Nanushka busy on first menswear collection, set to open pop-up store at Liberty London
Destination menswear. Hungarian fashion label Nanushka is about to reach a new milestone and broaden its horizons. Designer Sandra Sandor launched Nanushka in 2005, after she graduated from the London Fashion College and returned to her native Budapest.
She describes her label as a crossroads where eastern and western influences meet, just like how her own country of origin straddles East and West. Her mother also works in the textile industry, so Sandor had a support and advice network to rely on as she went about developing her high-end women’s ready-to-wear label. Nearly fifteen years after she took her first steps in fashion design, she is now very busy with the launch of her first menswear collection.
It will be a significant new landmark for a label which, according to Sandra Sandor, has picked up fresh impetus in the last two years. “In its first few years, Nanushka was only known locally, in Hungary. It then carried out two financing rounds: a first one in 2012, supported by an investor who has since left, and a second one in 2016, with a Hungarian investment fund. At the same time, my boyfriend and associate Peter Baldaszti joined the label and infused it with the energy of a start-up, deploying a business strategy which enabled Nanushka to grow,” said the designer. A few months later, Net-A-Porter.com bought Nanushka’s 2018 Resort collection, boosting the brand’s reputation.
“Once Net-A-Porter.com featured us, multibrand retailers began to follow us with even greater attention. Nowadays, we are stocked by 180 retailers worldwide, and 65% of our revenue comes from the wholesale channel. Though this doesn’t stop us from wanting to grow our direct retail sales even more, notably via our website,” said the label’s Sales Director Domi Szabo.
In fact, Nanushka’s revenue increased tenfold between 2016 and 2017, reaching $3.1 million, and Sandra Sandor is targeting $8 million for 2018. Indeed, Nanushka has many strings to its bow: four collections per year, with a minimum of 120 items, an accessories range which is increasingly growing in importance, and unfailing influencer support. Nanushka staged its first official presentation at the New York Fashion Week for the Autumn/Winter 2019, and has a tried and tested digital strategy. “We don’t pay influencers, and we don’t share pictures of bloggers wearing our clothes unless they fit with our brand image. However, when micro-influencers post something consistent with our editorial line, we duly re-post it on our social media channels,” said Sandra Sandor. This is how Nanushka is creating a loyal community of followers.
One of the label’s best-sellers is the down jacket in ‘vegan’ leather called Hide, a hit with many prominent young women, such as journalist Monica Ainley and designer Mari Giudicelli. After the jacket, Sandra Sandor launched a pair of machine-washable trousers and a top with a faux-crocodile texture and, from the Resort collection 2019, Nanushka will feature its ‘vegan’ leather for handbags, bum bags and footwear. By 2020, the label wants to use eco-sustainable materials only.
“Last May, we signed an agreement with the Ellen MacArthur foundation, part of the ‘Make Fashion Circular’ programme [whose main partners are Burberry, Nike, H&M, Stella McCartney, HSBC and Gap Inc., plus another twenty participants including Inditex, Primark, Kering and C&A],” said Sandra Sandor. The parties involved in the initiative are also working on which materials to use to make fashion circular, as well as the business models needed and the ways in which ruined garments can be recycled. Sandor has recently come back from the first workshop on the subject, held at the foundation’s UK base.
The UK is an important market for Nanushka, being its second-largest export market after the USA. The label’s headquarters are in Budapest, but Nanushka recently opened an office in London for its accessories designer and the director of communications, both of whom live in the UK capital. Also in London, at the Liberty department store, Nanushka will open a temporary retail space next October, adding to the store/café it operates in Budapest since February and the pop-up store active until the end of July in Los Angeles.
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