Meet The Designer: Nanushka's Sandra Sandor
Meet The Designer: Nanushka's Sandra Sandor

Meet The Designer: Nanushka's Sandra Sandor

In recent years, Budapest-based brand Nanushka has made its mark on the fashion world. Not only have its sustainable designs been a hit with customers, they’ve also redefined the concept of what modern luxury looks like. Here, we sat down with founder and creative director Sandra Sandor to find out more about her pioneering approach.
By Emma Bigger

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I have such fond memories of being around my mother’s fashion business. I grew up surrounded by textiles and designs. I was her fit model and travelled with her to trade fairs and appointments. I’ve always been creative and my early environment encouraged this. I think going into fashion myself was a natural calling.

As the founder and creative director of Nanushka, my role is very hands on. I work closely with my design team in our Budapest atelier on the collection, as well as overseeing our visual brand elements with the team in London. I’m involved in all creative aspects of the brand. Sometimes it can feel like a lot, but I like to be involved as much as possible.

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN CREATIVE since childhood – which is probably why going into fashion felt like such a NATURAL CALLING.

Nanushka is all about craftsmanship, attention to detail and responsible production. Innovative craft, a new heritage mindset and a contemporary bohemian spirit run through everything we do – from our collections and creative projects to our flagship stores and cafés. Creating an unexpected harmony in our garments and spaces, physically and digitally, is what makes Nanushka stand out.

My aim has always been to design for independent women, and as Nanushka has grown internationally, our customer base has evolved too. Locals and A-listers shop in our flagship stores and I hope we continue to appeal to a anyone who shares a common interest in craftsmanship and sustainability.

Michelle Obama has worn our designs a few times. She is the perfect representation of the modern women and always looks amazing. Seeing how she wears our designs is an incredible feeling but seeing any customer in the clothes is always the biggest compliment. 

It took ten years for the brand to receive international recognition. Nanushka is approaching 20 years in business, and I’ve spent a lot of time recently reflecting on our journey. I started building Nanushka locally with one store in Budapest and a few European wholesalers and now we have three flagship stores and wholesale partners all over the world. 

Social media has helped us evolve. Before social media, fashion brands had to be based in the major fashion capitals but anyone outside of this world had very little chance of surviving. Now, all brands, big and small, use social media as a marketing tool and it has changed the entire industry. 

I’ve stayed true to my core design principle, and I have never compromised – this has helped us establish ourselves as a reputable brand with a cult following. We want people to feel welcome and we want to feel accessible. I like to call it ‘new luxury’ – somewhere everyone belongs that isn’t intimidating.

There have been some incredible moments for the brand over the years. We did our first ever presentation during New York Fashion Week in 2018. It was such a special time for me as a designer and for the brand – I was in a major fashion capital showing my AW19 collection surrounded by highly respected industry names. Also, opening our London Flagship store and café in a beautiful grade ll-listed Mayfair townhouse was a real ‘pinch me’ moment.

My personal style is defined by comfort and functionality. Day-to-day I dress pretty much the same. I have a toddler to chase after, so I need to be comfortable. An oversized shirt layered over a simple white t-shirt is my go-to on busy days. 

I love browsing vintage stores for new pieces for my wardrobe. Of course, I wear a lot of Nanushka, and my purchases are fewer and further between since I became a mother two years ago. My style icons are also changing as I get older but pieces from Phoebe Philo’s Celine days, Jil Sander and The Row are still the ones I treasure. I don’t know if there are any secrets to great style – I always think someone looks great when they seem confident in themselves, and their outfit reflects their personality.

There isn’t a BIG FASHION SCENE IN BUDAPEST, but Hungary has a proud textile industry. Being based there gives me access to local producers and allows me to work DIRECTLY WITH SUPPLIERS.

My five wardrobe essentials would be a great coat, a hardworking blazer, an everyday bag like our Origami tote, jeans and a piece of statement jewellery. Investing in a few hardworking pieces for your wardrobe is so rewarding, and if you focus on personal style and quality over trends, you will slowly build a collection of pieces that work for you and make you feel both comfortable and confident.

There isn’t a big fashion scene in Budapest, but Hungary has a proud textile heritage and industry. Being based in Budapest gives me access to local producers and communities, and it allows me to work directly with suppliers. I take inspiration from Hungarian craftsmanship and traditions as they are familiar to me – traditional techniques in embroidery, symbols and detailing like ceramic buttons feature heavily in my designs.

We have an exclusive alternative to leather called OKOBORTM which doesn’t involve the use of animal skins and derivatives. It has allowed us to reduce the water footprint of this material by 80% and the carbon footprint by 20%. In addition to finding solutions at a fabric stage, we ensure our product lifecycle can be prolonged. We are working with SOJO in the UK to provide a repair and creative mending service that will allow our customers to enjoy every Nanushka item in their wardrobe for a long time. 



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