Celine has always been passionate about design & self-expression in the fashion industry. Born in Canada to Lebanese parents, she was surrounded by artists, musicians, and Middle Eastern grace — all of which formed the basis of NAFSI's aesthetic. She moved to Dubai to pursue a career in fashion and although her passion for the art was strong, she quickly discovered the detrimental impacts that fast fashion may have on the world. In 2017, she left her corporate job in the industry and made a promise to create high quality, handcrafted garments that are kind to our skin & environment. And in 2020, NAFSI was born.
How NAFSI started and why?
I have books and design sketches that date back 15+ years ago. Thrifting clothes and creating new pieces has always been a hobby of mine. In 2015 I had the great opportunity to come to Dubai where I began my journey in the fashion industry. Although it was very insightful, I was quickly made aware of the detrimental impacts the industry has on the environment and the people behind our clothes. That's when I began researching alternatives and learning about sustainability in the industry — and eventually applied these learnings to launch NAFSI.
What is slow fashion?
Eco? Sustainable? Ethical Fashion? Which one is it? The best way to describe slow fashion is that it’s conscious, intentional, and holistic. Intentionally considering the holistic life cycle of a product from its ideation, raw materials, manufacturing/production, its supply chain/shipping, and ultimately with consumer use and end-of-life disposal. It considers the ethical practices concerned with human & animal rights and sustainable practices concerned with the environmental impact.
How do you reduce your environmental impact when manufacturing NAFSI garments?
When creating pieces from scratch, I only work with farms & factories that are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). They ensure that environmental and ethical sets of operations are in place at every step of the supply chain. I'm also working on making the next major collection completely carbon neutral! So excited to share the updates with everyone!
I also like working with fabrics that already exist. Thrift for Good has been such a helpful partner, supplying me with pieces that I can upcycle into beautiful new garments. This extends a fabric's lifecycle, and a mere 9 month extension reduces carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%! So grateful to be contributing to that.
Our shipping bags are biodegradable and all tags & business cards are made of recycled paper. We even use material scraps to create dust bags for our products! We're working daily on becoming a no waste zone.
You are a supporter of fair trade practices. Please tell us more!
Fair Trade is a global movement that puts people and the planet first. All products bought and sold daily are connected to the livelihoods of others - fair trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world. It's the choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers and protect the environment. It's a world-changing way of doing business.
The farm & factory I work with pays female employees equally to their male counterparts. If employees want to start a family, they can enroll their children to the school & nursery on the field— meaning they don't need to give up their career to start a family! Something a lot of people struggle with in the region. They aren't exposed to toxic fumes or dyes, work in a healthy environment, and receive a fair wage. This enables them to cover basic needs including food, shelter, education and health care for their families.
If you really want to make an impact, support fair trade practices & companies!
Please can you tell us about the materials you use?
Yes! At the moment I'm using two types of materials.
- Organic Egyptian Cotton. This is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards. Generic cotton uses 88% more water than organic cotton because organic cotton is mainly rainfed! The benefits are endless.
- Upcycled materials from Thrift for Good. When upcycling, I try to choose fabrics that aren't harsh on the skin such as cotton, linen, or bamboo.
What is your favourite item on the site at the moment?
The bed sheets! Picture luxury hotel room bed sheets. Can you recall the quality & feel? Those are generally 300-400 thread count. NAFSI's bed sheets are a 600 thread count and made of Organic Egyptian cotton. You're not only sleeping on a higher thread count, you're sleeping on the softest luxury that is so good to your skin! Everyone who's purchased a set has come back for another.
I also love our masks, they're sustainable & they give back. NAFSI donates part of the proceeds to Gulf for Good's 2020 charitable projects that help kids in the underdeveloped world live a healthier life. You can learn more about the mission here.
"Corporate Social Responsibility is what solidifies NAFSI's culture. It is the driving force behind our growth. We take pride in only working with fair trade farmers and fabrics that are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards. This positively impacts the nations we sell in and work with, but it shouldn't stop there. The goal is to pave the way for sustainability in the fashion industry. What better way to do so than by giving back to the community, empowering the young and taking care of our planet? We aim to organize initiatives locally and globally - in areas that need it most. Gulf for Good has facilitated this goal with the launch of our latest CSR campaign. We look forward to seeing its impact and to the many more initiatives to come." - Celine Hajjar, Founder