Just when I start to sense the occasional onset of fashion industry burnout, I stumble upon a brand that is doing something so different and unique that it revs my engines up all over again. I instantly want to learn everything I can about the designer behind it, call the clothes in for shoots and wear them myself. Whenever this happens, some part of me wants to keep the brand all to myself, as if exposing it to the world would dilute its preciousness, but then I remember that I actually want it to succeed, so better to shout it from the rooftops instead. Scroll down for five recent small-brand discoveries that are making me excited to get dressed.
I first discovered Peter Do from an array of (very cool) Tumblr images of a woman in a sheer suit. She was getting out of a car, and the whole visual had a very futuristic, gritty yet elegant feel. I reverse-searched the image on Google, and lo and behold, Peter Do came up. I mentioned that I had found this incredible new brand to a friend who worked for Céline during the Phoebe years and was surprised to find she knew exactly who I was talking about. I soon learned that after winning the LVMH Prize in 2014, Peter was recruited to work at Céline under Philo, creating and developing ready-to-wear collections. You don’t need to look twice at his clothing for it all to make sense.
Much like Philo’s beloved aesthetic, Do’s designs are functional, but also the furthest thing from simple. Magical, but also extremely wearable. Maybe this particular intersection of characteristics is exactly what makes Peter Do stand out? Or maybe it’s the fact that he has built a strong foundation for his brand purely via Instagram without the click-baity hype that many companies are compelled to embed into their strategies nowadays. I’m not sure, but I am absolutely positive that he’s worth putting on your radar. As mentioned in my recent street style copycat story, these trousers are one of the best things in my closet. I also have this top, which is epic — the sleeves detach! If I had all the monies in the world, I would buy this dress and this skirt.
My discovery of Markoo also came by way of a reverse-image search, this time with a picture of Andreea Diaconu. It’s been over a year since I first laid eyes on her dress, and it is still. so. good. I loved it so much that I impulsively reached out to the designers, Tania Martins and Mona Koochek. I had no real game plan except that I wanted — needed — to know more. I learned that they are based in Toronto, but contemplating a move to London where their sales and creative teams are based. As designers they believe in clothing that “has authority without theatrics,” an approach that reminds me of Peter Do. Both brands make interesting clothing feel practical and wearable for every day, rather than just occasional. They are delightfully straightforward with their creations, and in an industry where hype has seemingly superseded product and quality, I find this level of focus really admirable.
If you’re a fan of Blanca Miró, you have likely already seen La Veste in your feed. If you have not, La Veste is Miro’s new line created in cahoots with fellow Spanish designer Maria de la Orden. It is also the French word for blazer, which serves as an anchor for their first collection of jackets, bucket hats (!) and pants. Inspired by the inherent combination of textures, colors and styles in vintage clothing, La Veste is an accurate reflection of Miro’s inspiring personal style: always eclectic, but somehow in perfect harmony. I ordered these trousers and I cannot wait until they arrive. They’re so fun and have a great shape.
Having worked for a few brands that have an entire handbag division, I’ve seen firsthand how challenging this particular category can be to master. It is quite hard to capture the attention of buyers and shoppers with something innovative and special enough to merit a handbag’s (usually) substantial price tag, which is why brands like Mansur Gavriel and Staud really stand out. But back to newcomer Medea, the brainchild of Italian twin sisters Giulia and Camilla Venturini. Made from fine matte leather, the quality of their upscale “shopping bags” oozes through photos. The Venturini sisters have hit that sweet spot that makes a product become an “it” item. They’re also wildly practical. I wish I was carrying my laptop around in this one right now.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me freak the F out over Ami’s FW19 collection. It is rare to love every single look a designer sends down the runway, but Ami’s Alexandre Mattiussi had me wishing for more. FW19 is actually the first season he made clothing specifically for women, which is really nice for those of us who often find ourselves eyeing the men’s department and trying to find a size that “kind of works.” I like to think of Ami as a really chill approach to French dressing — it has that nonchalant, laissez-faire feel while being incredibly put together. At the same time, punches of kelly green and wallet chains peeking through the clothes add something fun and youthful to the brand. The women’s collection isn’t online yet, but I am awaiting its arrival with baited breath.
As I reflect on the handful of brands that have caught my eye lately, it’s becoming more and more apparent that I am after easy pieces that are as elegant as they are comfortable. Subdued elements that create that something special are especially appreciated. No theatrics, as Mona of Markoo said. Product first, hype (as default, not design) last. Based on what I’ve observed as someone who works in the fashion industry and as a consumer, I believe there is a space opening up in market right now for designers taking this approach.
What about you? What brands have you been watching?
Feature image via Medea; Photo by Bunny Kinney.