A MOMENT WITH NINETY PERCENT'S SHAFIQ HASSAN & BEN MATTHEWS
TEXT: LOGAN VERLAQUE IMAGES NINETY PERCENT
The FOUNDER AND THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF FASHION BRAND, NINETY PERCENT, TALK LESS IS MORE.
When Shafiq Hassan set out to start his own fashion brand, he knew he wanted to create a transparent company with sustainable morals. And like that, Ninety Percent was born. Well, with a little elbow grease, of course. The premium fashion brand celebrates easy to wear garments that one can throw on and go about her day without ever having to look down and question, do I look chic? A simple, minimal aesthetic seems to drive creative director Ben Matthews in his work, bringing us everyday wardrobe staples. But it is the ethical practices, considered use of materials and high environmental standards that set this brand in a league of its own.
LESS IS MORE__________.
SHAFIQ: Buy EVERYTHING that lasts at least ten years that you will take care of.
The last item I purchased was a __________.
BEN: Battered vintage marine sweatshirt.
SHAFIQ: Robert Graham shirt in NY.
The last thing I got rid of was_________.
BEN: Love-worn pair of jeans, which finally gave up the ghost.
SHAFIQ: Shoes bought in the ’90s
The most important item to me is __________.
BEN: I’m a t-shirt fanatic and navy obsessed so I would say my selection of navy, dead-stock, oversized, heavy jersey t-shirts.
SHAFIQ: John Lennon Imagine jacket that I bought in 2010.
My favorite piece from NINETY PERCENT is __________.
BEN: Our best-selling, classic fit t-shirt. It was the starting point for the whole brand. So simple, So perfect.
SHAFIQ: Organic Cotton Oversized Hoody.
on the inspiration to create Ninety Percent as a charitable brand
SHAFIQ: Looking at how big businesses control our lives without us having much say as a customer, and not giving back to the planet.
on the brand’s ethos
SHAFIQ: To create 360 degrees of empowerment from design to makers. We want our customers not only to enjoy the product but also give them the opportunity to make a positive impact on social and environmental causes with their vote.
on the inspiration for each collection
BEN: Consideration and mindfullness permeate everything we do at ninety percent. We work hard to ensure everything we design has reason and consideration, from the origin of the fabric to the construction of the garment to ensure it has longevity. We also love slow design and try to ensures the collection is season-less and looks great across seasons, the antithesis of fast fashion.
It always starts with people, adopting a hawk eye approach to understanding and predicting what our customers are wanting to wear in a seasons time. But it can come from a simple kick-off item like a vintage Hawaiian shirt or an aesthetic could emerge from a feeling or movement, rebellion for example.
ON how Ninety Percent works to reduce its negative environmental impacts as a brand
SHAFIQ: It all starts at the design stage when selecting raw materials and the processes involved, as well as who makes our raw materials. We are also looking at the circularity aspect where we could recycle and reuse our returned sold items in future, to reduce making new raw materials.
On putting a high value on maintaining a good standard of welfare for factory workers
SHAFIQ: We are fortunate that the production units we use, Echotex, are owned my by myself and my co-founder Para Hamilton, and yes, we put worker’s welfare and ethical trade at the top of our business agenda. This gives us complete transparency in everything that we do. Unfortunately, we have not been able to make profits yet, being just over a year old in our business life, but the key aspect is that we are aware that the hands that make our products are cared for.
ON THEIR NEW INITIATIVE: With each purchase made comes the option to vote for a charitable cause
SHAFIQ: We wanted to choose organizations that deal with social and environmental causes and that we were aware have a tangible positive impact. We wanted to empower our customers with the ultimate decision as to where our company’s profits should go. This goes to the concept of “power to the people”. We have had very positive reaction as this is not something that brands really do, so it’s a new concept.
On their brand’s goals for the future & if fashion will continue to become more sustainable
We wish to create a movement that gives the opportunity to our customers to be our partners in this journey to make a positive difference with each purchase and for us to become a very successful business where we want others to follow.
We are all aware that time is running out in trying to make big changes in what we do that impacts the planet negatively. There is no way back for all involved in this industry including our customers to make the right choices.