The word "affordable" is one I'm always wary of using within my fashion writing, as one person's bargain is always going to be another person's splurge. The pieces I'm about to talk about below certainly aren't cheap, however, unlike many of the brands on Net-a-Porter and MatchesFashion, they're potentially accessible to those of us who normally shop at Zara and Topshop
The contemporary market is one which has been growing significantly over the past two years. Back in 2017, I wrote about how brands like Ganni, Rixo, Staud and Réalisation are fighting to make your wardrobes brighter, better and more affordable. Instead of diffusion lines that mimic the aesthetic of a bigger design house at a lower price point, this new breed of labels are independent selling direct to consumer, with their own instantly identifiable design. Over the past two years, most of the cult buys that we have written about at Who What Wear are by these designers and priced around the £200 to £300 mark.
This direct-to-consumer contemporary bracket is one that's still hugely growing, and these are no longer just small Instagram-led businesses but a key priority for leading luxury retailers. In fact, buyers now scout for brands by scrolling. Net-a-Porter this summer launched seven brands that were previously only direct-to-consumer, taking niche brands to a global audience. Keep scrolling to shop the new affordable cult brands that we at Who What Wear are championing in 2019.
The Frankie Shop has tiny stores in Le Marais and New York, but this boutique is widening its reach this year, as it just launched on Net-a-Porter. This brand is getting a lot of love from power influencers and street style stars—the pleated skirts and boxy blazers are particularly popular.
Faithfull the Brand was founded in Bali in 2012, but this year, that it has gone from an under-the-radar beach brand to a mainstay on our Instagram feeds. It specialises in holiday clothing with a zesty colour palette and playful prints, but the dresses look just as good in Green Park as they do in Positano.
Kalda was founded three years ago by London College of Fashion graduate Kata Alda, but this year it has really cranked its business up a notch, launching its own e-commerce site. Sold on Browns and Harvey Nichols, these £200-something shoes are as comfortable as they are Instagrammable.
Influencers are often responsible for items reaching cult status, and The Line by K was created by fashion blogger Karla Deras. This is another new name to Net-a-Porter, and it sold 500 items in its first week on the site. The lime-green slip skirt has been particularly popular with the Instagram crowd.
Art Dealer is one of Net-a-Porter's new direct-to-consumer brands that launched this year. It creates elegant co-ords for grown-ups, and consist of printed blouses and matching pencil skirts. As the name would suggest, this brand creates beautiful prints with a nostalgic vintage feel.
Known for colourful prints and wearable silhouettes, Stine Goya is the Scandi label the fashion crowd have been losing it over in 2019. Highlights include the Justin Fair Isle chunky knit (perfect with jeans) and the Baily silken midi dresses (anyone have an autumn wedding coming up?).