Greetings from inside of my brain where the sofas are comfy and the list of small brands I’m in love with has grown exponentially since last time we sat down here together. I’m not going to waste much time introducing them because if your fingers are anything like mine, they’re itching to scroll, and that’s exactly what they should feel free to do. So go ahead, dive into the below roundup of brands-to-know and my accompanying explanations for why your radar will enjoy having them on it.
1. Alterita: For a Different Kind of Dainty Jewelry
Alterita launched in 2018 out of New York and is one of the driving forces behind the glass accessories trend. Most of the pieces are not unlike classic dainty gold jewelry in that they act as lightweight garnishes for your overall look but diverge in their resolute capacity for whimsy. After all, what is a necklace bobbing with fruits or a heart pendant replete with tiny wings if not a private wink between you and your wardrobe? I would like to wear both fruits and hearts with a white one-piece swimsuit, ideally in some far-flung location but my bathtub will do the trick in a pinch.
2. The FEEL Studio: For Jeans That Might Be Perfect
Like almost every human under the Milky Way, I am constantly on the hunt for perfect jeans. I’ve been intrigued by The FEEL Studio for awhile now, partially because I’m fan of their marketing but mainly because the denim said marketing is hyping appears to embody the characteristics of jean perfection I’m seeking: non-stretch, a waist that is high but not too high, a straight leg, zero distressing and an admirably sustainable makeup. The price is a bit hefty ($225), but not out of line with what I have paid for a really good quality pair of premium denim jeans in the past — which is ultimately the kind I tend to wear over and over and over. In addition to their classic blue Genuine Jean, FEEL just released a black version; both are clamoring for a place in my fantasy capsule wardrobe, rounded out only by the perfect white T-shirt, blazer and loafers or boots (depending on the season).
3. Gimaguas: For the Stuff You Wish You Found on Vacation
With an aim to create all the pieces you wish you would find on vacation but rarely do, Gimaguas has carved out a much-deserved cult following on Instagram since its inception a few years ago. The brand is best known for its jewelry, which includes highlights like dolphin charm earrings and daisy chain bracelets, but I’ve recently grown enamored with the entirety of its small but mighty clothing line (particularly the above quilted velvet jacket, since wrapping myself up in a velvet quilt is just about the nicest activity I can think of at this specific moment in time).
4. ROTATE: For Dresses Kate Moss Would 100% Wear
There’s so much good stuff coming out of Copenhagen lately, and ROTATE is no exception. The first collection is quite small and comprised of only dresses, but each one intrigues me from a styling standpoint — particularly as a canvas for evening accessories (my favorite kind) since most of them are quite simple. If I had to describe the brand’s overall vibe in one sentence I would say, “something Kate Moss would wear to a party.” I especially like the blue one pictured above because it looks great on a beach, but would look even better with espadrilles and a satin wristlet.
5. Emily Levine Milan: For Accessories Handmade in India
I first heard about Emily Levine Milan when I accosted MR contributor Juliana Salazar at a fashion week event a couple seasons ago to ask her where she got her bag. The design was relatively simple, but one I hadn’t seen anywhere else: a piece of brightly colored cloth knotted around two bamboo handles. I ended up meeting Emily, the designer behind the brand, when she popped up in New York awhile later. I also got to see her entire collection in person, which was a real treat. Most of the items are handmade in India by female artisans (I learned the bag Juliana has was made from a repurposed antique sari, as are a number of the other designs). At the moment I’m particularly swoon-y over the above corduroy number, aptly named the “Funky Knot Bag.”
6. Timeless Pearly: For Instagram-Worthy Sparkle
Timeless Pearly started out as a true “Instagram brand,” selling handmade jewelry to customers directly through the app. While the brand still doesn’t have a website, its pieces can be found on major retailers such as MATCHESFASHION and Moda Operandi. I was initially drawn to follow the account because of their plethora of cool charm earrings and barrettes, but most recently I’m all about the new ring collection (pictured above). Talk about my ideal fist.
7. About Arianne: For (Very Nice-Looking) Heeled Ballet Shoes
I have two pairs of ballet flats that I wear constantly, leading me to the not-particularly-original-but-nonetheless-important conclusion that they are a timeless wardrobe staple. In the interest of expanding upon said staple, I’m keenly interested in acquiring a pair of heeled ballet flats to round out my collection, and when I spied the above pair on Instagram I decided they might be The Ones (especially because of their unique green color, which would go perfectly with my growing repertoire of lavender pants). I also promptly stalked the brand from which they came — About Arianne, which sells shoes handcrafted in Spain. Definitely worth checking out.
8. Musier Paris: For the Ideal Fitted Cardigan
Earlier this week I sat in my desk chair at Man Repeller HQ and declared that fitted sweaters were terrible. Two days later, I tried on a fitted cardigan from Musier Paris and declared I never wanted to wear any other kind ever again. What can I say? I’m a fickle creature, especially when confronted with an article of clothing that looks and feels too great to deny. If you’re not familiar with the brand, I can assure you that fitted cardigans (some of which feature pearl buttons!) are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the goods it has to offer. Other delicacies include: these leopard trousers, this crochet top and this jumpsuit. It’s essentially your one-stop shop for the “going out” wardrobe you’ve always dreamed of.
9. NST Studio: For Quirky Bags and Candy-Like Earrings
NST Studio is a Miami-based accessories brand that sells made-to-order bags and jewelry. I packed one of the brand’s cloth bags in my carry-on suitcase for a recent trip to the Dominican Republic and can confirm it traveled like a dream — easily folded into the tiniest corner of space leftover after I crammed in my stacks of clothes. Separately, the earrings are the kind that make me wish for more holes in my ears so I could wear this one and this one in simultaneous harmony.
10. Berta Cabestany: For Cool Duds With Even Cooler Details
I discovered Barcelona-based brand Berta Cabestany through Man Repeller’s shopping Instagram @mrinmycart (thanks to Elizabeth Tamkin’s sleuthing eye) and was immediately taken with the unique style of embroidery on this fun T-shirt. The current online selection is pretty limited, but I’m looking forward to following the brand and seeing what else is in the pipeline.
What small brands are you obsessed with at the moment? My list is itching for additions.
Feature image of Varsha Thapa by Stevie Dance for The Feel Studio Inc.