Shift Meets: Finn Schonfelder

Get to know the designer and co-founder of streetwear brand Nalu […]

Co-founder of Nalu Finn Schonfelder describes his little recluse in West London as the place “where the magic happens.” The double bedroom studio space is small in typical London fashion, but it provides comfort all the while. I immediately noticed the clothing racks and shelves thoroughly stacked with Nalu pieces, from the star embroidered baggy jorts, to graphic tees, marked with the brand’s iconic logo. 

Schonfelder, who spent many of his childhood years travelling the world, recalls the first time he was inspired to create Nalu. “The concept for Nalu started in India. My family and I were travelling in India at the time, and we were visiting local schools in these poverty stricken areas,” he says. “We came to the discovery that these kids often would have to drop out of school because they couldn’t afford a school uniform. I wanted to create something to help them. And I saw Nalu as the vehicle to do that. That’s the concept: my love for fashion, and my caring for bringing knowledge.”

Ten years on, the Netherlands born entrepreneur continues to make waves in the global fashion scene, instilling the core values of Nalu by contributing to the sustainability movement. Additionally, with the fashion industry being so widespread, Schonfelder highlighted the importance of utilising the power of the industry in order to build one’s own brand. “[Fashion] is one of the biggest industries on the planet. Millions and millions of people rely on it to live, and billions of people utilise it every single day. So, if you can encapsulate some of that power, and turn it into something beneficial for others, it’s going to be very strong.” 

Schonfelder recognises the difference in the clothing market, particularly between Europe, America and Asia, and how challenging it can be to represent each continent on the same stage, yet in an individual way. “It’s tough balancing them all. I think it just comes back to your purpose as a brand, and really aligning with the values of your people, right?” he says pensively. “Within those markets, it’s about encapsulating within the minds of the people that care about the things that I care about, and that Nalu cares about, which is quality, impact, and excellence.”

When asked why people should be shopping at Nalu, Schonfelder had a lot to say for the quality and sustainability of the clothing, which is always a positive note in today’s fashion climate.“When you choose Nalu you’re actually choosing sustainability, because you’re choosing to wear slow fashion and meaningful fashion. So that’s the first thing.”

The co-founder was (obviously) dressed head-to-toe in some staple Nalu pieces, and the clothing most certainly speaks for itself – from the wash of the denim to the red embroidery stitching accented along the seams of the jeans – it’s easy to see that Nalu is a brand that effectively highlights the quality of its clothes.

Nalu recently hosted an event in celebration of its 10 year anniversary. The pop up shop was held in London, and was well received by streetwear fans and loyal customers alike. Schonfelder is certain, even in spite of Nalu’s growth in community over the years, the core of the brand remains. “The reason why we started about 10 years ago is still the very same reason why we’re doing it today.” With family at the forefront of his mind, Schonfelder also expresses his gratitude to his sister Dali, who is its co-founder and Press Manager. “My sister has been a very, very pivotal factor of Nalu’s growth,” he says. “This is also why I do it, for my family as well.”

As a final question, I asked the young entrepreneur how he’d celebrate Nalu’s inevitable global powerhouse status, and he simply responded by saying  “through the work.” Ultimately, the drive and passion behind Nalu from Schonfelder includes his sister’s vision as well as a dedicated team that is inspired by community. “It’s not going to be me on a beach, having a cigar and a sex on the beach,” Schonfelder adds. “Some people want that; I want to become greater and greater, and I want to just keep chasing the best version of myself.”

You can see Nalu’s most recent collections either on their instagram @naluclo or his website: https://www.nalu.com/.

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