Nuremberg, Germany-based designer, Nadia Izruna is the creative genius behind the women’s fashion label Nadinoo. Izruna lives and designs in an enchanted world of femininity, frills, and exquisite taste. She carefully designs and sews each and every piece in her collection. When I saw her use of bold colors, prints, and silhouettes, and found out we shared a style icon (the fabulous Zooey Deschanel), I immediately fell in love. Nadinoo celebrates the “lady from eras gone by” and adds a bit of oomph for the lady of today. More than just a designer, Nadia Izruna is a woman with the guts and guile to make it on her own in the often brutal world of fashion. Not only is she making it, but she’s doing it with style.
SB: Describe a typical day in your life.
NI: Well, every day must start with a nice cup of English tea. I take it upstairs to my desk in the studio to check how Nadinoo.com is doing and answer any important emails. I then begin making my orders for the day while listening to the radio with the occasional outburst of singing as I sew. I usually have to nip into town to buy trims, fabrics, etc. and do other odd jobs like posting orders.
Most days I forget to eat breaky until 11 a.m., so my late afternoon lunch happily coincides with a daily dose of Gilmore Girls and another cup of tea.
Then back up to the studio to check emails and post some inspiration on the Nadinoo blog, then finally finishing off any garments in time to cook a meal for my partner and me to enjoy when he gets home. Indeed it is a glamorous life …
SB: How would you describe your personal style?
NI: I set up Nadinoo with the aim of wearing each and every design I make, so I guess my style is reflected in my collections. I mix and match Nadinoo dresses and tops with vintage shoes, hats, and other favorites with the odd designer piece thrown in. I would probably describe my style as cutesy and feminine during the day with a vintage glam feel at night when dressing up. I really love indulgent silks sequins and feathers at the moment, all of which I managed sneak into the Autumn/Winter ’09 collection.
SB: When and how was your passion for fashion born?
NI: In college, when I began to study textiles and fashion, I was definitely attracted to the conceptual designers with a real interest in sculptural form. I would poor over Hussein Chalayan and Rei Kawakubo’s collections. Later on in university, I became fascinated with Japanese designers and the art of experimental pattern cutting, which I explored in my final collection. Although none of this has made its way through into Nadinoo, I still have plans of launching a higher-end conceptual line under my surname Izruna.
SB: Who is your target customer?
NI: Nadinoo is for the girl who adores unique and pretty clothing, and enjoys dressing up to feel like a precious lady.
SB: When did you know that you just had to be a designer?
NI: I think the knowledge was always there as every process just felt entirely natural. I do remember sitting in class at school dreaming of one day having my own clothing label in a little boutique somewhere. I have still to fulfill the final part but with a pending move to a big city, there is every chance it may happen soon.
SB: What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
NI: I would definitely recommend gaining as much work experience as possible and starting as early as you can, try contacting all size companies, too. You are likely to gain invaluable knowledge that will help you find your first design job and give you an insight into the industry.
SB: If any celebrity could wear your clothes, whom would you choose?
NI: I watched 500 Days of Summer while visiting the UK last week, which completely renewed my love for Zooey Deschanel. Her style is perfect for Nadinoo—fun, playful, and quirky. I can definitely see her in the new Autumn/Winter collection.
SB: If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
NI: I always wished I could sing; sometimes after a few vinos I take to the karaoke stage and really think I can … But aside from that, all my passions and skills are heavily invested in fashion; I would be happy doing anything from being a fashion editor to styling as long as pretty clothes are near.
SB: What are the challenges you face as a small business?
NI: I think exposure and finance are the two main challenges any small business has to face and deal with on a day-to-day basis, in the first few years at least. I have been very lucky so far with the first. Nadinoo has had some wonderful online exposure in its first year of being launched. I think the finances will stabilize once the label has found its feet, hopefully in coming years. I most certainly think the passion and doing what I love every day keeps me excited and motivated. When I look back to earlier this year and realize all I have accomplished with Nadinoo, I am even more excited for the future.
SB: What role do you think designers have in the fashion industry at large?
NI: I would say the role of a designer is huge—all concepts, ideas, and trends stem from the designers of which they pour into their seasonal collections. I think it all starts from the runway shows and the rest of the industry follows.
SB: Where do you shop?
NI: I have a weakness for French designer labels like Chloe, Comptoir des Cotonniers, APC, and Cacharel—I could shop there forever if my bank would allow. I also enjoy hunting down beautiful vintage pieces in flea markets, secondhand shops, and even charity shops. I found the loveliest floral playsuit in Oxfam the other day!
SB: Can you describe how a design goes from your head to your hands?
NI: For me it begins with the fabric; using lovely Liberty of London prints gives me such an inspiring starting point. I can usually imagine the silhouette and final garment by looking and feeling the fabric. When I first started, I would start pattern cutting straight away with no sketch, just a loose idea in my head. The designs would change and evolve with each process—such a refreshing way to work after working in industry. Now I try to draft the collection to see how the colors, silhouettes, and fabrics all work together; this also helps coordinating the looks.
Then I order the fabrics, wash them, and begin the pattern cutting process. I usually only make two prototypes before cutting out and sewing the sample in the final fabric. As I try to keep my designs commercial and wearable, I use a small selection of block patterns across the range, which are then adapted to each design. As I manage every stage in the process myself, I try to keep things simple and manageable so it does not get too overwhelming.
As overwhelming as designing, sewing, and running your own business can get, Izruna is managing just fine and enjoying the success that comes along with doing what she loves. From the pages of Etsy, to the streets of London, New York, and Germany, Nadinoo designs are redefining what it means to be equally feminine yet powerful and stylish yet simple. Hopefully one day Ms. Deschanel herself will rock Nadinoo; I’d bet my last dollar it will happen sooner rather than later.
Read the previous edition of Behind the Seams.
Behind the Seams is a series focusing on designers who are breaking the mold with their unique perspective on women’s fashion. If you would like to suggest a worthy designer, please send it in care of the editor to email@example.com for consideration.