WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
It's always nice to be the first person you know to don the next biggest thing in fashion, especially before the brand explodes into the mainstream. For instance, we were sporting crescent-adorned Marine Serre second-skin tops way before Beyoncé’s Already music video; minuscule Jacquemus bags a long time prior to Kendall Jenner’s Jacquemus campaign; psychedelic Maisie Wilen dresses many moons before Jorja Smith became indivisible with the Ye-funded label.
Alas, it’s not easy deciphering which emerging labels you should be investing in, which is why we’ve decided to step in to spotlight the upcoming fashion labels you’ll want to know. From Isa Boulder to Collina Strada, here are the 14 brands we’d recommend keeping your eye on.
London-based Danish designer Julie Brøgger has successfully taken everything we love about Scandinavian ‘fits – the neat cuts, unobtrusive colors and reliable materials – and stirred them with a few hefty spoonfuls of great British flair to create timeless statement looks that transcend dress codes. Having co-founded the brand in 2016 with fellow Dane Linn Norström Weile, Brøgger has been able to recruit a cult-like following in the space of just five years – a testament to the Royal Danish Academy of Art alumni’s commercially viable eye for design.
Like most buzz-worthy rising labels, Brøgger actively seeks to be as ethical and sustainable as possible. The brand fully comprehends the environmental and social consequences of the fashion industry and strives to make a difference wherever they can. What more reason could you want to check out the label’s collection?
Some things are meant to be, like when Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant met in 2009 whilst studying at Mod’Art. The two creative minds are professionally and romantically intertwined: their complementary personalities merge in their streamlined designs that are evidently infused with their love for fashion and each other.
After leaving their positions as artistic directors at stalwart luxury house Courrèges, Meyer and Vaillant resurrected Coperni: a brand the duo established in 2013, initially named Coperni Femme. The Parisian label is renowned for its ahead-of-its-time pieces that are made to be seamlessly integrated into one’s pre-established wardrobe of trending and timeless garbs and accessories.
This Indonesian label, started just two years ago by friends Cecilia Basari and Yuli Suri, creates collections made out of recycled premium fabrics and crafted by Balinese artisans. But despite starting life as a swimwear brand, it’s the label’s sustainably produced knitwear that’s really making waves at the moment.
The reason? Well, that may have something to do with the custom knitted jumpsuit sported by American R&B star Normani in her video for latest track Wild Side (ft. Cardi B), styled by Kollin Carter. Thus, we expect this rising brand to reach new heights over the next few months.
Kwaidan Editions creates moment pieces: each garb deserves to be worn on a day to remember, say the first day of a new job or a birthday. The colors, patterns and materials that make up the brand’s catalogue are specially selected to make an impact – there are lime green satins, monochrome optic prints, evil eye-print shirt dresses and a lot more.
Behind the brand are Léa Dickely and Hung La: two graduates of the Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp. The duo named their fashion brand after the book-turned-movie Kwaidan – the word translates to ‘ghost story’ in Japanese, which works well to describe the designers’ uncanny design aesthetic.
If you’re one of our regular readers, you’ll know that MAXIMILIAN is a brand we’ve been championing since day dot. (We told you we take satisfaction from being the coolest kid in our clique.)
Manchester-born designer Maximilian Davis is a London College of Fashion graduate, Wales Bonner alumni and friend of woman-of-the-moment Mowalola Ogunlesi. His foremost goals are to introduce Black elegance into the fashion industry and celebrate his Jamaican father and Trinidadian roots through fashion. Essentially, his designs – currently being worn by anybody who is anybody – amalgamate sophistication with dynamic cuts, patterns and colors. But don’t just take our word for it: discover his latest collection right here.
Set up in 2009 by New York designer Hillary Taymour, Collina Strada is a youthful label that strives to be as sustainable and transparent as possible. The brand’s chief aim is to encourage self-reflection through clothing; each piece aims to rouse the wearer’s personality and every show is an act of social commentary.
This summer, Collina Strada became a little more well known when Lorde decided to sport the brand’s uber-luxe yellow two-piece in the video for Solar Power. We guess it’s always nice to know that a brand is popstar-approved.
Winter is fast approaching, and there’s a newfound knitwear brand in town called AGR – a brand that’s eager to keep the in-crowd cool and cosy in its line of super-colorful sweaters, skirts, dresses and more. Founded in 2019 by London-based designer Alicia Robinson, the brand is swiftly climbing to the pinnacle of the industry, and its collection of knitted items are already being sported by the likes of Burna Boy, Anderson .Paak and Mahalia.
But knitwear isn’t the only thing that Robinson creates: recently, the visionary has lent her hand to designing pieces that work for any season, including cargo trousers, cotton shirts and a whole lot more. Now, there’s an AGR outfit for every kind of occasion.
Ever since 2014, Danielle Guizio has been putting her all into her namesake brand. The designer created the label to pay homage to the innovators who think outside the box – or, as she puts it, those who ‘deviate from the traditional and push boundaries in all aspects of life’. It’s safe to say she’s doing a mighty fine job.
Predominantly, the New York-based brand focuses on fashioning elevated essentials and wardrobe heroes – baby-blue cutout blazers and plaid distressed halter-neck tops sit alongside the forest-green tracksuits and relaxed blue denim jeans in her collections. But now and again she’ll create a piece that serves both purposes: something that packs a punch but can still be worn multiple times a week. Take the ribbed knitted tied-up trousers, for example.
Sustainability may be nothing but a buzzword for some brands; however, it truly is at the centre of Rombaut. The shoe brand incorporates materials such as Piñatex – a natural leather made from the cellulose fibers extracted from pineapple leaves – and the biodegradable thermoplastic APINAT Bio.
Behind the brand is Paris-based Belgian designer Mats Rombaut, who started with the goal of creating vegan shoes, from sneakers to heels, that discerning consumers would actually want to wear. Judging by the success of his brand, it’s evident that he’s achieving what he set out to do. Why not join the movement by exploring our selection of Rombaut kicks right here.
Made in Tomboy is an Italian brand that specializes in denim – and like most coveted Mediterranean labels, its ultimate goal is to offer consumers ostentatious forever pieces that will catch just as many eyes in a decade's time as it will today.
What makes Made in Tomboy so different from the other Italian brands on the market (and on this list) is that it’s not led by one or two designers but a collective of talented designers with a background in fashion. With so many eyes on each design, it’s no surprise that all of the brand’s goods are produced with meticulous care.
Louisa Ballou has never been able to keep still. The South Carolina-born designer attended university in London (Central Saint Martins, naturally), cut her teeth in Paris, honed her skills in California before basing herself in New York City. Bearing all of this in mind, it's no surprise that the designer has become a globally recognized name.
The secret to Louisa Ballou’s success is good ol’ fashioned sex appeal – par for the course, SZA and Chloe Bailey were two of the first superstars to sport pieces from the designer’s namesake label. The pieces in question are bright, bold and beautiful dresses, swimsuits, miniskirts and mesh tees featuring conspicuous exotic prints, looks that you’re sure to crave as soon as you set eyes on them.
Petit Kouraj’s Haiti-made fringe bags are here to spice up your everyday attire. And not only do they look great, but they also contribute to supporting the Haiti-focused, women-led organisation D.O.T: a vocational education centre founded by Donna Karan and Parsons School of Design that stands for design, organisation and training.
Behind the brand is London-born, NYC-based designer Nasrin Jean-Baptiste. Once a stylist, Jean-Baptiste understands what it takes to make waves in the industry and is actively involved in all of her brand’s processes, from material sourcing to social media.
There’s something so nostalgic about Nensi Dojaka’s collections: each piece looks as though it's inspired by an MTV Awards red-carpet look from the late 90s. (Do a quick search on Google Images and tell us we’re wrong; go on, we dare you.)
The Albanian designer is a Central Saint Martins graduate who, like many of the best emerging London designers, was recruited by LuLu Kennedy to be a part of her nonprofit talent incubator Fashion East. Ever since she’s secured a platform to showcase her talents, Dojaka has gone from strength to strength; and along the way, she's been supported by manifold members of the glitterati.
Laura Lombardi is a Brooklyn-based sustainable jewelry designer who creates gold-plated necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more from repurposed brass for her eponymous label. Fortunately, each item is just as versatile as the next, meaning that you can rely on all Laura Lombardi jewelry to take you from day to night.
What inspires Lombardi? For the most part, her childhood. The designer grew up between New York City and Tuscany – the small town of San Giovanni Valdarno, to be precise – and she merges the aesthetics of the two locations to create idiosyncratic designs.