Global Young Designer Spotlight: Misha Nonoo

Misha Nonoo is a woman on a mission to streamline your wardrobe. The sustainable fashion designer let us in on her biggest milestones, role models and worst piece of advice she’s ever received.

Nonoo is a woman on a mission. Her eponymous

fashion brand doesn’t just sell womenswear, it
sells a concept: waste less – less time, less money and less
material. Everything is made to order, eliminating the risk of
overproduction and the collection is centred around “The Easy 8”:
eight monochromatic separates that can be used to create a minimum
of 22 looks.

She believes that if you streamline your wardrobe and invest in
her pieces, you’ll not only save time and money but also help push
the fashion industry towards a sustainable future. She’s not alone
in her mission. Misha has a number of high-profile friends who’ve
got behind her brand, including Meghan Markle. The Duchess of
Sussex wore Misha’s now famous Husband Shirt (the shirt that
“sealed the deal”) during her first public appearance with Prince

Don’t expect Misha to brag about her connections, however. She’s
as discreet and polished as the looks her brand touts. Her focus is
empowering women
, changing the fashion industry and yes, making
sure her dog, Thatcher, approves of Mikey, her fiance.


Misha Nonoo (pronounced: new new)


Bahrain, London
and Paris


York City

Type of brand:

On-demand womenswear

Where can we find you?

Exclusively sold on

Where did you grow up?

I was born in the Middle East, in Bahrain. My father is
Iraqi-Jewish, my mother is English. I lived in Bahrain until I was
10, then moved to London. When I was 19, I lived in Paris for two
years. I finished university there, studying international business
with French and then I moved to New York when I was 23. So I’ve
been in New York for the past 10 years and I love it. It’s where my
parents met, so I guess it’s always been on my radar.

How has your upbringing shaped your brand?

Paris had a big effect on me aesthetically but my time in the
Middle East shaped my brand’s mission. There are so many women
living there who aren’t empowered, who don’t grow up with options.
I’m a designer yes, but my business is really about allowing a
woman to move seamlessly throughout her day. It’s about giving her
autonomy and allowing her to fulfil whichever role she wants to
fulfil, whether that’s being a stay-at-home mum or a financier.

How did Misha Nonoo start?

Truthfully, it started before I had a business plan. It started
before I even had a business name. I was sitting at a restaurant on
the Lower East Side one day wearing a sample I’d made. A lady
sitting two tables away came over and asked where my jacket was
from. I told her I’d made it myself and she asked if I’d made
anything else. I met her at her office at Intermix that Wednesday with a suitcase of samples and
she wrote me a cheque on the spot.

How has your brand evolved?

We launched in New York eight years ago as wholesale only. We
were a traditional fashion brand in that we did four collections a
year and sold to major department stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Shopbop etc. Yet as I saw how the
fashion industry was changing, especially how social media was
changing retail, I decided to wrap all my wholesale accounts after
about five and a half years of business and go fully
direct-to-consumer. That meant changing our manufacturing process
entirely. We’re now a sustainable fashion brand in the sense that
we eliminate all waste. We don’t produce any inventory. Each piece
is made-to-order, then shipped from our female-led factory. Our
recent pop-up shop in London was an inventory-less showroom. I
genuinely think that’s the future of fashion.

What have been the biggest milestones in your career?

Landing our first wholesale account; that was a big one. Another
was being part of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund. I got a lot of
interesting, conflicting advice. Andrew Rosen from Theory, Anna
Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg – they all told me different things,
and so my takeaway was that you have to stick to your guns.

Another major milestone was the Instagram show we did in 2015. I
enlisted 33 friends and friends of friends who had influence on the
platform. Everyone from Lena Dunham to Olivia Palermo to Meghan
Markle posted a picture of themselves in the collection within a
12-hour window, and for every post we made a donation in their
honor to Women for Women, a really worthwhile charity that supports
women’s education around the world but particularly in refugee

Another milestone was going direct-to-consumer, and another was
online manufacturing. There have been so many milestones and each
one has helped galvanise me to take risks in the next chapter. I
haven’t ever really stuck to the plan – that may be a good thing,
it might not be a good thing. I guess I don’t really know any other

Can you talk about the events you put on at your recent pop-up
store in Marylebone?

We did one on women’s leadership and empowerment that was
fascinating. Samantha Cameron, Dame Helena Morrissey, Caroline Rush
CEO of the British Fashion Council, Sue Jones creative director of
Oka all spoke – their insights were very interesting.

Our fashion sustainability event was great too. Having the
pop-up in Marylebone has taught me so much about our customer:
where she comes from, what she does, where she goes. I’ve loved
having a store. The next one will be in New York from September
through to December.
We’re doing LA in the first quarter of next year, and then we’ll
decide where we will be permanent from there.

Who are your biggest role models?

It changes all the time depending on my phase of life. When I’m
in businesswoman mode, I look to someone like Dame Helena
Morrissey. She’s had a prolific career, nine children, an
extraordinary partnership with her husband and started the 30% Club
which has been very successful in increasing female leadership on
boards and in senior management. My role models have changed but
they’ve always been strong women who care about their career,
family and philanthropic legacy, women who know what they want and
go after it passionately.

Does your fiancé Mikey look to you for style advice and has his
wardrobe changed at all since you’ve been together?

Yes. He’s incredibly sweet because he will often just wear what
I give him. Things appear in his wardrobe and then become his go-to
pieces. My collection is really designed around how a man dresses.
How he has those five button downs that he loves, those two
blazers, those three pairs of trousers and that one suit he relies
on. I wear separates – and the best-selling pieces in the
collection are always separates – and I think it’s because I always
think about that rotation.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Let me give you the worst piece of advice I’ve ever received.
I’ve always been very happy that I’ve ignored it. To hire your
weaknesses. Everyone says hire your weaknesses like it’s some easy
fix. But unless you understand the job you’re hiring for, it’s
really hard to hire for that position successfully. I’m not saying
that you have to be an accountant to hire someone who’s working in
finance but you have to have a good understanding of what the job
takes. Related to that, a great piece of advice is to hire slowly,
fire quickly. Think thoroughly before you bring someone on board
but if it’s not working out let them go quickly.

Does Thatcher approve of Mikey? Have they bonded?

When they first got together… I mean when we first got together,
she was very territorial. Whenever he’d stay at our apartment she’d
sulk. Then I think she realised that this one was going to stay.
Now that Mikey and I are very much a permanent thing, she always
runs to the door to greet him and asks for a belly rub – I think
they’re best friends.

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