Veganism meets fashion

April 22, 2018

At AMFI, we often talk about our dreams and plans after graduating. Every student has some ideas for their own career. After our graduation all doors are open but it takes time and patience to find the right place in the varied fashion industry. But where could we go to in the future? In the upcoming months, we will present a series about AMFI graduates who have left the school some years ago and who have successfully gained a foothold in the fashion industry.

Article by first year International Fashion & Branding student Janna Hämpke.

One of them is Dena Simaite. She studied Fashion and Management at AMFI and graduated in 2015. Dena enjoyed her time at AMFI although she still remembers the stressful life of a fashion student. But even though, she appreciated all the aspects AMFI taught her on a theoretical and practical level helping her to manage her own brand “Noumenon” today. Dena knows well how difficult the entrance into the fashion industry can appear as a fashion student but she is convinced that everybody will find their own place in the fashion industry as we all have our own unique gifts and talents.

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While studying at AMFI, Dena wrote a fashion blog giving her the possibilities to have a look into the fashion industry, outside of AMFI, and to get in contact with photographers and models. After her graduation she decided to create her own vegan brand called Noumenon, inspired by the Noumenal world of the German philosopher Kant. Veganism in fashion, a subject Dena has always been fascinated by, was also the topic of her graduation project. By combining ethics and aesthetics, Dena wants to create cruelty-free, durable, but contemporary fashion that is influenced by the 80s and 90s and underlines femininity in a softly elegant way.

In 2016 she finally launched her womenswear brand. In an elegant, white showroom near the Prinsengracht, she presents her collections with modern and minimalistic cuts in warm colours to her customers. With the help of two interns Dena manages her fashion brand everyday. She has to update her website regularly, organise the shippings, taxes and invoices, update the stock list, negotiate the prices and keep contact with magazines which are interested in presenting her outfits in their editorials. Dana also creates the concepts and designs of the collections by herself. They are made of plant-based, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly fabrics, all produced in Europe. Dena describes that for small brands, such as Noumeno”, it is not always easy to find sustainable factories in Europe which have relatively low minimum order quantities. While launching her vegan brand in the fashion market she also noticed the difficulty to find a good balance between being sustainable and producing high-quality, durable fashion, but still offering seasonal, trendy garments in the way that stores request it nowadays.

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During her working day, the young entrepreneur enjoys meeting interesting new clients and inspiring people working in the sustainable industry. Dena has the impression that the sustainable industry is less competitive than the fast fashion industry. Brands support each other and are often open for collaborations.

In April, her brand Noumenon will open a pop-up store in downtown Los Angeles. In the future, Dena can imagine to open her own retail store. Moreover, she would like to launch her first menswear collection in the upcoming years.

We are curious to follow the further successful development of Dena’s brand Noumenon. The story of Noumenon is just beginning!

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