Naissant reimagines the marriage of form and function
The pandemic has created one of the biggest unemployment crises in the history of the U.S., and fashion industry employees have certainly not been immune. But when Luciana Rozenberg lost her job in March, she decided it was time to go full-in on her own business.
As the founder and creative director of Naissant NYC, Rozenberg has to find the perfect balance between style and utility in every bag. She heads a team of three from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, steering her nascent company with her fashion expertise. Here is what she had to say about her company’a launch, mission and philosophy.
What is your background in luxury fashion?
I started working in evening wear at Zac Posen as a production intern six years ago, when I first moved to New York. I interned for a few other fashion brands, including Marchesa, where I worked as an embroidery design intern directly under Keren Craig. Two days after I graduated from FIT, I was hired at Marchesa. I worked there for a few years and then moved on to Theia, where I was in charge of all embroidery developments.
Why did you decide to start Naissant? What is the significance of the name?
The idea behind Naissant (which means “rebirth” or “evolution”) started after a conversation with my roommate Kelly a few years ago. As she headed off to work with her worn-out, simple, basic, black tote and a reusable tote she got with a purchase from a store, I realized that there was a niche in the market that wasn’t being fulfilled: functional and stylish accessories. I could only find one or the other; there was nothing that would combine both. As a very organized person that is always looking to get the most out of the products I buy, I set out to create a line of accessories that was going to set a new standard in handbags and be highly functional but also so stylish and consciously-produced. I also decided the line was going to be modular in order to be as versatile as possible and allow the customer the freedom to mix and match according to their needs and preferences.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
The pandemic is the reason why I ended up launching Naissant! Back in March, the company I was working for closed its offices, and we were all furloughed. Thus, for the first time in many years, I was able to work full time on Naissant. Despite all the risks of launching a new business during a pandemic, I decided to keep moving forward, and seven months later, I launched it!
What distinguishes your brand aesthetic from other luxury brands?
Modularity is a key point of difference. I wanted to give our customers the opportunity to mix, match and combine different products to create a look unique to them.
Which bags are part of your everyday life?
I use the Celeste Wallet triad for whenever I need to carry only the essentials, like to run an errand, a night out or when I bike around Williamsburg. For a weekend stroll, I love the Paloma Box Bag, because it’s perfect to use from day to night. So if I’m not sure what the day will bring, I know the Paloma will be perfect for anything. Finally, I use the Mina Bag every time I have a weekend getaway or if I need to carry my laptop and all my tech essentials.
What do you always take with you when you leave the house?
Before the pandemic, it was always my phone, keys and wallet. I would repeat those three words every time I would leave my apartment. But now, I’ve added a mask and hand sanitizer to my list!
How do you ensure that your products are eco-friendly? Can you describe your process of staying carbon neutral?
The eco-friendly practices start from the design of the products. All of the leathers we use are by-product, vegetable-tanned and certified by the Leather Working Group, who ensure that the tanneries are compliant with sustainable practices. Our dust bags, hang tag strings and the linings of the bags are made out of 100% organic cotton. All our hardware is nickel free and is coated with 12 karat gold. Our packaging is made out of recycled materials and is 100% recyclable.
We also partnered with Carbon Fund Organization in order to be 100% carbon neutral. At the end of the year, we will provide all the information regarding domestic and international shipments as well as our energy consumption, and Carbon Fund will help us calculate, reduce and offset any carbon emitted into the world.
Part of the Naissant mission is donating to women’s education; which organization(s) do you support, and how much do you give?
We strongly believe that education can help women to escape poverty and abusive environments; therefore, we support CARE Organization (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere), which has a special dedication to women’s education around the world. Three percent of all proceeds will be donated toward this organization.
On a personal level, I’ve also been supporting Plan International for a few years now, where I sponsor Nepalese girls’ education.
What’s coming up next?
I’m working on the designs for the new collection that will be launched during the first quarter of 2021, and I couldn’t be more excited about them! We’ll be adding new categories, including a weekender, a backpack and a series of small accessories.
Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?
Launching a brand during a global pandemic was probably one of the boldest moves I’ve ever made in my life, especially considering I’m a woman, funded the brand on my own and an immigrant [from Argentina]. COVID-19 has impacted so many people’s jobs and careers, and I want to encourage people to follow their passion, despite how scary and challenging it may seem.