Antwerp based designer Noenoe Roevens started Nunu Activewear after having difficulty finding activewear that felt both effortless and elegant. Inspired by her idea of a modern woman, she set out to design feminine and elegant activewear with a slight urban, funky edge that feels effortless while wearing.
Mentored by Maureen De Clercq, who teaches at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Noenoe developed her own personal style and started bringing her idea of the Nunu Woman to life. With every collection she thrives to embody the multifaceted lifestyle of empowered women.
Sustainability plays a central role in her designs. Noenoe truly believes in the opportunity a circular economy brings and implements this vision in every piece she designs. Furthermore, her vision is made tangible across the business cycle. She was the first Belgian designer to use biodegradable polybags as a way of packaging her clothing. She has been acknowledged by multiple institutions for her efforts in making sustainable products the rule rather than the exception.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how NUNU started
I have always had a great passion for yoga and sports. Six years ago, I went to a yoga retreat and I had difficulty finding activewear that was sleek, and sophisticated. That is when I decided to design my own collection, to fill that need for the modern woman. I knew that it had to be sustainable, feminine, and elegant, with a slight urban, funky edge.
When designing a collection, what inspires you?
The NUNU woman inspires me most. When I think of the NUNU woman, she is hard working, fashionable, travels, and loves quality clothing. However, most importantly, she is too busy to change from her activewear during the day, and therefore needs a look that is versatile enough to wear from the gym to her next appointment.
Additionally, I am inspired by shapes, graphics, and clean cuts. I love working with similar colours from each collection but use them in different designs and cuts. The fabric is also crucial when designing my collections. It has to fall and feel effortlessly and luxuriously.
How do you contribute to a sustainable world?
Contributing to a sustainable world is very important to me. I make conscious choices to become more sustainable in each step of our production process. NUNU ACTIVEWEAR designs one collection a year, however we change the colors for both the winter and summer collections. That way less fabrics are ordered, and we have little to no excess. Additionally, the collections are made to order, therefore we do not over produce. We also work with a fabric production company that also has a strong sustainability commitment with their process’.
Moreover, our design philosophy is to design studio to lifestyle clothing. Our customers only need to wear one outfit a day, rather than washing and wearing both their gym clothes and ready wear outfits. Additionally, our collections are also called “Warm up – Cool down.” Both the winter and summer collections can be paired and mixed with each other. Therefore, our customers can continue to re-use items from previous seasons.
Other sustainable choices include our recycled materials. For example, I am the first activewear designer to have used biodegradable polybags from our excess fabrics. Additionally, we use recycled fabrics for our products, recycled woven labels, as well as recycled hangtags. I also pack and ship everything with the same boxes that are shipped to us.
Our future sustainability goals include changing any of our stationary, including our business cards, to recycled materials. We continue to search for recycled fabrics, and better choices to help contribute to a sustainable world.
What about the luxurious materials are innovative and technical?
The luxurious materials are innovative and technical because many of our fabrics have the following:
- UV Protection
- Are breathable
- Have muscle control
- Offer excellent coverage
- Create a perfect fit
- Are piling resistant
- Offer extra comfort, and are ultra-soft
The collections are sleek and timeless, and work for ready-to-wear/athleisure edits also. Is this a conscious decision and why?
Yes, timeless and chic is very important to me.
This new collection presents the feminine French woman that is elegant, bold, and cosmopolitan. Within the collection, you can find both the sporty and prêt-à-porter woman.
Can you tell us a little bit about your fitness regime?
I try to work out almost every day with some cardio, weights and especially some sun salutations to relieve stress and stretching. Stretching for me is very important, as it not only feels great, but also softens the body. I of course have always been a great fan of Hot Yoga and enjoy reformer Pilates from time to time. Recently, I have been exposed to aqua cycling classes, at Aqua Studio, which I would love to incorporate more for the lymphatic benefits. I highly recommend it! When I’m traveling, I like to try classes that are unique to the cities, such as the Tracy Anderson method in New York.
How do you stay focused and mindful in your everyday life?
I love my job! I design from the heart and that gives me the energy in my everyday life.