The last year has spawned two types of shopping personalities. The emotional spender, endlessly scrolling and adding to cart, and not really liking the purchase all that much when face-to-face with the item that filled them with such virtual glee just days previously. And the no spender, the type who has righteously eschewed buying anything new for the foreseeable, and wears the same two outfits on rotation. But there is a middle ground, for those who have treaded the former board, whose appetite for newness is not going to disappear altogether: the mindful spender, supporting smaller businesses, with a focus on locally-made, considered craftsmanship. Here is our pick of some of our favourite independent clothing brands embracing the slow style lane.
In brief: Upcycled collections inspired by everything from 1960s cinema, 1990s couture and street photography; masterminded by sister design duo Emily and Caitlin Price.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Playful, optic, fantasy.”
The future of fashion? “Circular. We source each garment ourselves and then work on reviving each item by hand, to create new items which we sell direct to customers on our e-store.”
Dream customer? “Rosalía. We love her music; she exudes a powerful female energy.” - Caitlin Price. To shop, click here.
In brief: Your new favourite British sleepwear brand, founded by style editor Barbara McMillan. Inspired by linens, antiques, hand-painted patterns and tableware, HONNA’s classic striped designs are made-to-treasure.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Timeless, feminine, chic.”
The future of fashion? “Slow. The mood is definitely changing. From the way we shop, who we buy from, the fabrics we choose to how often we’re shopping - it feels like we’re moving forwards by stepping back. Consumers appear to be buying pieces that last beyond a single season, from brands that produce smaller runs, with care and attention to detail. There's so much to be had from buying less and making it last.”
Dream customer? “Being so new I get so much joy from every email or Instagram message I get from someone who has worn and loves the shape, or colour or feel of our pyjamas. I don't know if and when that will ever change. But, at a push, maybe Gwyneth Paltrow.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Yearning for your care-free youth? We direct your attention to this a small North London-based clothing label, which dreams up dresses that is part March sister (co-founder Clara Francis actually made a beaded headpiece for Emma Watson in Little Women), part 1970s flower child.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Elegant, nostalgic, functional.”
The future of fashion? “Being conscious: of provenance, of the environment, of the people who are involved in the making of our clothes, of choosing well-made ‘forever pieces’ that will stand the test of time. Paying more attention to beautifully crafted pieces that are cherished and can be passed down.”
Dream customer? “Any woman who isn’t afraid to dress differently; who has the confidence to stand out in a crowd and knows the value of a beautifully cut, flattering frock. Chloë Sevigny or Julianne Moore would be dreamy to dress.” - Clara Francis. To shop, click here.
In brief: Your search for the perfect silk shirt is officially over. This new London label, founded by former stylist and costume designer Lauren Grant, takes inspiration from Guy Bourdin’s glamourous photography to 1980s Princess Diana.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Decadent, debauched, refined.”
The future of fashion? “A phasing out of tat in favour of investment pieces that are made with attention to detail, fit beautifully and treasured for years to come.”
Dream customer? “The Queen. Because I would love to see her in a silk shirt covered in crushed cigarette packets or polka-dotted with Valium pills.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Founded by Dutch entrepreneur Jeanne de Kroon, this luxury ethical label uses vintage materials in cooperation with artisans worldwide, with every unique piece rooted in nature and human storytelling.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Colourful, connected, community.”
The future of fashion? “A future where we can reconnect to the stories that are interwoven with what we wear.”
Dream customer? “All the top CEO's of all the luxury and fast fashion groups. I would love to show them what they could change if they opened up their hearts and listened to all the powerful stories left untold.” To shop, click here.
In brief: The mother-daughter duo behind the Insta-famous French brand, Cléo and Marie Dewet, create handmade garments; from puffy sleeved blouses to whimsical summer dresses (their e-store opens every Wednesday). Oh, and you get a free scrunchie with every order.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Authentic, simple, relationship.”
The future of fashion? “Back to the future.”
Dream customer? “Britney Spears, because she was my idol when I was young.” - Marie Dewet. To shop, click here.
In brief: A fabulous fusion of dark glamour and new wave rebellion, founded by Christine Nielsen (before setting up her own label she was Head of Studio at Balenciaga). “I find inspiration in many things,” Nielsen says. “It could be a leaf slowly falling from the sky or the warm touch of leather.”
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Stark Poetic Realness.”
The future of fashion? “A reflection of our times.”
Dream customer? “I love women who express themselves freely, and with great strength, like FKA twigs or Viola Davies. What they say is heartfelt and real.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Fun arm candy, for those who are more fantastic than realist. Founder Natasha Fernandes Anjo creates all her 'scrunchie', Furoshiki-style bags from deadstock or vintage fabrics.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Playful, colourful, scrunched!”
The future of fashion? “Slow, innovative and inclusive.”
Dream customer? “Solange! Always and forever Solange. Not only is her style unbelievable, she's an amazing multidisciplinary artist and is basically my idol.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Drawing inspiration from architecture, nature and spirituality, this cult NYC-based brand, from Robyn Berkley, creates super comfy and versatile pre/during/post workout attire. You will want to live in their knitted trousers.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Timeless, feminine, transitional.”
The future of fashion? “Evolving and very much alive.”
Dream customer? “A person who celebrates their body.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Specialising in hand embroidery and dyeing techniques, Nara Naro, founded by Noor Rahim, bases collections around scenes or people encountered in art and literature. ”I’m particularly mesmerised by Japan in my work,” Rahim says. “The woodblock prints, the anime heroines, the Kurosawa samurais and the ethereal landscape. There is a strange and moving beauty in its silence.”
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Sensitive, imaginative and bold.”
The future of fashion? “Purpose and thoughtfulness. It is more important now than ever to create things mindfully, produce them with careful consideration to the supply chain, and communicate your message with integrity.”
Dream customer? “Marion Cotillard. She acts with passion on screen and compassion in real life. Not only a wonderful actress and incredibly beautiful, she is purposeful and an avid environmentalist.” To shop, click here.
In brief: A riff on Spanish flamenco styles (the brand’s founder Amy Sturgis grew up on the Spanish shores) by way of romantic ruffles, luxurious silk separates and slip dresses (purveyors of astro-chic, see the silver moonshine ‘Taurus’ style).
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Cool, silky and fun.”
The future of fashion? “Mindful production and mindful consumption.”
Dream customer? “Beyoncé, she is the queen. I was lucky enough to be present during that Coachella performance and WOW.” To shop, click here.
In brief: Unapologetic nostalagia, from Argentinian-Italian duo designers, Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea. Hello, psychedelic ‘LSD’ patterned dresses, jumpsuits and silk maxi dresses - we’ve missed you.
Describe your aesthetic in three words? “Relaxed, chic and fabulous.”
The future of fashion? “Sustainable. That’s not just about an organic fabric, but to consider the people involved in the manufacturing process, from the producers of the threads to the seamstresses.”
Dream customer? “Diana Ross, because she is the most fabulous woman on earth!” To shop, click here.
header image | hyunmi.nielsen