Last month, I did a deep dive into the dress trends and brands that we expect to hit the big time in 2021, with a mix of archival labels and up-and-comers making our shortlist. Well, after the amazing response to the story, we wanted to create an additional article dedicated to the products themselves, celebrating the beautiful design and innovation displayed by some of our favourite dress designers. After all, with summer just around the corner, there's no better time to brush up on your brand knowledge.
We've included a few brands that were in our original dress report alongside a handful of newbies that have recently caught our eye. We've got all the bases covered, from O Pioneers' throwback prairie-dress styling and Tove's minimalist appeal to Nensi Dojaka's red carpet glamour and Franks's wedding-ready colour-pop pieces. Every brand brings something different to the table, and in a market dominated by big-name conglomerates, they are well and truly holding their own with their original and joyful approach to dress design.
So if you want to know which dress brands we editors are name-dropping this year, scroll down to see our definitive shopping list. You can also read our original dress report here. Happy scrolling!
1. O Pioneers
If you're in the market for a throwback summer dress, O Pioneers is the brand for you. The brand was set up in 2019 but has already garnered a cult following with its prairie-style dresses that come in a range of vibrant fabrics. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the brand's patchwork dresses coming this summer.
Making dresses in London using upcycled fabrics, Franks sticks to small-collection runs and made-to-measure pieces to ensure its production process is as sustainable as possible. With bright colours and feel-good prints, the brand's latest drop is perfect for any summer weddings you have coming up this year.
3. Nensi Dojaka
With its asymmetrical, bandaged aesthetic and spaghetti-thin straps, Nensi Dojaka is the up-and-coming brand bringing a female-directed sensuality to the world of event dressing. The brand's dresses have already been spotted on a number of A-listers, including The Crown's Emma Corrin, and we expect it to become a regular fixture on the red carpet.
It's likely that you'll have seen a number of Tove dresses on your Instagram feed over the last 12 months, particularly the Ceres style, which has become a cult favourite amongst the fashion crowd. "Tove was born out of a desire to create a timeless wardrobe of sustainable pieces that are beautifully made," says Camille Perry, the brand's co-founder.
Kemi Telford is the designer whose name was thrust into the spotlight after it was announced that she was going to be joining forces with John Lewis this year. Born out of a fashion blog back in 2017, the brand creates versatile, standout dresses that include clever references to the founder's Nigerian roots via bright-coloured prints inspired by traditional wax fabrics. The collaboration drops on 19 April, so watch this space.
Frustrated with the amount of waste in the fashion industry, Cro-Che Founder Tacita Brown began researching ways to create garments in the most sustainable way, and she found that crochet was one of the most positive ways of producing garments, as there is very little waste. The brand's designs hark back to the '60s with their A-line, thigh-grazing silhouettes and vintage-inspired colourways.