the good fortune of making friends and partners that stay with me today.

This is what enabled me to set up Neem. I wanted to work with people who shared a passion and desire to have fun, do better for the climate and to try and produce the lowest emitting men’s shirt in the world…. we are not there yet but we’re having a good go at it!

So that’s one of our aims, to produce the lowest emitting men’s work shirt in the world – Within this industry shirts are flown across the world, fabric flown from Europe to Bangladesh and back again, a demand for lower prices every season and use of polyester, acrylic and viscose in a way with no understanding of any the consequences. This is now a Neem focus, we know where the fibres are grown and the complete process , the impact both good and bad on the climate and the people making them.  We want to know about the product. Having worked in menswear for so long, I’ve seen products rushed to market, cancellations for no real reason and oversampling so we wanted to offer an alternative to that.

 

The second aim therefore is to produce clothing with as little waste as possible, zero waste is the term, but let’s face it, that’s almost an oxymoron. We set out to produce clothes with as little waste as possible using 3D design that allows us to produce new garments, where we have established the fit and base fabric already, without sampling at all.n other businesses we see as much as 5 to 6 samples being made before a garment is even bought – each one requiring sample fabric, courier costs, DHL gets rich and then wastage. We aim to sell this 3D software during 2022. We also sell PRE ORDER, which allows us to forecast demand much earlier and not to overproduce. Most  shirts can be recycled. Again, we have tested this and our ZQ merino has been tested for biodegradability. Any stand on zero waste is based on what I’ve personally seen in menswear and a desire to do what’s right for the climate and the people along the supply chain.

 

 

The third aim is one of style. Hybrid work patterns are here to stay for office workers. This means, in my mind, a need for a style that is smart yet versatile, comfortable yet elegant, A style that you can turn up to a meeting in as well as relax at home and then to pop out in. We call it power casual, -  it simply means a style that lifts you out of casual into a modern work wardrobe.

 

So let’s go back to March 2020 when the brand was conceived. During this period the industry reacted in a way that needed to change. In what was a very difficult period for all, when compassion, honesty and empathy was required,the fashion industry cancelled stock, demanded discounts and when demand returned, then flew fabric and stock from far off places into the EU.

This was an epiphany for me, and Neem was born. We believe in less extraction from nature, to try and increase the 1% of disused textiles that are made again into new clothing,  and use technology so the product is considered an asset forever. We have flaws, we are still a child making mistakes and we are still rather vulnerable, but we want to offer a culture of trust, creativity, courage and empathy.

To have the balls to try something new and to create a shirt that’s been made with some thought and care about the environment

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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