Nanushka: Sustainable Fashion with Vegan Leather & Upcycled Materials

Nanushka vegan leather
© Nanushka

Hungarian brand Nanushka was founded in 2006 by Sandra Sandor, who had then just completed her BA in Fashion Design. From the beginning, the luxury fashion brand had a focus on sustainability, making many of its garments (which include shirts, skirts, and jackets) with vegan leather.

While faux leather was nothing new when Nanushka was founded, many of the options available at the time weren’t convincing. But the softness and suppleness of one fabric sample stuck out to Sandor, and she began using it in her collections.

For a long time, this brand operated under the radar, but gained traction in 2016 after the founder met her now fiance, the entrepreneur Peter Baldaszti. After becoming CEO, Baldaszti brought in GB & Partners Investment Management.

Having secured funding, the brand finally took off. It now has three brick-and-mortar stores in New York, Budapest, and most recently London. In 2019-20, Nanushka grew by 15 percent despite the pandemic.

Nanushka vegan leather
© Nanushka

Nanushka is not an entirely vegan brand, but the animal-derived fabrics it used are mostly recycled — it uses leather regenerated from scraps, for instance. The company aims to avoid virgin sources and is working towards making all its fabrics traceable.

Sandor claims its materials have a third of the impact of conventional leather. The company is also working towards making it partially from recycled materials. But unlike many brands, it has not announced plans to use more natural leather alternatives such as those made from mushrooms, apple pulp, or cactuses.

The company has a sustainability team that evaluates its products, and its aim is to be sustainable without compromising on quality or aesthetics.

“What we have learned is not that vegan leather is above all, but that there is a huge demand for more sustainable, more innovative fabrics,” CEO Peter Baldaszti told the Financial Times.