Designer Misha Nonoo has read ‘The Alchemist’ five times

The fashion designer known for dressing British royals takes our career questionnaire.

Designer Misha Nonoo has read ‘The Alchemist’ five times
[Illustration: Bartosz Kosowski]

Fast Company: What’s your best habit, and your worst?


Misha Nonoo: My best is my discipline and that I practice daily meditation. My worst is my capacity for procrastination.

FC: What advice are you glad you ignored?

MN: “Hire to your weaknesses.” It’s every entrepreneur’s dream to pass off the aspects of the business that they don’t feel comfortable with, but until you fully understand how something needs to be done, it is hard to hire the right team to execute for you.

FC: What advice would you give your younger self?

MN: Don’t be so impatient. Everything you wish for will happen at the right time.


FC: Is there a businessperson you admire?

MN: Oprah created an empire and stayed true to herself while doing it. She has certainly overcome obstacles, but she’s made it look effortless.

FC: What’s the best mistake you ever made?

MN: I don’t consider it a mistake if you learn from it.

FC: When I’m creatively stuck, I . . .


MN: Take a walk with my dog, Thatcher. I come up with my best ideas in the fresh air and return to the office feeling reenergized.

FC: What buzzword do you never want to hear again?

MN: Curate is the most overused word. I hear it applied to everything, and I feel as though it barely makes sense anymore.

FC: Is there a book you recommend to everyone?

MN: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. I have read it at least five times, and each time I discover new wisdom in its pages.


FC: What was your career fork in the road?

MN: At university, I studied a language as part of my international business degree. I chose Italian, but a week later I switched to French. Living in Paris for almost two years changed my life and aesthetic sensibility indelibly.

FC: Do you have a work uniform?

MN: Our [collared, button-down] Husband Shirt in every color.

FC: How do you exercise?


MN: I do Tracy Anderson religiously. I do the double—one hour of dance cardio and one hour of muscular exercise—each morning before work. I love the music, dance, and effectiveness of the workout.

FC: What TV show are you mid-binge on?

MN: I love the comedian Gad Elmaleh and his show Huge in France. I also enjoy Chef’s Table.

FC: Do you have a mantra?

MN: It takes nothing to join the crowd. It takes everything to stand alone.


FC: Do you have a favorite podcast?

MN: How to Fail. In addition to hosting such an inspirational podcast, Elizabeth Day is a brilliant writer.

FC: What is your go-to food for fast fuel?

MN: I pick up a matcha latte when I’m on the go and need a quick burst of energy.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.