BUDAPEST, Hungary — Only two years ago, Nanushka was a little known Hungarian label. But investment from a private equity firm and clever marketing on social media platforms like Instagram, which show women from Copenhagen to Atlanta dressed in the brand’s coveted designs, boosted the locally operated business into a global sought-after brand with stockists ranging from Net-a-Porter to Bergdorf Goodman.
Now, the brand is gearing up to launch menswear for Autumn/Winter 2019 at New York Fashion Week in February.
Drawing inspiration from the women’s collection, which will be presented alongside, many of the looks will comprise masculinised versions of core pieces, such as the “Alamo” oversized robe coat and “Hide” puffer jackets made from vegan leather, which, according to buyers such as Net-a-Porter’s Elizabeth Von Der Goltz and Liberty’s Alexandra Gordon, have been bestsellers. There will also be a range of shirts and knitwear inspired by classic and sportswear styles.
While Nanushka has not yet finalised its menswear stockists, it plans to work with at least one retailer in each of its key markets.
Founded by London College of Fashion graduate Sandra Sandor in 2005, Nanushka began as a small atelier in Budapest, largely made possible by the connections of Sandor’s mother, a former childrenswear designer. However, the brand was largely “under the radar,” as Sandor puts it, until November 2016 when her then-boyfriend, now fiancé, Peter Baldaszti joined the company as chief executive and co-invested with venture capital firm GB & Partners, injecting $3 million into the business.
The duo saw an opportunity in menswear after receiving requests from existing customers and also discovering that men were buying from their women’s line. While still in keeping with Nanushka’s contemporary price point, where a midi dress costs £490 (about $618) or a pair of wide-leg jeans £270 ($340), Baldaszti says that menswear will be “slightly more expensive” due to the use of pricier materials such as Japanese textiles and silk-blend fabrics. The decision, adds Sandor, was in response to a perceived difference in consumer behaviour for men. “Maybe [men] shop less, but when they do, they invest a little bit more.”
Nanushka, which has a team of 70, is part of a new breed of contemporary brands with competitive pricing and distinctive designs that are finding success online. Social media platforms like Instagram, where Nanushka has over 160,000 followers, have enabled it to reach a far-ranging international audience within seconds, says Sandor. “It’s a real game-changer because, a few years ago, brands from cities outside fashion capitals would have a very low chance to succeed or to stand out.”
Today, the label is stocked at 200 doors in over 30 countries worldwide, including Selfridges, Browns, Net-a-Porter, Liberty, MyTheresa, Bergdorf Goodman and Nordstrom. The company expects to close this year with revenues of over €10 million (of which 75 percent is driven by wholesale), up from €2.5 million in 2017 and €1 million the previous year. It also turned profitable for the first time in the second quarter of 2018, expecting to close the year with an EBITDA of approximately €1 million.
Looking ahead, Baldaszti hopes that in three years' time menswear will account for 25 percent of overall revenue, which he forecasts will double in 2019 to reach above €20 million.