The ability to adapt quickly to changing times is one of the characteristics without which it is impossible to understand the success of Nanushka. Born in 2006, the Hungarian brand was one of the pioneering niche firms to firmly bet on responsible production, positioning itself in the segment of accessible luxury with timeless collections and vegan fabrics. 16 years later, last February, the Budapest-based brand became one of the first to cancel its operations in Russia and dedicated the runway show of its latest collection at Paris Fashion Week to the Ukrainian people, with the colors of their flag as makeup and a string quartet playing their anthem. Starting this summer, the brand is betting on its innovative creative project «Sun Series».
Functionality, chic elegance and comfort are the words with which Sandra Sandor defines Nanushka’s identity. Trained at the London College of Fashion, the entrepreneur with a passion for industrial design and the Arts and Crafts movement returned to her native Hungary to launch her own brand under a local and artisanal concept. With sober lines, typical of modern minimalism, and an accessible luxury positioning (with bags from 175 euros to coats at 1495 euros), the brand soon seduced influencers and celebrities, such as Selena Gomez or Hailey Bieber, who catapulted it into the media spotlight. Today, the brand presents its collections in Paris and already has almost half a million followers on Instagram.
The evolution has not only been limited to social networks. «We’ve grown a lot in the last few years, it’s been quite a journey,» Peter Baldaszti, Sandra Sandor’s husband and CEO of Nanushka, which he joined in 2017, tells FashionNetwork.com. At that time, sales amounted to €1 million. Five years later, the brand expects to close the current financial year with a turnover of €50 million. As the manager explains, Covid-19 was a «great challenge» for the brand in terms of «supply chain», but sales remained positive thanks to the online channel.
According to the executive, who is also the founder of the Vanguards Group conglomerate (which operates the Nanushka, Aeron and Sunnei brands), 30% of revenues come from the brand’s e-commerce and its three own stores in Budapest, London and New York. Meanwhile, the remaining 70 % comes from the wholesale channel. «I am not a staunch advocate of the direct-to-consumer business model in fashion. I believe in the value of the wholesale model, with careful distribution, relevant points of sale and strategic partners. It is fundamental for the brand. And the financial objective is to find the right balance between the two,» says the CEO. In 3 to 4 years, the company expects to reach a balance where each part of the business represents 50% of total turnover.
Today, the brand’s collections are sold in more than 140 physical points of sale internationally, such as Le Bon Marché, La Rinascente, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus. In the online channel, the brand is present in a handful of luxury platforms, such as Farfetch, MyTheresa, Browns, Matchesfashion or Net-a-Porter.
Target: flagships in Paris and Milan
«Our future plans include a powerful retail expansion,» the businessman anticipates, revealing that the brand is working on the opening of a second store in the United States, whose doors will open between the end of this year and the beginning of next year, as well as on landing in Shanghai and the opening of its own flagship store in TMall. «The Chinese market is tremendously important for us,» says Baldaszti, revealing that, for the moment, the United States and the United Kingdom are leading sales.
In parallel, Nanushka is on the lookout for the «perfect locations» that best suit its positioning, both in Milan and Paris. «The goal is to open stores that function as a statement of intent and include the full brand experience, all the collections and a café,» anticipates the CEO.
Also in the French capital, where at the last Fashion Week the firm held an original presentation at the Palais Garnier, the plans go through the organization of a parade next season or the following one. «Paris is the place that makes the most sense for us, our aesthetic fits perfectly with the city. We like to do presentations because they last longer and you can contemplate the looks better, but I love the garments in motion. I’m looking forward to preparing a different show,» says the brand’s founder, Sandra Sandor.
Looking ahead, Nanushka’s main challenges revolve around sustainability. «We are immersed in a progressive process, replacing materials with certified or recycled ones at each collection,» argues Sandor. By 2025, the brand has committed to making all raw materials used sustainable. «Every season we keep improving, but it’s still far from ideal. It’s a long road and our big challenge for the future,» acknowledges Baldaszti. Similarly, the Hungarian company is planning «significant team growth,» which now totals 100 people, between the 50 workers at the Budapest facility and some 20 employees at the London offices, which have just doubled in size.
Reinventing the summer ephemeral store
The company’s expansion also takes innovative forms. Without going any further, from June 1 to August 18, Nanushka will be installed ephemerally in Ibiza. Held in the emblematic Parisian club El Silencio on the Balearic island, the first initiative of the annual series aims to function as a «natural expansion» of the Hungarian brand’s own universe, promoting art and design. Without going any further, the immersive space, located on the beachfront in Cala Moli, has been developed together with architect Charlotte Taylor and visual artist Pietro Terzini.
It is not, however, a summer pop up store as usual, but the space will function as a summer residence around which to expand creative experiences and ties with its community, responding to the isolation caused by the pandemic in recent years. Thus, «Nanushka Sun Series» will host parties, intimate dinners and creative performances, through which its new «beachwear» proposal will be presented. The store will also feature garments from the Resort 2022 and spring-summer 2022 collections.