Nun 1970: made-in-Italy ethical womenswear label makes market debut
Nun 1970 is an ethical womenswear label whose products, made using highly sustainable Mongolian cashmere, are designed and manufactured in Italy - in Florence and near Perugia respectively - and are commercialised by the Livia Gregoretti showroom in Milan. Nun 1970 is now premièring on the market with the Fall/Winter 2021-22 collection, and has ambitious global plans.
The label is positioned in the contemporary luxury segment, its collections designed by a creative team whose members have worked for a number of Italian labels. They draw their inspiration from Italy’s craftsmanship tradition and a modernised ‘Ancient Egypt’ style, and the products are made by Italian manufacturer Cariaggi using 100% traceable Mongolian cashmere.
Nun 1970 has been founded by Hany Beshr, a second-generation Egyptian fashion entrepreneur. “It all started in 2015, after I completed a Master’s degree course at Harvard University,” Beshr told FashionNetwork.com. “I volunteered for an educational programme based in six Asian countries, to train researchers and university students. Once I arrived in Mongolia, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape, and I developed a strong bond with the local sheep farming community, whose simplicity and lifestyle I admired. I found it ironic that cashmere, one of the world’s softest and most valuable fabrics, was produced by people who worked and lived in some of the harshest conditions on the planet,” added Beshr.
Beshr wanted to manufacture women's knitwear and apparel while also supporting the Mongolian sheep farming community, and decided to create what he describes as “a fashion label whose goals are sustainability and charity.” He said that “the entire supply chain, except for the cashmere fibre sourced in Mongolia, is based in Italy, minimising CO2 emissions due to transportation. Our aim is to adopt a zero-waste approach, and to recycle all pre-consumer excess yarns.”
In addition, Nun 1970 supports the Agape Organization, a charity that helps Mongolian families and local communities improve their living conditions. Mongolian sheep farmers are instead supported through the Nature Conservancy organization, whose aim is to ensure that raw materials are ethically and sustainably sourced. “We use blockchain technology as the most transparent way to certify our products’ provenance, and to assure customers that we follow supply-chain best practices without engaging in greenwashing, as often happens in the industry,” said Beshr.
Nun 1970’s debut collection consists of 18 items, featuring motifs inspired by Ancient Egyptian symbols of grandeur and power like the serpent, the papyrus flower and the scarab. According to Beshr, the next collection will be much more extensive and varied. The label's name ‘Nun’ derives from the transliteration of the Egyptian hieroglyph for ‘ocean’, but it also means ‘now’ in German, a tribute to the country where Beshr's family first set up in business.
A sign of these pandemic times, Beshr has never been to Italy to meet his design and production teams. “My label has been managed 100% remotely, from the first sketches to the final output. Sooner or later, you’ll have to come to Italy, they used to tell me, but I never did. We were ready for the Spring/Summer 2021, but were forced to postpone our debut to the Fall/Winter 2021-22. It was a minor miracle,” said Beshr.
Nun 1970 has set its sights on a global distribution reach, targeting thousands of potential clients worldwide, chiefly in Europe, Asia, the USA, Russia and the Middle East. “However, the main focus of our debut collection is Italy, for its importance as a tourist destination, and we are planning to open pop-up stores there. The latter will happen in our phase 2 though, first we are concentrating in the wholesale and e-tail channels,” said Beshr, who is also planning to exhibit Nun 1970 at the shows organised by Pitti Immagine.
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