In Outside's February, 2007 issue, writer Andrew Tilin reported on a new, sustainable outdoor apparel company, Nau (And Nau for Something Completely Different). The Portland, Oregon-based start-up launches their web sales this February, and will open four stores in the spring of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, and Chicago, Illinois. Although we loved the idea of their corn-based fibers and all-recycled polyesters, we had to see if the clothes could take a licking. So, we got decked out in Nau, and went climbing, hiking, traveling, and even to a swanky holiday party. Here's the scoop on how shirts, skirts, jackets, and moreall made from recycled soda bottles or corn fabricsperform in the field.
Women's Twill Snap Capri ($90; nau.com)
Testing Ground: Indoor and outdoor climbing around Santa Fe; out to breakfast.
Data: Thanks to their double-weave fabric and hint of spandex the Snap Capri were both durable and flexible. A contoured waist, sleek lines, and buttoned cuffs give the just-above-the-knee pants a feminine, urban stylethe kind that would work in Los Angeles or Joshua Tree. And with four zippered pockets there's plenty of room for carrying necessities like cash, keys, or Luna Bars.
Downside: The heavy, organic cotton pant felt too thick for a warm day.
Men's Acoustic Pants (Price unavailable; nau.com)
Testing Ground: A bus ride to Denver; a plane trip to Washington D.C.; an ultra-hip dinner at Mie n Yu in Georgetown.
Data: Talk about versatile. Take these pants everywhere, without feeling over- or underdressed. The design is stylish with outdoor flairs like waterproof, zippered pockets on the rear and slanted hems that cover the back of the shoe without causing bunching on the front of the foot.
Downside: They weren't as breathable or waterproof as we expected, but given the softshell-like fabric, they did keep us warm during late-night winds and low temperatures.