Sandra Sandor attended the London College of Fashion; when she graduated she returned to her native Budapest to establish her line, Nanushka. The name is Sandor’s childhood nickname. Her company is one of few of its kind; Nanushka is one of the first international contemporary fashion business from Hungary. With no intention of the brand’s growth remaining exclusive to Hungary, Sandor is still searching for the right location for its first international flagship. Those unfamiliar with this smart and sophisticated brand should familiarize themselves quickly as the silhouettes, pricepoint, and overall aesthetic are on point.
How would you describe retail in Hungary?
A little old-fashioned. We lack a lot of great brands in this market but also the multi-brand concept is hardly known. Let’s just say there’s space for improvement.
Is it tough having your business headquartered in Budapest? Is this also where your production is?
At some points it is tough, but it would be tough anywhere. Fashion is a rapidly changing business and always the first to absorb new technologies, worldviews and social happenings. Obviously it would be much easier to build a fashion company in a cosmopolitan city such as Paris, London or New York. I knew launching a brand requires a team; a team I can dream and work closely with, a team I knew I could find back home. Although it is very difficult to find the right professionals in the fashion industry in Hungary because of lack of experience.
You have to have your eyes open at all times to be able to keep up. But for the very same reason we are also a unique business, we were one of the first ones to start growing an international contemporary fashion business from Hungary. And on the other hand, expenses are much friendlier in Budapest. At the moment 90% of our production is done in Hungary.
Have you seen an evolution in style since you grew up? What did you think when you first moved to London?
Looking back on myself I see a huge change in style. I hope it is an evolution!
For example, in the beginning I only enjoyed using monocrome color stories, now it is the opposite. I’ve also noticed that as I am getting older, the looks I design are becoming more mature too. These changes were very organic though and not drastic, which alowed the DNA of the brand reamain the same.
Why did you decide to study fashion in London over another city?
It was important to me to learn everything from first hand. London is a city where it is easy to find what you are looking for, therefore it was obvious to me go study in a city which can offer me perspective.
How did Nanushka come to life?
It all started out in 2006, right after my graduation I was sure that I wanted to launch my own brand. The brand name came from a childhood nickname of mine. I didn’t want to do an internship at a big fashion house, because I felt I’d lose time and I couldn’t wait to start my own label. The Nanushka aesthetic is based on timeless silhouettes, textured fabrics and ethereal detailing blended with comfort and quiet elegance. Contradictions create the basis of my phraseology, but at the same time I like to create harmony in my collections. There are pieces in the collection that communicate directly; others are elements which serve the benefit of the whole.
Can you describe your design process?
For each and every collection I like to choose a theme, one that I can link to not only superficially but in a deeper sense as well. The main inspiration is usually coming from a story or a tale. Something that is current and relevant in my life and I enjoy experiencing on a different level and evolve fully.
For example, I love mystical and mythological stories and narratives that carry metaphorical meanings, therefore I suppose they influenced me in my way of approaching my design process.
What was your strategy in building an international presence so quickly?
It wasn’t necessarily about building it quickly, but building it with the right people. I guess the fact that we have really focused on finding the right partners helped us to achieve our goals relatively quickly. Although we are still just at the very beginning of our story.
If someone is new to your brand, what are three staples a client should own?
Coats are always a key element in every collection. Our knits are always an exceptional and a fundamental component. I love structured, chunky and jacquard knits. The third is not necessarily a staple, but more of a design element. Each season we design a selection of prints in house, which are always corresponding with the season’s theme.
Do you have plans to open stand-alone shops in other countries?
Definitely, this is one of our big joint objectives to take the company to a level where we can realistically think about opening a flagship store abroad.
We have some great ideas, now it’s about right time and right place.
Who have been some of your mentors?
I didn’t have a mentor as such, but was very lucky and always received great help along the way. Without this help, I wouldn’t be here today.
Can you share a piece of advice you’ve gotten over the years you would pass on to your peers?