Nina Kharey | Creative Resilience and a New Sustainable Clothing Industry
Textile production is one of the most polluting industries, producing 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping. Over 60% of textiles are used in the clothing industry and a large proportion of clothing manufacturing occurs in China and India, countries which rely on coal-fuelled power plants, increasing the footprint of each garment. It has been stated that around 5% of total global emissions come from the fashion industry. Nina Kharey launched Folds Wear Inc. in Feb 2021 – a brand that aims to bring the same luxury feel to medical wear through four-way stretch and scrubs that move with health-care workers. The scrubs are antiviral, and sustainable technology was used to create them. Born in 1983 to Indian immigrant parents, Nina Kharey is a Canadian fashion designer and founder of womenswear brand, Nonie, and medical apparel company, Folds Wear Inc.
Kharey was surrounded by textiles from an early age. Her father managed a knitting factory and her mother was a menswear seamstress. She was fascinated by how an artistic design transitions from the drawing board to a tangible article of clothing. She received a degree in Engineering from the University of Calgary. Following the violent death of her older brother in 2005, Kharey left her professional career to pursue her dream and launched House of Nonie. Kharey is known for designing relaxed silhouettes and refined basics with an emphasis on effortless style. Her work is influenced by minimalism and East Asian attire.
In 2017 and 2019, Kharey was nominated for the Swarovski Canadian Arts and Fashion Emerging Designer of the Year Award. Her client list includes prominent personalities including the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister. In July 2018, HRH The Duchess of Sussex wore Nonie to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition in London.
In 2020, at the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, Kharey retooled her business and started making masks for nurses and the public. During this time, she started working with tech fabric labs to create scrubs for frontline workers that are protective, functional, and also comfortable. In Jan 2021, she launched her innovative medical apparel company, Folds Wear Inc. – delivering athletic antiviral scrubs made from post-consumer material which are fully recyclable at the end of their life.