Although the big-name high-street brands (H&M, Mango, etc.) will always have a special place in my heart, there's something exciting about coming across a lesser-known label. Of course, there's nothing wrong with buying into the latest trending item. However, as all true fashion lovers will know, it can be easy to become disillusioned by the identikit ensembles that can come from sticking to the well-trodden path.
My solution? Take some time every few months to dig around online and discover some new brands. This will ensure that your wardrobe is kept fresh, diverse and individual and help avoid the awkward outfit-clash moment. To save you time, I've scoured the internet and interrogated the Who What Wear team to find our top lesser-known affordable brands and their best new-in pieces. Prepare to smugly name-drop these labels next time you WhatsApp your fashion-loving friends.
1. Seventy + Mochi
Having only launched this year, Seventy + Mochi remains a lesser-known gem in the affordable fashion world. Founded on the premise of sustainable, seasonless and long-lasting design, it prides itself on using recycled materials and creating collections in limited runs. On top of all this, the brand's designs really hit the nail on the head for me: Think retro-inspired dungarees, ruffled collar blouses and boxy shackets.
Launched in 2010 in a converted glassworks factory in Shoreditch, Glassworks London started out as a pop-up but now has three locations across the capital. You might've spotted the brand's whimsical cloud print jumper on Instagram recently, but it also offers plenty of premium-feel staples and year-round basics.
New launched sustainable womenswear brand, Omnes, work with a small, carefully selected set of fabric producers and mills, all individually approved by top environmental authorities to create wardrobes staples with a trend-led twist. At the top of our wishlist is the checkered monochrome trousers.
Another sustainability-minded brand, Extraaf aims to create styles that are at least 80% sustainable, using fabrics like lyocell and BCI cotton. You can expect everything from wearable, colour-pop frocks and smocked blouses to cute co-ords. Shop our faves below.
If you're hunting for directional wardrobe heroes, look no further than Damson Madder, the brand that aims to use more eco-friendly materials, including 100% recycled polyester, natural dyes and cotton from organic farms. I'll be wearing the brand's cotton maxi with chunky boots all season long.
We only recently came across the brand Pieces on ASOS and were instantly won over by its fun and versatile edit of wardrobe staples. At the top of our wish list this season is the brand's mom jeans and pastel-coloured knit vests.
Set apart by its tightly edited collection of premium-feeling affordable pieces, Kitri Studio is a Who What Wear fave. It only stocks limited quantities of each style, so you can guarantee that you won't see the same item on every other person on social media. The Gabriella dress was an instant sellout when papped on Charlotte Groeneveld at fashion week last year, so keep your eyes peeled for the next big thing.
Neon Rose is the UK-born brand you may have already spotted on ASOS. The statement prints, attention to detail and super-purse-friendly price tags are some of the things we love. It offers cute co-ords and is a winner in the plus-size category (the brand goes up to a size 28). Neon Rose is quite the dream collection.
Sézane is the little bit of Paris everyone needs in their wardrobe. The label began life as a vintage store on eBay but now produces retro-inspired, understated pieces that'll easily slip into your capsule wardrobe—ideal if you're looking for pieces that stand the test of time. I'll be adding Sézane's cool leather bags and midi dresses to my basket for now and patiently waiting until spring arrives.
Created by our favourite Gallic It girl, Jeanne Damas, Rouje is in the market to deliver Parisian basics with a nostalgic twist. Think flighty camisoles, flared jeans and button-up sundresses—a go-to for elevated staples. We'll be buying one of the brand's sellout floral dresses to wear with chunky sandals. What better way to achieve that elusive je ne sais quoi?
Describing its wares as "supersized basics with a clean, flawless aesthetic and silhouettes cut precisely for everyday success," House of Sunny has become cool girls' go-to affordable fashion brand. Now on its 13th collection, the brand offers up plenty of references to new-season trends, alongside artistic silhouettes and unfussy, unprinted fabrics (apart from the odd bit of gingham).
If you're looking for key pieces to add to your wardrobe with a cool Scandi twist, then Gestuz is the brand for you. Launched in 2008, the Danish label has remained relatively unknown, but it is now available on ASOS so easily accessible for all. Expect great dresses, chic trousers and prints.
Sister Jane is the London-based brand here for all your vintage-inspired fashion needs. Its eclectic selection of personality-packed pieces stands out from the high street's identikit offering—think frou-frou blouses, printed maxi dresses and retro accessories.