Designer Misha Nonoo on New Motherhood amid COVID-19 and the 'Special' Addition to Her ‘Husband Shirt’
"I've been logging a lot of FaceTime hours with friends, but it’s not the same," new mom Misha Nonoo tells PEOPLE
Designer Misha Nonoo is opening up about adjusting to life as a new mom amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s a wonderful and a happy little boy — we are really blessed,” the New York-based fashion designer tells PEOPLE of her 4-month-old son Leo, whom she welcomed with husband Michael Hess in early March. “It’s very stressful not having your normal life to return to — I knew having a baby would change my life, but I never expected this.”
“I’ve massively missed seeing my friends,” adds Nonoo, who was raised in London and now lives in N.Y.C. “As soon as Leo was born we would have been in the store and seeing friends and been to London by now and, obviously, all of those plans are on hold.”
In the meantime, the new mom has been making an effort to connect with friends virtually.
“I've been logging a lot of FaceTime hours with friends, but it’s not the same. Being a new mom, you need a support network, and I definitely miss having in-person time with my new baby and my friends,” she says. “I miss having my girlfriends to have a laugh with and make light of things. This is a challenging and stressful and discombobulating time, but we have to look forward to the time when we can all be together."
“On the plus side, I’ve really enjoyed the family time that we’ve been able to have," she adds. "My husband, otherwise, would have been working and traveling, so being able to have the three of us at home together has been extraordinary and amazing for his bonding time with our son.”
Nonoo made a big impact across the pond last year when she joined friend Meghan Markle for the launch of the Duchess of Sussex’s Smart Works capsule collection in London. The designer partnered with Meghan on the line, which benefited a women’s charity. In the past year, Nonoo, who launched her fashion label in 2011, opened a pop-up shop in N.Y.C. and cultivated new partnerships for her collection.
Her latest is a collaboration with New York-based accessories brand FryPowers to create a limited edition set of colorful tuxedo studs (available here!) for her iconic Husband Shirt, which Meghan herself wore during her first public appearance alongside Prince Harry at the Toronto Invictus Games in 2017.
“Small details can really elevate an outfit and make it feel personal and special,” Nonoo says. “They are fun pops of color to have for the summer.”
Since welcoming her first child amid the lockdown, Nonoo says she’s gone from wearing hoodies and sweatpants to pairing her go-to sweatpants with her Husband Shirt.
“It’s perfect for breastfeeding, you can just pop it on and off,” she says of the oversized design. “I missed wearing jewelry, but it didn’t seem appropriate to wear anything too fancy. I think of these studs as jewelry on your shirt.”
While Nonoo admits that the lockdown period has been “very difficult” for retailers, she manufactures her styles on-demand, meaning that no item is made until an order is placed. This sustainable approach means she’s not sitting on inventory.
“The idea of sustainability is becoming so critical to our generation,” she previously told PEOPLE. “I support people who are talented or creative, but I think you can use your creativity for ways outside of just designing a pretty dress and think about how you impact the industry and the environment at large.”