I've Worked in Fashion for 9 Years, and These Are the Brands I Truly Champion

As an editor at Who What Wear, I typically spend a lot of time looking at new-in products, and so every month, I update this story with the pieces that have caught my eye or that I have saved to my wish list. This year life has changed in a way none of us could have possibly imagined, with new financial strains placed on many that make the idea of updating this straight-forward shopping gallery filled with shoes, dresses and designer handbags feel jarring. 

I certainly don't want anyone to feel like they have to buy more right now in a time of such heightened worry, but at the same time, after working in the fashion industry for nine years, I also want to support the brands that I really love and treasure. Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman's piece on shopping online in a pandemic has been widely shared this week, and there is one section, in particular, that has really stuck with me: "Shopping now is as much a moral as a consumer question. Where you spend your money matters. Before you buy, think: What is this about? It could be about helping save a generation of small designers and independent businesses."

So for the time being, instead of a straight-forward new-in edit, I will update this story with pieces from the brands I have loved and supported, either over the past year or since I was an intern. As several warehouses and stores have shuttered, the fashion industry faces huge challenges and strains that pose an inevitable threat to businesses, reflected in the number of flash sales launching every single day. Many of us won't be shopping in the same way this year, but as Friedman notes, even a like on Instagram or a message of support can provide a boost for these brands.

So whether you're looking to buy, browse or discover something new, keep scrolling for the fashion brands I always champion and want to stand behind now more than ever. They range from designer brands to little-known independent labels to the high-street stores I personally shop at the most. 

Summer Buys From the Brands I Really Champion:

Amsterdam-based label Wandler is perhaps my favourite handbag brand of all—I bought the Hortensia bag several years ago and it is one of the most special items I have. 

Desmond & Dempsey creates luxury pyjamas in the most beautiful hand-painted prints—the shirts are so good you'll want to wear them in the day too.

 

 

I won't need to introduce Who What Wear readers to Ganni—no-one does printed throw-on dresses better than this Copenhagen-based power house.

Faithfull the Brand creates clothes for adventures, but that doesn't mean you can't wear them at home too—the dresses and midi skirts all use vibrant colours and prints that will give you that holiday feeling. 

Veja launched in 2005 and has quickly become a cult label leading the way when it comes to sustainability, both in terms of transparency and introducing innovative technologies. 

 

When Oxford Street re-opens, I'm heading straight to Liberty, which I would say is my favourite shop in London. This Liberty print eye mask is a fancy addition to bedtime. 

Budapest-based brand Nanushka creates beautiful, timeless clothes that feel simple and timeless, but still have an unmistakable aesthetic. 

If I had to pick one brand to wear all summer, it would have to be Albus Lumen. 

When it comes to sandals, I think Swedish footwear brand ATP Atelier make the best ones out there. The leather slides and flatform flip flops are my personal favourites. 

This year I went to Copenhagen Fashion Week for the first time and the brand that put the biggest smile on my face was Stine Goya. No-one uses colour quite like her. 

Self Portrait has become one of the most popular brands out there for formal dressing, and this powder blue midi dress is an example of just how beautiful its designs are.

It isn't just small, independent brands that are being impacted in this time, as Oxford Street and high streets up and down the country have temporarily closed. I remember when & Other Stories first opened, and my colleagues and I had a preview and said, "Oh, this is going to be good." Seven years later, and it remains my favourite high-street store. 

Rhode is another 'destination' label, with lightweight dresses and kaftans designed with the beach in mind. The Ella mini was one of the most popular dresses of 2019, and continues to be a hero for the brand. 

At Rixo's spring summer 2020 presentation they teamed up with Christian Lacroix to reimagine archive pieces—it's all pure '80s glamour. 

In June 2019, within seconds of the model walking through lavender fields in Provence during the Jacquemus show in this neon pink blazer, images of the moment exploded across the world. To me, this is the definition of a happy jacket. 

Palones is a new British brand that follows sustainable practices, and is relatively affordable. 

Put simply, Rejina Pyo designs clothes that women want to wear—and even Meghan Markle has been spotted with the cult Nane bag. 

Staud is one of those cult brands that has managed to maintain its hype, especially in the accessories department, and these ballerina pumps are 

Affordable clothing brand Kitri was launched in 2017 by South Korea–born ballerina turned fashion expert Haeni Kim. The designs are often simple and classic, but the use of colour, print and silhouette make them feel truly special. Kim is also one of the kindest and most graceful people I've met in my time in this industry, deserving of every success.

This is a new brand that I've fallen for. Sandal brand Arizona Love transforms Velcro sandals into feel-good footwear with scraps of beautiful fabric. 

Last Month's Spotlighted Brands: 

Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, founders of London-based label Rixo, are two of the warmest and most generous women you could ever hope to meet, and they know how to create dresses that make you feel good. This month, they are also donating 10% of profits from rixo.co.uk to Age UK.

I always look forward to Shrimps on the London Fashion Week schedule because it is filled with so much joy. Hannah Weiland launched the label in 2013 and creates princess-like dresses and playful accessories that you can't help but smile at. 

I want to wear everything Australian brand Albus Lumen creates. It makes the most beautiful, easy-to-style pieces that, despite the simplicity, always feel really distinctive. 

I love beautiful dresses, and one of the most special items I've ever bought was a Zimmermann floral midi dress (bought with a voucher, a discount, birthday money, and a chunk of my savings). I'm sure that will be the only thing I'll ever be able to buy from Zimmermann, but the beautiful Instagram images and dresses always make for happy scrolling for me. 

Berlin-based shoe brand Aeydē was launched in 2015, and I think it creates the most beautiful, luxurious flats, heels and ankle boots. 

I have a horoscope pendant necklace from Misho, and I get a compliment on it every single day that I wear it. All of the pieces look like vintage treasures to me, as founder Suhani Parekh is inspired by architecture and sculpture. 

London-based designer Olivia Rubin is another favourite. She is the queen of feel-good fashion, making dresses and cardigans in rainbow hues and floral prints that always make me happy. 

I will always remember the first time I got a ticket to Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at London Fashion Week, and ever since, it's been a highlight for me. I love the ethereal prints and the London edge that always comes through with unexpected styling. 

Alighieri is a brand that the fashion industry has truly fallen for, as the gold pendants and pearl jewellery feel truly special. In this period, they are asking friends of the brand to write a letter and poem about something that is giving them light—and they are making me smile every time I see them posted on Instagram.

British brand Chinti & Parker creates the most beautiful cashmere, and this month, it has created this special NHS sweater and will donate 100% of the profits to the charity Meals for the NHS. 

I have never been a natural vintage shopper (I'm not good at the hunt), but the Instagram account Lucia Zolea has really made me fall in love with vintage. 

This is another London Fashion Week brand that I always look forward to seeing what it does next. Founded in 2012 by Natalia Alaverdian, the brand creates classic dresses and suiting with a touch of the unexpected. 

Arket is another of my high-street heroes. I think the quality and cut for the price is truly brilliant and love how it creates items you will treasure for years, slowing down the trend cycle. 

Art Dealer is a new, small brand that creates beautiful dresses inspired by vintage designs. I wore one of the silk wrap dresses to my 30th birthday. It is donating 50% of all profits to the Italian First Aid. 

Ghost had something of a comeback recently, as the once-overlooked bridesmaid dress brand had a revamp and now creates the most beautiful midi dresses for £100-something.

Earlier Shopping Picks: 

Polo shirts are one of my favourite of the spring 2020 trends. 

I'd wear this with jeans and sandals. 

One of the coolest rings I've seen in some time. 

Our columnist Monikh has this jumper, so of course I want it.

Next up, see our guide to the key trends for spring/summer 2019.

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