Sustainable fashion brand Naadam responsibly sources and produces luxury knitwear for for men, women and children while preserving nomadic lifestyle in Mongolia.
Sustainable fashion brand Naadam was founded in 2013 by college buddies Matthew Scanlan and Diederik Rijsemus. The men travelled to remote parts of the Mongolian Gobi Desert, became friends with the local herders and experienced first-hand how traditional cashmere traders and brokers drove up prices to rake in profits. By cutting out these middlemen Matt and Diederik realised they could pay the herders more while selling premium-quality apparel and outerwear for men, women and children at an affordable price. Interestingly the duo coined the brand name "Naadam" to reflect its roots; Naadam is the name of a nationwide Mongolian festival that celebrates Mongolian culture and nomadic traditions that anchor the shared values of its people.
Sustainable and ethical business practices have been a part of the direct-to-consumer cashmere label since the very first day. The fashion brand is committed to transparency, ethical practices, cultural preservation and environmental sustainability and is always looking for ways to do things better. In 2020, the team shared their first annual Social and Environmental Impact Report which outlined their commitments on people, planet and progress through 2025.
Naadam has become a bigger and better business than we ever dreamed. We have led our organizational development with intention and authenticity, consistently promoting and evangelizing our value system. The result is a business that spans the globe, distributes products via hundreds of national and international touchpoints and employs an ever-expanding group of likeminded and passionate people.
There are many things make Naadam a powerhouse ethical fashion brand. By working directly with herders in Mongolia, they are able to pay them substantially more and simultaneously consumers pay less for the world's best cashmere. Now that's a win:win. From food to providing veterinary care, the team promotes ethical conditions for the animals behind their products' raw materials. Often known as “cashmere with a conscience” the team gives back through nonprofit work with the “Gobi Revival Fund” and have set up a clean water source, a livestock insurance program and a park for the local community to gather, play and for other forms of commerce to thrive.
“We know our partners. We only work with suppliers who meet our Code of Conduct standards, labor and environmental certifications and pay workers fairly,” is their proud statement. What's more the team has shifted to more sustainable packaging solutions from 100 per cent pre-consumer Forest Stewardship Council- certified recycled paper for inserts and hangtags to 100 per cent recycled plastic with non-toxic chemicals that biodegrade faster for their mailers and bags.
Naadam has launched their five-year progress plan which includes People- Product- Planet- Progress and is committed to implementing strategies and initiatives within each of these areas to achieve their goals. Regarding People, their objectives include ensuring living wages throughout the supply chain and holding primary suppliers accountable for their social and environmental performance. They will make meaningful investments in Mongolian herder communities and support the responsible integration of new technology in supplier and factory communities. In terms of Product, the focus is on using traceable, renewable and recycled materials. The fashion brand aims to promote ethical conditions for animals related to their raw materials. Embracing circular design principles, they strive to create high-quality products that can be used for as long as possible.
Regarding Planet, it has set the goal of becoming carbon neutral. To achieve this, they will reduce their emissions, invest in sustainable energy sources and prioritise renewable energy. They are also working on reducing packaging and transitioning to sustainable alternatives. Lastly, they aim to drive industry change by fostering transparency and honesty throughout their journey by openly sharing their progress, challenges, and learnings therefore contributing to the broader goal of bringing about positive change within the fashion industry.
Naadam goes straight to the source of the world's best cashmere- Gobi Desert in Mongolia- and works directly with herders to bring its consumers high-quality sustainable knitwear at prices that are fair for them — and for consumers.
From the beginning, the team has made an effort to invest both financial and business resources directly into programs that
impact communities in the regions where they operate. The vision of ethical fashion brand Naadam is rooted in finding organic ways to create financial and environmental sustainability that are rooted in local culture and driven by the needs and wisdom of its partners on the ground.
Mathew Scanlan (Founder)
Diederik Rijsemus (Founder)
Recognition and Awards
Products and Services
For men the brand offers outerwear, sweatshirts and hoodies, sweaters and cardigans, lounge and sleepwear, pants and accessories while their product portfolio for women include dresses, jump-suits, hoodies, sweatshirts and hoodies, sweaters and cardigans, tops and tanks, bottoms, lounge and sleepwear.
- 15 top sustainable fashion brands CNN
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- How Naadam Created A $100 Million+ Sustainable Luxury Cashmere Brand Forbes
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- Naadam co-founder speaks to Forbes Forbes
- Twitter page of Naadam Twitter
- Fashionista profiles Naadam co-owner Matt Scanlan Fashionista
- This Cashmere Sweater Brand's Origin Story Is Movie-Worthy GQ
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- How this brand made an affordable cashmere sweater ethically Forbes
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Diederik Rijsemus (Founder)
Matthew Scanlan (Founder)
Fashion and Textiles
Retail and Consumer Goods