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How designer Misha Nonoo is embracing change

Misha Nonoo designs her clothing with a few things in mind: what her customer does throughout her day, where she lives and where she works. The designer’s eponymous label is meant to reflect a “9 a.m. to 9 p.m.” lifestyle.

That mindset has affected how Nonoo sells her products as well: In September, she forewent a traditional fashion show in favor of an “Instashow,” debuting the items of her spring/summer 2016 collection on Instagram. Everything was available for preorder and went on sale in the spring. Nothing new was shown for the fall/winter season in February allowing the label to focus on the spring line during the actual season.

The decision to sit out the winter season means a full year will go by before she puts out a new line, a risk she can afford to take because her brand is relatively small. It also put her in the same headlines this year as Burberry and Tom Ford.

“I really wanted to change the way I showed my collection,” said Nonoo. “It was born out of a frustration that I felt, as everyone was doing the same thing, everything looked the same, formats were the same. So I thought about how to take that format and think outside of the box.”

Nonoo said that preorders for her collection, when shown on Instagram, performed better than in years’ past, although she declined to give specifics. But she holds the fact up as evidence that the retail industry has become too confusing for the regular customer.

“Fashion shows are a relevant marketing tool, but only if you can enliven them with something that’s fresh,” she said. “You really have to put the customer first, and think about what they want, not what the fashion calendar says.”

In April, Nonoo hired Deep Focus as the company’s creative agency. President Kara O’Neill said that the goal is to use technology to build the storefront of the future. Nonoo wouldn’t say whether or not she’s planning to show her upcoming fall/winter collection on Instagram again, but alluded to similar upcoming schemes.

“You’ll see the development of Misha Nonoo as a truly multi-platform brand and personality — not just an ‘e-commerce play’ — that will manifest in some very surprising ways,” said Ian Schafer, founder of Deep Focus.

“It was a risky move on our part,” she said of the “Instashow.” “But it paid off. I’m a creative person, and as a business person, I have a lot of flaws. But my business perspective is that I understand quite perceptively the culture of change that’s going on right now.”

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