Don’t get me wrong, I love Zara and Topshop as much as the next shopaholic, but sometimes, you just want something that no one else is going to have. That’s where independent labels come in. And thanks to our old friend the internet, particularly sites like Garmentory, Farfetch, Moda Operandi, and Need Supply, it’s easier than ever to find and obtain unique pieces from all corners of the world. The best part? Up-and-coming labels tend to be cheaper than their more established counterparts, and by buying from them, you’re helping to support a real person’s authentic artistic vision, not a multinational conglomerate. So read on for nine indie labels you should start saving up for ASAP.
Photo: Stone Cold Fox
Stone Cold Fox
If you love Reformation, garner your style inspo from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and subscribe wholeheartedly to the California cool girl aesthetic, then Stone Cold Fox is the brand for you. Started by childhood friends Dallas Wand and Cyd Morris, the label churns out slinky silk gowns, off-the-shoulder tops, and curve-hugging bell-bottoms worthy of a modern-day Brigitte Bardot. Wand once described them as “clothes to run into your ex in,” but personally, none of my exes should be so lucky.
Denim, asymmetrical cuts, and an artsy edge are the calling cards of Marques’Almeida, a London-based brand from Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. After meeting at fashion school in Portugal, the pair separately interned at brands like Vivienne Westwood and Preen before coming together to create distressed yet polished clothes that will make you feel like the front desk girl at a hip downtown art gallery (which is to say, effortlessly cool and ready to take on anything).
Photo: Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
Whether you know her name yet or not, you’ve definitely been influenced by Maryam Nassir Zadeh. After singlehandedly launching the mule trend (no, seriously), Zadeh has continued to create funky-functional footwear as well as ready-to-wear items that speak to a certain kind of easygoing Brooklyn cool girl. If that wasn’t enough, her eponymous site also sells wares from fellow indie labels like Lizzie Fortunato, Jacquemus, and Rochas, making it a one-stop shop for those who aspire to easy elegance.
Photo: Rosie Assoulin
Okay, so her designs probably aren’t in most people’s price range (though you wouldn’t be crazy to consider rocking one of her whimsical dresses at, say, your wedding), but Rosie Assoulin may just be the most interesting woman working in fashion right now. From embedding stickers and dried flowers in an organza confection of a gown to pioneering the voluminous blouse trend, Assoulin seemingly never runs out of awe-inspiring ideas. Here’s to hoping for a diffusion line or some kind of high street collaboration, because wearing Assoulin looks to be a life-changing experience.
Area’s sexy roller disco babe aesthetic is probably best summed up by one item from their fall/winter ‘17 collection: a plush fur bralette. When worn over a coordinating t-shirt, it’s flattering yet weird, luxe yet accessible, retro yet modern, and simply radiates sex appeal. The rest of designers Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg’s designs, which include dyed fur chubbies, silky wide-leg pants, and form-fitting slip dresses, toe a similarly impressive line.
Photo: Veronica Beard
Believe it or not, Veronica Beard is not one, but two women. They’re sisters-in-law who share not only the same name but the same elevated bohemian aesthetic. Their dresses are impeccably tailored with a signature ruching that hugs curves and hides problem areas, their outerwear is streamlined and easy, and their clothes give off an easy, All-American vibe without being too J. Crew.
If you’re in the market for boots, look no further than Dorateymur. The London-based brand, which is designed by a man named—you guessed it—Dora Teymur, makes delightfully strange yet somehow wearable creations, like a pair of pumps with a tiny plastic elephant for a heel, or Austin Powers-style ‘70s-inspired boots in metallic silver and red patent. “Statement shoe” doesn’t even begin to describe.
Instagram influencer Jeanne Damas epitomizes French insouciance in a way that feels almost too cool to be true. And yet, there she is, with her artfully mussed bangs and smudgy red lips, convincing me to buy everything from her line, Rouje. To hear Damas tell it, Rouje is her “dream wardrobe,” which means it’s also, by association, my dream wardrobe. Which means that my dream wardrobe consists of easy wrap tops, faux fur jackets, and high-waisted jeans. But I already knew that.
Photo: Alice McCall
This Australian designer trafficks in clothing that’s feminine with a distinct edge and, often times, a pop sensibility. Think: a pink, fluted neoprene skirt printed with lips or a a white playsuit covered in fabric daisies. If you’re the kind of woman who likes to channel her inner little girl while still feeling like, you know, a woman, Alice McCall has got you covered. And, pro tip, buy directly from her website rather than a US-based reseller. The conversion rate will make things significantly more affordable.