Despite all of the chaos and uncertainty, it feels as though 2020 was the year of the small brand. Of course, that is not to diminish the struggles that independent brands have faced (and still face) through the pandemic, but as the parameters of our lives have shrunk, our fascination for small-scale production has only grown. Whether it's due to concern for the environment or purely a fear that independent businesses would fail without our support, platforms such as Etsy and Instagram have given us a chance to discover new names like never before.
As a team, we're passionate about championing small brands, and like intrepid explorers, we've spent many an evening wading through the internet to hunt down those unknown labels. When you stumble across a gem, there's nothing quite like it. It also helps that big-name e-commerce sites like Net-a-Porter are becoming so much better at celebrating up-and-coming talent. More than ever, it's so easy to support small brands in a big way.
In celebration of all things small but mighty, I asked some of our editors to tell me the brands that they're championing this season. From Musier Paris's vintage-inspired charm to Tove's elegant minimalism, scroll down to see our edit.
Joy Montgomery, Shopping Editor
I have always loved how Musier Paris manages to tread the line between timeless minimalism and vintage-inspired cool (essentially how my wardrobe is divided), and its latest drop is packed full of lust-worthy designs that I can't stop thinking about.
Since its inception in 2018, it's fair to say that I've loved pretty much everything that La Veste has created. As it's colourful, feel-good, and quirky in a world of copycat Insta ensembles, I've been in awe of the brand's use of colour and print, and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually do maximalist dressing.
I first spotted Cawley Studio on Instagram and was instantly won over by its homely yet impactful designs. Offering up two collections a year, each piece is individually hand-cut and made in London from all-natural materials—mostly cotton and linens with the addition of wool and sheepskin in the colder seasons.
Mad Brown Knitwear
With its innovative take on upcycling old knitwear, I couldn't not include Mad Brown Knitwear in my small brands round-up. The drops sell out super quick, so there aren't any pieces currently available, but the next release is on Sunday, 6 December, so make sure to set your alarms!
Zoe Anastasiou, Fashion and Social Media Editor
Lily & Roo
This is one of my favourite brands for dainty, fine jewellery. I got a Lily & Roo pearl necklace this summer and have worn it every day since. The collections are full of pieces you'll never want to take off.
Already championed by some of the chicest women on Instagram (Monikh and Lucy Williams included), Tove is the up-and-coming brand I predict will be big news next year. Its signature pleated dress is at the top of my wish list and will be a worthy investment as soon as it’s warm enough to wear it.
Monika the Label
I love discovering brands that have prioritised sustainability as a part of their ethos from the very beginning. Monika the Label manufactures all of its products right here in London and works with eco-friendly fabrics like Regenesis Light Satin, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.
Emma Spedding, Editor
Photo:Emma Spedding for Who What Wear
Known for its use of sustainable materials and championing of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, Rave Review creates the most amazing patchwork, picnic rug–style designs. I'm particularly obsessed with the brand's statement-making fringed dresses.
Combining classic silhouettes with unusual fabrics and prints, Aje has all the makings of a true fashion classic. I instantly fell for the brand's hand-dyed linen dress this year.
If you're looking for basics with a design-led twist, I can't recommend Lvir enough. I have my eye on the beige bodysuit, which will layer so nicely under both jeans and dresses.