Fashion, despite its obsession with mining the past, is all about the new. As the conveyor belt of new launches that land in our inboxes every day attest, it’s never been easier to launch a label, with online stores and Instagram meaning you can find an audience – and sell to them – before the first design is even done.
Navigating between the trash and the grails can be tough. Which is where we come in. We’ve pulled together 26 of our favourite up-and-coming brands for a look at where fashion is heading next – and so you can buy in early before they become the next big thing.
French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer – also the co-founder of streetwear brand Pigalle and collaborator with Virgil Abloh – describes his new venture as “aprés-sport”. And wherever you head after sweating it out, he’s got you covered. As well as plush tracksuits, his most recent collection proved that he can do suit-suits too, which were styled with silk shirts decorated with prints inspired by Casablanca architecture.
Though just a couple of seasons old, Namacheko, the brand founded by Iranian-born, Sweden-raised siblings Dilan and Lezan Durr, is now stocked in every Dover Street location and has enjoyed booming sales. The reason? Colourful, intricate clothes that pinpoint the sweet-spot between experimentation and wearability.
A CFDA Fashion Fund finalist at just 21, former BAPE intern Reese Cooper moved from London to LA to found his eponymous brand, which reimagines American staples with an outsider’s eye. His self-taught approach to design extends outwards – he runs regular workshops at his factory where locals can learn screen-printing or have old clothes tie-dyed by guest artists.
Based in Brighton, Far Afield specialises in those simple heroes – think chunky Fair Isle knits, patterned vacation shirts and pastel tees – that you end up building the rest of your outfit around. The brand also has sustainability as a founding principle, working only with responsibly sourced fabrics and factories that abide by strict fair-labour policies.
Cactus Plant Flea Market
Launched by Pharrell Williams’ former assistant, Cynthia Lu, Cactus Plant Flea Market barely seemed to be a brand at first – it would appear on A$AP Rocky and Kanye, but never anywhere you could actually buy it. Now, its tie-dye hoodies and tees sell out in Dover Street Market, and it gussied up Nike’s Vapormax for an Air Max Day partnership that disappeared just as fast.
King & Tuckfield
Were he around today, King & Tuckfield would have been Dickie Greenleaf’s go-to. The brand’s Merino wool polos, British-made denim and high-waisted trousers draw on ‘50s craft and silhouettes. Everything is inspired by founder Stacey Wood’s ballet-dancing grandmother, Joan Marion King, and paratrooper father, Graham Aubrey Tuckfield.
South Korea’s answer to Vetements, Seoul-based brand Ader Error is half design collective, half upstart art movement. Its designs blend streetwear and tailoring with a novel approach to proportion – think blazers sliced at the hips and ankle-length trench coats – as well as sell-out collaborations with Puma and Maison Kitsuné.
Emily Bode’s designs are surprisingly static for a brand that’s become the must-have New York Fashion Week Men’s ticket. But it’s what they’re made of that changes. Her collections feature hundreds of different fabrics, which are salvaged from discarded quilts and lovingly hand-crafted into one-of-a-kind pieces that feel nostalgic even when they’re brand new.
Martin Asbjorn makes more than just suits, but the Danish designer’s degree in men’s tailoring lends everything from his shirts to his leather jackets a structured sharpness. His two-pieces are a standout, though – loose, breezy things with a minimalist single-button, double-breasted closure, that look as good over a tee for the weekend as a shirt in the week.
Launched in Helsinki in 2013, Frenn’s suits are simple, stripped-back takes on Scandinavian smart-casual. The brand is as concerned with sustainability as great design – its tailoring line is manufactured in northern Europe from premium, European materials and designed to last, in form and function.
New York-based brand One DNA is proof that though the suit is menswear’s archetypal piece, there’s no reason it has to be gendered at all. Designers Travis Weaver and Simon Black take a gender-neutral approach to their tailoring, with high-waisted, wide-leg suits that aim to erase the boundaries between mens- and womenswear.
Edward Crutchley never set out to make suits, but like his mentor at Louis Vuitton and Dior, Kim Jones, tailoring has become the centre of his brand in the last few seasons. He won 2019’s Woolmark Prize with a collection full of soft, drapey suits and more recently, toyed with tailoring’s definitions by elongating jackets, removing sleeves and shortening trousers, to create suits that reworked classic notes in contemporary ways.
Mats Rombaut’s shoes prove that vegan footwear is far from beige. Drawing on his experience at Lanvin and Damir Doma, his sneakers and boots are crafted from plant-based leathers and sustainable cotton and rubber, which are almost as noteworthy as the sculptural, space-age designs themselves.
Hoka One One
Okay, so not technically a new brand – Hoka One One (it’s pronounced ‘Ho-Kah Own-ay Own-ay’) has been a trail-running favourite since 2009. But the ugly sneaker boom means they’ve now transitioned to the fashion scene, too. As a result, you’ll now find it’s super-comfortable, super-sized Speedgoats on the shelves of in-the-know boutiques now, not just running shoe shops.
Eco-conscious basics label Everlane launched its first sneaker in 2019. In keeping with the brand’s no-bollocks ethos, it’s called the ‘Tread’, costs just $98 (you can ship to the UK) and claims to use 54 per cent less virgin plastic than its equivalents. Helpfully, it looks sharp, too.
Does the world need another minimalist sneaker brand? Well, if it’s founded by former bosses from Converse and streetwear mecca ALIFE, and designed with innovative running-inspired tech that makes a vulcanised sole feel as comfortable as trail shoes, then definitely.
Venice Beach-based No.One makes sneakers the old-school way. As in really old-school; by hand, from the kind of leathers usually reserved for the world’s smartest shoes (the brand uses the same supplier as Hermès). The drops are small and fleeting, but if you don’t cop, then don’t worry – for a couple of mortgage payments, you can commission your own completely bespoke pair.
What do you get when you cross a stylist, a guitarist and a tailor? Some of the world’s best basics. The brainchild of former Reformation designer Brianna Lance, the Vaccines’ Freddie Cowan and Savile Row’s David Chambers, Basic Rights specialises in unbeatable tees, proper trousers and versatile shirts, inspired by the Golden Age of Hollywood and designed to withstand life on the road.
Hamilton & Hare
Hamilton & Hare was founded with a simple mission – to make the world’s best boxer shorts. Tick. It’s since expanded to those unloved but equally important parts of your wardrobe – pyjamas, dressing gowns – as well as pieces you never knew you needed, like a knitted travel suit that you can sleep in without it rumpling.
Founded by a pair of film-making Swedes, CDLP wants to make men wear better underwear. It starts with lyocell – a tree pulp-based fabric that’s smoother than silk, but hardier and more breathable – and cuts it in fitted but supportive shapes, with seam-free construction inspired by bespoke tailoring techniques.
As you might expect from a brand launched by the son of J. Crew boss Mickey Drexler, and former Madewell design director Somsack Sikhounmuong, Alex Mill is all about staples done right. It began with the perfect shirt, and its collection now includes polo shirts, sweats and tailoring that nail the triumvirate of any great basics brand – simplicity, quality and affordability.
Since 2017, Alex Orso’s mission has been to destigmatise men’s jewellery and make wearing a necklace, bracelet or ring as normal as slipping on a watch. It offers simple designs in a range of lesser-spotted metals – alongside gold and silver you’ll find rhodium and ruthenium – which give the entire collection an insidery, below-the-radar feel.
Rivalling Rimowa for Instagrammability, Away is the influencer’s favourite new luggage brand, not least because each bag has an inbuilt power pack to see you through those social media binges between flights. Its suitcases are the grails, but you’ll get clout for its weekenders and backpacks, too.
You’d expect a bag brand launched by an anthropologist to get a little bit conceptual, and Innerraum doesn’t disappoint. Its bags are as much sculpture as they are accessory, covered in alien egg-like bulges – what it calls an “armoured shell” – and precious metal hardware. They’ll keep your wallet safe, at least.
The future’s hot, not just the tagline of this eyewear brand founded in 2017, but also a reality if global warming has anything to do with it, which makes a decent pair of sunglasses essential. The work of vintage fashion business owners Tanya Brown and Jake Jarvis, each of Hot Futures’ designs take 60 days to make by hand using designer-quality acetate, optical-grade lenses and robust metal hardware.
Minimalist and sustainable – Le Gramme’s debut collection consisted of rings made from recycled sterling silver – the French jewellery brand is all about that understated flex. In keeping with its less-is-more approach to design, each piece is named for – and engraved with – its metric weight.