It might sound highly unlikely that a 13-year-old brand based out of Budapest would transform from a local Hungarian business into a powerful force in the global fashion industry in just a matter of months, but this is the story of Nanushka. I first heard of the brand in October 2017 when a chestnut-colored vegan leather padded jacket suddenly became a firm fixture on my Instagram feed—even that sounds like an unlikely start to a major retail success. 10 months later, I see Nanushka's croc-stamped belt bags, polka-dot dresses, and tie-waist jeans at least once a day on Instagram.
Nanushka is part of a new breed of contemporary brands, which, thanks to their sharp pricing and distinctive designs, are proving big business for the likes of Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa.com. Independent labels can now reach an international audience within seconds, but it's not merely down to a fluke of scrolling that women from Copenhagen to Atlanta are all wearing Nanushka. Building an Instagram brand is more than just thinking of a memorable hashtag, as I quickly realized when talking with founder Sandra Sandor at her shop in Budapest. "Even though we're a local brand from Eastern Europe, Instagram gives us the opportunity to become an international brand," says Sandra. "Ten or 15 years ago it was so much more difficult to get recognition or get to people, and so it really helps brands all bounce up from the same level."