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NoNetz Brings Sustainable Men’s Activewear to the Hudson Valley

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Photos courtesy of Cathy Paraggio

Hudson Valley native Cathy Paraggio runs NoNetz, comfortable men’s activewear made with recyclable post-consumer plastic.

It’s time to ditch the regular men’s swimwear and switch to a pair of NoNetz swim trunks, a breakthrough in active clothing that puts comfort above all else. 

Owner and Carmel resident Cathy Paraggio initially joined the pre-existing Hudson Valley brand NoNetz as a hobby. After having her son, Chris, she discovered how uncomfortable men’s clothing often is, so she bought out the other founders and made it her full-time job. As a result, she focused on creating activewear for men that is anti-chafe and super soft and comfortable. 

NoNetz-Lining-Label

“So I believe this is an underserved demographic of just making guys feel better about themselves,” Paraggio says. “Men are generally uncomfortable and many people have no idea…I didn’t either until I had a son, and I get it now.” 

Paraggio began her work with NoNetz after receiving a cancer diagnosis and taking a step back from her corporate job. Initially, she only joined as a hobby. But, when Chris shared his plans to study music in college, she was inspired to go in a new direction. She decided to take on NoNetz full-time to serve as a role model and prove that people can be successful in creative endeavors. She also brought Chris into the operation so he could witness the workings of a small business first-hand. 

Cathy-and-her-Son

Cathy Paraggio and her son Chris

“Chris told me that he wanted to study music in college, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s a terrible idea!’” Paraggio laughs. “And I felt super bad saying it, and then I started thinking, ‘Why do people fail at doing art or artistic endeavors?’ and I came to the conclusion that it’s because they don’t understand the business.”

Paraggio used her background in corporate to build and expand the company, which has now diversified from boys’ swimwear, which was a very small demographic, to include men’s swimwear, men’s moisture management polos, and men’s t-shirts. 

NoNets-Hudson-Valley-Swimwear

The men’s swimsuits are fully lined, with a lined waistband, a minimal number of stitches, and a functional waistband drawstring. Paraggio has had her activewear line referred to as “origami that is secured with a couple of stitches.” It requires a minimal amount of sewing to hold together the clothing. This is part of Paraggio’s very technical effort to solve texture sensitivities and maximize comfort. 

“We are very conscious of the number of stitches against your skin,” Paraggio notes. “Before COVID, we would design with nonverbal autistic kids who are very texture-sensitive in mind. And, if they didn’t want to take it off, that meant it was comfortable. Many of them even sleep in these swim trunks.” 

Green-Polo

Increased demand required that NoNetz create swim trunks with a 5” inseam, labeled “Retro Shorts Slim Fit” on the website, in addition to the regular 8” cut inseam shorts. Now, the swimsuits are being worn by men for other active endeavors such as golf, tennis, and going to the gym.

“These are highly versatile shorts that happen to be swimwear,” Paraggio explains. Locally, individuals can don a pair of NoNetz trunks to explore the Hudson Valley’s coolest swimming holes, waterfalls, and amusement parks comfortably. 

NoNetz-Polos

NoNetz also makes moisture-wicking polo shirts for men, but the fabric differs from traditional moisture-wicking shirts. For instance, Paraggio noticed that traditional moisture-wicking fabric is treated with a topical chemical, but that it typically washes out over time. To combat this, Paraggio designed the men’s polos to have minerals permanently embedded within the yarn, which creates a continuous cooling effect that won’t wash out over time. 

The rash guards are a fan-favorite of kids because of their flexibility. They  are unisex, made with recycled water bottles, and have all of the seams located on the outside of the garment. The zipper on the front is fully covered, which means that kids can’t accidentally pinch themselves, and makes the rash guard easily adjustable. Additionally, the rash guards provide sun protection with a UPF rating of 50+. 

White Rash Guard shirt

NoNetz also prides itself on its sustainable methods of manufacturing and its roots in the Hudson Valley. When NoNetz was first starting out, Paraggio discovered what a problem plastic waste management is, especially in Southeast Asia. Consequently, NoNetz partnered with a group in Southeast Asia that employs women who otherwise would not be able to get work, and those women collect plastic waste before it enters the ocean. Finally, NoNetz obtains the plastic and reworks it into the fabric of the clothing. 

NoNetz also partners with Handprint Tech, a group that purchases and plants one mangrove in Sumatra, Indonesia for every newsletter sign-up on NoNetz’s website. Mangroves are a type of shrubbery that is the most efficient at carbon reclamation and restoring soil. 

“After 5,000 purchases, you have a forest. I think I’m halfway there. I would love to have my own NoNetz forest,” Paraggio laughs. “That would thrill me.” 

NoNetz-Boy-Shirt-and-Trunks

Paraggio also highlighted the importance of starting her business in the Hudson Valley. She noted that many businesses choose to incorporate in Maryland because it’s less expensive, but she didn’t want to do that.

“I live in New York; the city is in my backyard. I’m all about staying in New York,” Paraggio says. She also stresses the importance of customer feedback. “We’re always looking and always listening. We get rave reviews and we take great pains to make sure everyone is comfortable,” she adds. “This gives a generous fit. It gives, it moves, it breathes, and you look good.” 

NoNetz-up-close

Looking ahead, Paraggio has many more ideas on sustainable fabric-making. For instance, one of her ideas is to make a leather-style jacket out of mycelium, which is a thread-like mass upon which mushrooms grow. Mycelium is incredibly soft and has a texture that can make it appear similar to leather. 

“I’m very interested in looking into making fabric either out of our garbage, or what’s in nature. Can I do it with moss? Can I do it with leaves?” Paraggio reveals. 

NoNetz-Blue-Polo

NoNetz plans to branch out and make clothes for women eventually. For now, it is still focused on men and boys.

“That’s what we’re going after, dressing men up, making them feel better, and providing extreme comfort,” she says. 

Related: Tee-Owels Treat Textured, Curly Hair With Care in the Hudson Valley

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