There are a handful of things I think about with notable regularity. Among them are what I want to eat for lunch, how many hours of sleep I’ll get if I go to bed now, the difference between velvet and velour, the ingredients in mayonnaise, Jeff Goldblum’s smile and all the small brands I’m obsessed with at the moment. The last one is what I will be fleshing out in depth today, although if you want me to write 500 words about mayonnaise I’m pretty sure that can be arranged. Anyways: obsession-worthy small brands! There are SO many good ones. I keep track of them like ducklings in my Instagram bookmarks folder. I realize that’s a mixed metaphor but it’s exactly how I feel and you can’t change your feelings. Below are eight that you might not know about but absolutely should. There’s more where these came from, so please let me know if you’d like a recurring rundown on this here dot com.
Cleopatra’s Bling makes the kind of jewelry that looks like something you might discover inside a treasure chest on the coastline of an ancient city. It’s simple and decadent at the same time (like dark chocolate mousse! or a hot bath!) Each piece is handmade by Turkish and Indian artisans using a traditional method that involves moulding the shape out of wax, smoothing it with fire and then casting it in gold, silver or bronze. I have some little dangly coin earrings already but I am hardcore ogling these Pegasus ones.
Haley and I both have a pair of jeans from Trave and we discuss our passionate affection for them every time one of us is wearing them, which is often multiple times a week. They are by far the best-fitting jeans I have ever owned, not to mention somehow non-stretch and supremely comfortable at the same time. (We have the Constance cut in the “Under Pressure” wash.) A caveat: They aren’t inexpensive, so I would consider them an investment jean — but a worthy one in the sense that you’ll wear them all the time and you won’t want to buy any others. I’ve heard rumors that they’re adding a white version of the Constance as part of their Spring collection [insert extremely alert eyeballs emoji here].
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MOZH MOZH AW18 ‘Artisanal’ Collection Look 2. Hand knit and Woven Top w/ Knit Roses skirt made in collaboration with our local artisans. Photo @alexanderneumann Art directon @miguel_andradevaldez Muse @eve_matin_ Make up @ale.bridalmakeup #artisanal #handmade #sustainablefashion
Founded by Peruvian-born Mozhdeh Matin and based in Peru, Mozh Mozh works with local artisans to produce each collection. I’m constantly combing Instagram and websites and retailers to see what’s “out there,” and Mozh Mozh is one of the most distinctive young brands I’ve come across in awhile, with a point of view that is entirely its own. I went to see the Spring/Summer 2019 collection in person and could immediately tell how well-made everything was (the knits stood out in particular). Mozh Mozh’s website doesn’t seem to have much in the way of ecommerce but I’ve spotted some pieces online at Garmentory and Maimoun. This crochet dress makes my elbows tingle.
I found out about Untitled Co. through writer Tasnim Ahmed, whose enthusiasm for the brand prompted me to do a full deep-dive. The collections are season-less and made in India, combining traditional embroidery techniques and textiles with fresh twists on Instagram-friendly silhouettes (like the satisfyingly enormous sleeves on this top or the prairie-esque feel of this dress). I have one of the tops and I was googly-eyed over all the details that aren’t as apparent in two-dimensional photographers, like hidden drawstrings that completely change the shape of the shoulders and artfully placed raw-edges.
Alexa de la Cruz was one of my favorite Instagram discoveries of the summer (I came across it through a repost from another small brand I follow, Golondrina Collection). The collection is handmade in Mexico and features a satisfying array of glass pendants, thus thoroughly supporting Leandra’s theory that glass jewelry is the next frontier of cult accessory trends. I have this red-and-white speckled heart necklace and every time I wear it I think I look like I’m carrying around a VIP potion, which is one of my many dream aesthetics.
I conducted copious research on what to do and where to shop before going to Copenhagen for fashion week in August, which is how I stumbled upon and subsequently fell in love with the work of Helle Mardahl, a Danish artist and designer. I’m specifically obsessed with these peculiar little vases from what Mardahl calls her “candy collection.” They do, indeed, look like candy, although I’m glad they’re not actually edible since in this case I’m more satisfied simply staring. They’re pricey (and I would have nowhere to put one in my tiny and over-crowded bedroom), so for now I will content myself admiring from a distance and hope that someday the time will be right to splurge on one.
Lately, if I’m wearing a bra, it’s from Lonely. Their underwire silhouettes are both lovely to look at and exceptionally comfortable (no digging!). I’m a huge fan just because of those two things alone, but on top of that I love supporting a lingerie brand that shoots their products on women of different sizes and ages without photoshop (bra sizes currently extend up to a G cup). Seeing stretch marks and wrinkles and body hair in these contexts is still so rare, and as a consumer I appreciate Lonely’s commitment to poking holes in misconceptions about “perfection.” In addition to emphasizing size and age diversity, Lonely has also cast breast cancer patients and new or expecting mothers in their campaigns. There is also an entire section on the brand’s website devoted to highlighting actual customers. My collection consists of the Bonnie Underwire Bra in Ivory and the Lena Underwire in Black (although now it looks like only Topaz is available which I WANT NOW TOO). This Scout Softcop embroidered with yellow daisies is also super nice.
Sometimes I contract a strong affection for a really specific thing with no conceivable explanation. Over the past few months, that really specific thing has been lurex, a.k.a. stretchy fabric that features a metallic thread. Random, I know, but I am who I am. Anyways, I’m telling you this to provide context for my recent interest in Liana Clothing, a collection of “comfortable but elevated” pieces that are designed, cut, sewn, dyed and made locally in Los Angeles. I don’t own any of the lurex pieces (yet!) but I have this long-sleeved T-shirt that is somehow the softest and best-fitting long-sleeved T-shirt I’ve ever worn. I’m also eyeing all of the tank tops, but especially this one and this one.
What small brands have you been eyeing lately? This is one of my favorite topics in the entire world.
Feature image via MOZH MOZH; Photographed by Alexander Neumman.