Boshra in the Nisa Wellington workshop (2018)
The ethical option for your underwear drawer
Nisa is an underwear label and social enterprise, employing women from refugee backgrounds in our Wellington studio. For the Nisa team, a job is about so much more than a pay cheque - it's about making friends, practising English and feeling like a valued member of a team.
Our dream is to build an alumni of 100 former employees who go on to inspire their own communities. For us, success is not just providing a first job in New Zealand, but in providing a first step in a long career.
You can read special blogs written by the Nisa team here.
Why our briefs are the best
Our briefs aren't just good for people, they're good for the planet 🌎 We're proud to use GOTS certified organic cotton, knitted in Melbourne, for our briefs and bralettes.
For our swimwear, we use ECONYLⓇ, a regenerated nylon made from fishing nets and other waste products.
The most eco-friendly garment in the world however isn't much good if it doesn't look good & last the distance. We put months of effort into designing, sourcing and then making every new product we launch, with rigorous testing for both style and comfort. This means, by the time a Nisa garment lands in your drawer, it'll be ready to be worn and loved for a long time.
Fowziya and Elisha in the workshop (2018)
See our workshop in action
Our Wellington workshop is open to the public, and even has a shop inside! We'd love to welcome you in and show you what a small garment production facility looks like. We're so proud of our people and processes, and jump at the opportunity to show them off ❤️
You can find us on the first floor at 99 Willis St, Wellington.
How we got started
Nisa was founded by Elisha Watson in 2017, when she was working as a lawyer and volunteering with the Red Cross' refugee resettlement programme. She shared a love of sewing with many of the women in the former refugee community, and the idea of setting up a sewing workshop to provide employment opportunities took form. Elisha quit her job, set up a crowdfunding campaign, and then went about the process of hiring her first employees, buying machines and looking for a sunny space to base the workshop (all with no fashion or industrial sewing experience, gulp!).
Nisa's talented seamstresses could have sewn anything, but in the end underwear came out top for a number of reasons:
- There is already enough clothing in the world, whereas underwear is something we humans genuinely need 👙
- Underwear is small and compact - perfect for a small workshop 🛠
- It is universal. We all love different clothes and have different styles, but at the end of the day most of us want cotton underwear for the simple snuggle factor 🧸
You can read more about how Elisha went about setting up Nisa here.