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how toFriday, April 16, 2021

Sandra Sandor Interview: The Nanushka Founder on Her Inspirations, Sustainable Fashion and Nanushka Menswear



Nanushka, the Budapest brand that’s taking fashion by storm. Haven’t heard of it yet? We can only think of two reasons why. Either you don’t have Instagram (weird flex but ok) or you reside on a remote island à la Swiss Family Robinson. Ironically, the latter concept of a nomadic island lifestyle is one that regularly inspires free-spirit Sandra Sandor: the founder and creative director of Nanushka.

The Russian word for grandmother, Nanushka was Sandra’s childhood nickname. As a youngster, she’d struggle to pronounce Sandi and would instead say ‘Nani’, which quickly led to her father dubbing her nanushka — a fitting monicker for the virtuous old soul.

Sandra’s designs, which encapsulate everything from her love of nature to her Hungarian heritage, are habitually simple, sensical and evergreen. Simultaneously strong and dainty; the silhouettes she creates are symbolic of the modern woman. 


And now, Sandra is trying her hand at menswear. Here we speak to Sandra about Nanushka for men, amongst other things such as her muses and the importance of sustainable fashion.

As the founder of the brand, what does Nanushka mean to you? 
I founded Nanushka in 2006 after finishing my studies at London Fashion College. I was very excited about my final theme which was connected to the Bauhaus movement: ‘Form follows function’. This was a notion which quickly became the core of my designs. 
I firmly believe that clothes should elevate you and not restrict you; I think women and men feel and look most beautiful/handsome when they’re at their most comfortable. It’s also very important to me to operate a sustainable business so that I may stick to my values that focus on cherishing and protecting our people and our planet. 
Describe Nanushka's aesthetic in three words…
Modern, effortless and bohemian (in spirit).

Your tagline is ‘Contemporary House for the Modern Human’. Who is the modern human?
To me, a ‘modern human’ is someone who is confident in their values of which they act upon and those who have a bohemian outlook on life. Also, I think a modern human is someone who’s concerned with protecting our planet for future generations. 

Who are your muses?

  • Rooney Mara
  • Brook Shields in Blue Lagoon
  • Christy Turlington
  • Lisa Bonet in Angel Heart 
  • Lifeofboheme
  • Discodaydream


What is your favourite Nanushka piece to wear right now?
At the moment, I really like the Lais dress (which can also be worn as a tunic). I’m also really loving our tailored jackets, and one of my favourites is the Malvin tartan tweed jacket from the menswear collection. It has a slight ‘oversized’ feel and I like pairing it with jeans or vegan leather trousers.

What trends should everyone be investing in, to ready their wardrobe for the new decade?

I think the best way to keep your wardrobe fresh is to invest in key pieces that can be easily mixed and matched with your already existing ones — like a vegan leather dress that could be worn as a dress, a jacket or even a tailored suit. 

Nanushka menswear is set to launch this season. Who is the Nanushka man?
He possesses the same values, the same love of nature and the same modern bohemian nomad qualities as the Nanushka women, of whom he is the perfect match for. And the key thing is that they can share their wardrobes, Nanushka is all about exploring the fluid relationship between men and women.

What are three key pieces from the debut menswear collection that every man should own?
A well-tailored jacket, an overcoat (like the Alamo) and for the upcoming winter months, a cosy jumper in aubergine.

What are three style rules that every man should follow?

  1. Wear a white tee under your shirts.
  2. Always opt for cropped pants.
  3. Don't shave.

If Nanushka had a soundtrack, what would be the first three songs to feature on it?

  • Strollin’ - Prince
  • California - Joni Mitchell
  • People Are Strange - The Doors


Where do you seek inspiration for Nanushka?
I’m usually inspired during my travels; I often reminisce about the places I loved the most during my journeys. When you travel, your mind becomes open, almost like a child, which drives you to take on new ideas. 

Finally, talk about the role of sustainability at Nanushka...

The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, so I feel sustainability is a key subject, especially now. It’s not easy to make overnight changes, it’s more like a step-by-step process in finding the right materials and processes that never ends — you can always find better and more innovative fabrics along the way. 
We have several sustainability initiatives in the company that includes focusing on sourcing organic and environmentally friendly fabrics, using upcycled materials and protecting human resources. Very often people think that sustainability ends with using environmentally friendly materials, but making sure that the factory workers and employees are treated and paid fairly is just as important. 85% of our products are locally produced in Hungary, which cuts back on our carbon footprint and helps us build a transparent supply chain.

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