WHO WE ARE
Hi! We’re Alex and Lili and we are the founders and owners of Nettle Studios. Alex grew up in the rainy Pacific Northwest and Lili grew up in the hot suburbs of San Jose. We both found our way to San Francisco in our late teens, fell in love, had our hearts broken (multiple times!) and haven’t found our way out just yet. We met in college and bonded over vintage cat eye glasses (can you believe we had the exact same pair from the 50s?) and then bonded further in our senior year over murder, stinky pizza, and our shared taste for weird things! We fully embrace the weirdness of our own humanity, and hope that our pieces can inspire you to do the same.
HOW WE STARTED
We started Nettle Studios over a couple of artisan pizzas doused in hot honey—and after a few drinks decided that we wanted to start a clothing brand based in ethics, sustainability and a lot of do-what-you-want-ism! We found a lot of cool designer clothing inaccessible, fast fashion to be low quality and basically just wanted to make pieces that we wanted to wear. Nettle Studios’ initial ethos revolved around making cool things for cool people, and we stick to that mission to this day.
WHEN AND WHERE
Because we wanted to keep production in house and to protect the process of slow fashion within our brand, our pieces are designed, cut, and sewn by hand (with the help of our handy Juki Industrial machines of course) in our tiny studio in Potrero Hill, San Francisco. Our process is slower than fast fashion because our pieces are made to order and limited to the stock we have on hand. This allows us to be truly flexible with attention to detail and to work with our customers to provide the customizations that in turn prolong the life of the garments we make. Our goal is to make pieces so good that you can wear it comfortably for the rest of your lifetime. We know it’s impossible to be perfect, but we sure try!
WHAT’S THE DEAL
We source most of our fabrics from the Los Angeles garment district and the remainder from local Bay Area jobbers. Our preferred fabrics are deadstock qualities from vendors, mills, and companies that have since gone out of business or production. We love how these types of fabrics are innately unique as they are no longer in production and are of limited stock, and we love that we get to divert waste from the landfill. Plus, we get to work with a lot of bonus prints, patterns, and weaves that are from different eras and bring their own flavors of interesting!
On top of the deadstock qualities that we work with, we also work with a small family owned dye house up in Marin County to dye small batches of our linen to get the fun and custom colors that we run. We like working with linen because of its drape, hand, durability, and its innate sustainability. Linen comes from flax and requires a lot less water than cotton to grow. There is a lot less waste with flax, and other parts of the plant are often times used for other end uses. Flax is also a very hardy crop and generally requires less pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals to produce. We personally find that linen ages well and with the correct care, becomes softer and even more luxurious to wear over time.
We currently are a small team of five, and we all work together to design, cut, sew, and package the pieces that arrive on your doorstep. We pride ourselves in our ability to pay our contractors and collaborators more than minimum wage and are always looking for opportunities to bring production back to San Francisco. All of our materials are printed on recycled paper and our packaging is compostable or recyclable to do our part in reducing harmful waste.
WHY ON EARTH
We love what we do and we want our pieces to live in the world in harmony. All of our pieces are designed with this core belief in mind and we strive to be as size and gender inclusive as possible. We believe that clothing is meant to be comfortable and should only aid you in your journey to feeling good. We love interacting with our customers and we love seeing how our pieces are serving you in the real world. Follow along on the journey with us @nettlestudios on Instagram and let us know what you’re up to by tagging us in your photos and stories!