With royal appearances and a CAFA nom, the House of NONIE has established itself as one of the most exciting emerging design houses in the country. Led by Calgary alum Nina Kharey, the ethically developed, modern womenswear brand has brought new life to the Canadian fashion scene. Kharey’s line of neutral colour pieces effortlessly transfer from work to weekend, flawlessly integrating into any wardrobe.

Manufactured in Vancouver with a showroom in Toronto, NONIE has transcended into a truly Canadian brand. We sat down with the designer to learn more about her coveted brand.

NONIE launched in 2008 and quickly has achieved great success. Could you walk me through the timeline of the brand (how you started, the big highlights, etc)?

I started the line in 2008 as a hobby then took a couple of years off to have my daughter. After maternity leave, I returned to work, but found myself wanting to design more and more. It wasn’t until I met Barbara Atkin, Holt Renfrew’s fashion director at the time, I felt the confidence to go after my dream full time. After that, I was able to gain a lot of great attention in Canada, and in turn have a few incredible and memorable moments, including dressing The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, being nominated for a CAFA in both 2017 and 2019, and showing for the past 2 consecutive seasons at NYFW.

 

How do you think the line has evolved over the past decade?

Over the last ten years, the line really refined its ethos – minimal elevated pieces inspired by eastern heritage.

 

How would you define the NONIE woman?

The NONIE woman has an appreciation for luxury, specifically in modern silhouettes capturing timeless designs.

 

NONIE takes inspiration from menswear but maintains a certain feeling of elegance and femininity. What attracts you to this style? How would you define femininity?

I’ve always loved menswear for myself. There’s a certain type of confidence I feel in such strong but minimal lines. I’ve also loved the simplicity and how easy it is to mix with other designers and style differently. Femininity to me is the confidence a woman exudes when she feels like the best version of herself.

 

NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 08: A model walks the runway for the Nonie fashion show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Gallery II at Spring Studios on February 8, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Nonie)

 

You’ve now presented two collections at NYFW. Can you describe that experience for me? How does it feel to have your clothes presented on an international stage?

It’s amazing. It’s the biggest show and time of the year for designers like us now. There’s a lot of people to meet and connect with there, and you can truly feel the entire buzz of the city come alive.

 

The Duchess of Sussex has been spotted in your designs. What has that recognition been like?

Seeing the Duchess of Sussex appear in NONIE was a truly incredible experience. Her influence garnered global attention and has since opened a lot of doors for us. NYFW became a reality after the recognition from Meghan. To this day, we still receive a lot of unique hits on our site and online sales have continuously grown.

 

What is currently inspiring you?

The older women around me – my mom, grandmother, my ancestors. The amount of hard work and sacrifice is really inspiring, in many ways creatively as well!

 

What have been the most important lessons you’ve learned since starting NONIE?

Stay persistent but stay patient too. Trust the process and keep pushing.

 

What aspirations do you have for NONIE? What do you hope to accomplish next?

From here I would like to continue growing the company over the next year. I’m focused on adding a couple of resources to help with sales and marketing. I would like to also continue growing throughout the US with additional retailers and invest in building relationships with stylists throughout the country.

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