I'm Introduced to 1000s of New Brands Every Month, But These Stand Out

I'm sure that at many jobs, an influx of approximately 500 emails per day is totally normal. I rarely feel confident enough to bulk-delete without regret because there are always endless messages I need to check in on in order to stay ahead of trends, launches and cool brands. I'm contacted by countless designers, brand founders, PR firms and marketing execs on a daily basis, and I try my best to support brands that show a point of difference, create beautiful products and have interesting stories. Not every label makes the cut, and the task of editing down what I deem worthy of your attention can be a brutal one.

In this new monthly gallery, I'll be highlighting the best independent brands. They aren't all necessarily brand new, but they are small-scale enough that it's possible you haven't met them yet.

best independent fashion, beauty and homeware brands

Photo:

@hannahalmassi / WHO WHAT WEAR

On Hannah: Coal and Candyfloss dress

I will forever have a desire to own a Prada handbag, buy a vintage blouse or find a long-lasting dress from Mango, but there's a whole world of truly unique creations from lesser-known names out there to be enjoyed, too. Many of them are establishing impressive sustainability credentials. Even more of them are actually starting big trends that you notice filtering into far bigger household brands and stores. So you can consider this list a peek into what everyone will be raving about, copying and wanting to own next. From clothing, shoes, bags and jewellery to interiors and beauty, this is your one-stop shop for honing a home full of magical pieces that tell stories and spark joy!

CLOTHING

COAL AND CANDYFLOSS

I haven't stopped thinking about this gorgeous dress since I wore it a few weeks ago for our team's British brands shoot. It's flattering, fun and handmade to order. What's not to adore about this little Instagram-grown brand from West Berkshire?

MARCÉLA

Ask anyone in the Who What Wear UK office, and they'll say Marcéla is the new name to shop from. With its perfect-fit slouchy trousers, oversized blazers and ethereal plissé skirts and tops, this brand—founded by sisters and based in London—has quickly become a hotspot for minimalists.

NAVYGREY

Alexa Chung and I have very little in common (I would imagine) aside from our mutual love of navy knitwear. This seemingly simple cardigan is made from superfine lambswool (honestly, it feels like cashmere) and is the perfect thing to fling over jeans, leggings and dresses when I'm on a weekend walk or first thing on the nursery run! The idea behind Navygrey is that the founder wanted to re-create the feeling of that elusive hand-me-down, perfect-fit jumper. She had one for 20 years that inspired her brand, and the hope is that each of these new pieces will live on just as long, if not longer. Additionally, for each cardigan purchased, Navygrey pledges to plant a tree.

L.F. MARKEY

L.F. Markey isn't a new brand, but it is an indie one many of us on the team really love. For a vibrant take on workwear-inspired staples like boilersuits, chore jackets and utility trousers, it just cannot be beaten. There are other pieces to enjoy too, like jazzy, printed oversized shirtdresses and bold striped tees. If you like your basics with a side order of personality, head here.

CELIAB

When it comes to joyful, unique dresses that are timeless and yet totally special, it's CeliaB you need to know about. Although this Spanish brand launched in 2012, it's UK following has really picked up over the last few seasons. Founder Celia Bernardo has a no-holds-barred approach to her designs, with a real emphasis on textural, frivolous finishes, so if you're someone who loves to wear something fancy in the most casual way, she's your woman. I'm utterly, head-over-heels in love with the S/S 22 collection, and this frilled and tiered number is one of my faves.

FORM AND FOLD

As someone with a bigger bust and a curvier bottom half who struggles to find swimwear that fits well, I'm thrilled that Aussie brand Form and Fold is picking up UK stockists. Their sizing range is great, their styles are beautiful and the support the cuts offer is remarkable. Created by two friends who were very frustrated with the swim pieces on the market that didn't suit their bodies, Carly Warson and Stephanie Korn have stepped in to rescue many of us! Thank you, ladies.

TALLER MARMO

When it comes to eveningwear with extra oomph, Taller Marmo is the brand we all dream of owning. Its schtick is all about glamorous kaftan-like shapes with plenty of swoosh trimmed in feathers or tassels. Think Talitha Getty in the '70s minus the excess prints, jewellery or fuss. This is a more pared-back version of glamour, and it'll last a lifetime.

BAGS

RECO

We all know the trend for squidgy bags is still going strong, but the story (and beauty) of Reco's creations is so much more than that. Spanish designer Bea Recoder crafts these lovely, furniture-inspired styles from surplus leather only, meaning they have a sustainable angle as well as a unique aesthetic.

SAVETTE

I'm always keen on bags that deliver practicality without looking boring, and Savette founder Amy Zurek has nailed it with her collection of timeless satchels, totes and crossbody styles. They come in neutral colours with subtle little finishes. They'll last a long, long time but still keep people guessing thanks to how noticeably quiet and logo-free they are.

LAST FRAME

I'm a woman possessed. I simply have to own one of Last Frame's adorable knitted bags at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. They're the perfect chuck-everything-in-and-still-look-stylish option on the market, and they bring oodles of personality to any given outfit. Although these are inherently fun, founder Takanohiro Okude makes these pieces using special Japanese loom techniques that result in a superior finish.

DRAGON DIFFUSION

Back to sensible leather goods, Dragon Diffusion is one of those in-the-know brands that I came to learn of a few years ago when I interviewed the ultimate French It girl, Jeanne Damas. These woven totes and shoppers are popular among the Parisian set because they're simple, classic and very easy to wear with many a look, from beachside ensembles to a workday uniform. I have a similar tan style that I use on repeat throughout spring and summer.

AGNEEL

I have been looking for a shoulder bag that feels neat and compact but is still big enough to carry all of the essentials, and the Agnes from Agneel does it—and very nicely, too. The German luxury brand's founder, Yesim Karaman, is all about creating pieces that are timeless and functional but also really tempting to tote! The rounded shape, chic cappuccino leather and quality finish on this really tick all the boxes for me.

HAI

And now for something frivolous again! Hai's ethically produced signature silk mini bags have been very popular on social media, and this bamboo-handle number looks like the ideal partner for a dinner date or wedding.

HOMEWARES

HENRY HOLLAND STUDIO

Did you know that former fashion designer Henry Holland has now shifted into homewares? These cool mugs have carried on from his debut collection, which has been picked up by the likes of Liberty and Matches Fashion—a pretty cracking start, I'd say.

HODGE POTS

For all of your vase, rug, print and tableware needs, you must visit Glasette.com. Co-founded by Laura Jackson, this is the home of unique and indie brands—Hodge Pots being a particular new fave of mine.

LIGHTS & LAMPS

I just bought this for my bedroom, and it casts the most beautiful light in the evening. Lights & Lamps is a relatively new UK-based lighting site that offers directional designs at much friendlier prices than many other competitors.

IN CASA BY PABOY

In Casa by Payboy is an interiors brand that was founded during the pandemic last year in Naples by craftsman and designer Paboy Bojang. He's currently seeking asylum from Gambia in Italy, is only 28 years old, uses 100% locally sourced cotton and is already being picked up by international stockists, so all in all, this is a pretty brilliant brand to support.

VAISSELLE BOUTIQUE

These French-inspired checkered vases, floral jugs and striped plates have been filling up my Instagram feed, and I'm not mad about it. Handmade and hand-painted in Spain, Vaisselle is another brand that was born during lockdown last year in London. Everything runs in small quantities, so they do sell out fast, and this is your warning!

JEWELLERY

DAPHINE

London-based jewellery label Daphine has been doing a lot to shake up the idea that directional, quality jewellery has to cost a fortune. The brand's chunky, rounded rings became an Instagram sensation a while back (and spawned many a copycat), and now it's introducing more adventurous iterations like this crystal-studded version. 

BEA BONGIASCA

Bea Bongiasca is the Italian jewellery designer spearheading a movement for super-fun, playful pieces like these enamel-covered earrings. Her signature vine tendril rings have been very popular, and A-listers such as Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid are counted within her ever-increasing fan base.

OTIUMBERG

Otiumberg is the demi-fine London-based jewellery brand every influencer turns to when they're looking for dainty, elegant pieces to stack and layer. This rainbow ring is the kind of addition that people will notice, but you'll also be able to wear it for the rest of time. The brand, which was founded by sisters Christie and Rosanna Wollenberg, ethically sources its materials and works hard to create the kind of jewellery essentials you can easily wear every single day.

LUCY DELIUS

Elegant, modern and 100% desirable, this is a new brand you simply must know if you're looking to expand your everyday collection. Jewellery consultant Lucy Delius is a woman I often call upon for jewellery advice, so I'm thrilled that she's set up her own label. No stone has been left unturned when it comes to the thought process and detail woven into each lovely piece. 

SHOES

DEAR FRANCES

Making her shoes in in Italy with ethical production methods, Dear Frances founder Jane Frances creates shoes that are the very best when it comes to quality and investment styles that somehow manage to tick some trend boxes. I'm really here for the revival of kitten heels, and these are my favourite iteration thus far.

MIISTA

When it comes to fun footwear, London-based label Miista is the brand I turn to each and every time. I particularly get a thrill out of the styles it creates with low heels, as this is the height I want to wear the most, but many midis are downright boring. The shoes are produced in Portugal, and the brand collaborates with many specialised craftspeople, but there's also a Spanish design flair thanks to founder Laura Villasenin being from Galicia.

HEREU

If you're looking for sophisticated and minimalistic sandals, flats and/or handbags, then you need to know about Hereu. This is a Spanish brand that uses local artisans to craft its beautiful, pared-back pieces. These have to be some of my favourite fisherman sandals on the market. Be mine!

SUICOKE

If you're still in the hiking-sandal zone (which I am because they're just bloody comfortable and useful), then may I draw your attention to Suicoke? This cult Japanese label came to the UK a couple of summers ago and has since become the option for many fashion insiders who want to elevate their sandal collections. I like that the brand offers more alternative colorways than black or tan, with shades like this deep teal or khaki still being versatile enough to wear with lots of looks but offering something a little different.

ALOHAS

Yet another Spanish shoe brand you simply must know about is Alohas. It is locally produced in Alicante, but where the other labels above focus on more practical, everyday styles, you'll find that Alohas is a bit more adventurous and sassy. The brand's two-tone ankle boots have been all over my social feeds, but it's these chain-strapped sandals that caught my eye. Date night, here I come!

BEAUTY

ULTRA VIOLETTE

I've been very guilty in the past of not wearing SPF every day, but it's because I hadn't found one I liked. So when our beauty editor Mica Ricketts recommended this Australian brand on repeat, I had to pay attention. Everyone loves this by all accounts!

SISTER & CO

Sister & Co's naturally sourced ingredients are crafted into the brand's products from a lab in London. Most of the products are vegan, and the majority of the ingredients are organic. This body oil is really invigorating after a shower, and I got through a bottle very quickly, so that's saying something!

LA MONTAÑA

One can never have enough candles—am I right? La Montaña's vibe is to basically re-create those scents you enjoy in the Mediterranean. As I'm obsessed with the night jasmine I love to smell when holidaying in Andalusia, this is the perfect stop-gap right now considering I haven't been able to visit for two summers in a row. The brand is now stocked on Net-a-Porter, and I'm not surprised.

VYRAO

So for full transparency, I haven't yet been able to try this perfume, but I'm already hooked just reading about it and seeing this mystical, magical bottle! Vyrao is a new brand that was recently launched by fashion insider Yasmin Sewell, and it's all about amplifying energy through scent. This particular fragrance has been dreamt up alongside British perfumer Lyn Harris and features notes of many of my favorites: bergamot, orange blossom and frankincense among others. It's apparently tapping into transformation and illumination. I can literally smell the freshness and sense the soul lift from here!

Next up, these are the colours that look the most expensive.

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