Small But Mighty: 56 Pieces From the Most Beautiful Independent Brands

It’s official. We’re well and truly in the thick of Black Friday weekend and whilst there are many deals to be had (and undeniable benefits to considered purchases at this time), I much prefer spotlighting the brands people are less familiar with during this period. I changed the way I shop a decade ago and whilst I do dabble in high street shopping when I find quality pieces, around 80% of my new acquirements are purchased either pre-loved or from independent brands and mulled over for a prolonged period.

I’m not the only one who has changed their shopping habits either. The ever-diversifying fashion industry is allowing niche labels to come to the fore, with many customers preferring to invest in original designs and lesser-known styles, especially when it comes to gift-giving season.

The choices are aplenty when it comes to independent brands. I could have easily written a series on the many I adore but alas I have whittled it down to make it somewhat digestible. I spent the best part of 2023 keeping note of the pieces that caught my attention, so you’ve come to the right place if you’re interested in discovering new names. Call this article the antithesis of Black Friday, if you may agree that it's a special feeling knowing that whilst buying from small brands, you’re supporting artisans, makers and small businesses.

Many of these brands are also treating us to generous discounts, whether you're looking for a fashion-based pick-me-up to add to your collection or a gift for a loved one. Keep scrolling to see and shop some unique pieces. You’ll find something to cater to every corner of the home and wardrobe, whether you're a homeware fanatic, a dress lover or a person with a penchant for bags.

Shop My Independent Brand Edit:

My heart skipped many beats when I first stumbled upon Guénolée Courcoux's sculptures. Crafted from a grainy terracotta her designs evoke femininity and a handful of moods. My favourite is Woman in Her Thoughts — pensive and beautifully vulnerable.

Doda the Store carries many unique pieces by independent brands including Cecilie Telle's knitted creations. Her woollen bucket bags are available in many autumnal hues and this particular colour is exclusive to the site.

The most plush blanket scarf crafted from 100% Geelong Lambswool. Pair this beautiful piece with a camel coat for a top-to-toe tonal look.

The idea behind Ren is investment pieces that will last for seasons to come. Shirred bodice dresses in particular have a longstanding appeal.

Be still my beating heart. Essēn will never steer you wrong.

Gigi and Olive excel at all things romance so I wasn't surprised to find these darling date night cards on the website. You needn't spend a fortune on a heartfelt gift for your love.

These adorable pouches make the sweetest gifts. You can also personalise them with calligraphy text.

Stellar 79 offers the daintest jewels, many of which are inspired by the night sky. Think shimmer and celestial sparkle.

Head to Poésie by Julie for delicate, free-flowing frocks. I adore the cowl neckline paired with this milky hue.

Nudie Jeans boasts one of the most inclusive size ranges I've seen from a sustainable brand, therefore I'm forever singing its praises.

Make a beeline for OHMU for expertly crafted knitwear that's guaranteed to withstand the test of time.

All Birds is a sustainable trainer brand offering cushioned lace-ups and slips-on mules for everyday wear. I own the Plant Pacer trainers and I can attest to the comfort.

The Slow Label is the brand to know if you're looking for staple pieces with a twist. One of its latest additions is this boat neck style with an exposed central seam. Picture it with jeans and heeled mules.

My eyes are firmly set on Been's limited edition Lowell clutch. It'll make the perfect party bag and disrupt the unusual sequined contenders. As with most of Been's styles, it's crafted from deadstock bovine leather which is donated by Nest. This particular style is also available in a rich tan hue.

Made in Ireland from organic merino wool, this cardigan ticks the boxes on practicality, sustainability and style.

By now you may know how much I love co-ords and this is my favourite style this winter!

Luckily for us Charlotte Simone's latest drop has arrived just in time for Christmas. Sumptuous, shearling goodness.

I recommend Milaner's woven bags to everyone I know.

A figure-forming style with a directional cut-out detail. Perhaps I've found my New Year's Eve dress!

A sophisticated luggage brand with an array of muted tone colourways. Monos recently collaborated with Magnolia Bakery and introduced a glossy lilac and yellow (reminiscent of cake frosting) into its arsenal.

Thread the Spool specialise in raglan-sleeved pieces and full skirts to frolic in. They offer a made-to-order service making each piece unique. Sizes span from UK 8 - 20 and you can further elaborate on your measurements for a personalised service.

Hum London's handpainted lampshades make a whimsical addition to any home. One word, beautiful.

2023 is the year of quiet luxury and mid-range bags are taking the spotlight. C.Nicol's cylindrical style will add an element of intrigue to any outfit.

The cutest woollen hood for the bitterly cold days ahead.

I discovered Naru this year and I've been nothing short of impressed. Its arsenal comprises structural totes and cross-body bags in neutral colourways. The bags are also available for rental!

Like bottled sunshine, truly.

Adhere these to your walls for an at-home ode to the ocean.

The Own Studio is best known for bridalwear but have you seen the gowns? They each exude glamour. 

This Portuguese brand has had my heart for the past year. Although the pieces are fashion-forward, they each have a timeless and vintage appeal.

You'll find the Wolf & Gypsy store on the cobbled streets of Brighton but if you can't make it there fret not for their online store boasts an array of styles — from vintage to handknitted pieces.

For the Creators is a unique concept store specialising in self-care products and apparel for Mamas. I haven't seen a sweeter nursing pillow.

A melt-on-the-skin putty laced with calming essential oils.

This oversized clam dish makes for the sweetest centrepiece and focal point in any room. Pile it high with clementines and it instantly becomes a piece of art.

I have a penchant for Parisian-style clutch bags and Chylak bags boast a similar look. Featuring a soft croc-effect embossing, gold hardware and an elongated chain, it's reminiscent of vintage styles.

These pointelle pyjamas are adorable and Damson Madder's other offerings are equally as cute.

Bell Huntey's many decorative napkins will elevate any tablescape and whilst you're on the site enjoy Lindsay Warner's heartwarming poetry. This piece is so much more than a napkin, it's inspired by childhood desire, sweet nostalgia and imagination.

It'll come as no surprise that I'm championing Ninety Percent as an independent brand. I find it to be one of the most directional sustainable brands on the market. From the backing of charitable causes to the extended sizing and limited but intentional capsule, the brand is a cut above the rest.

You may be familiar with ELV for its patchwork denim pieces and this season the quilted technique extends to corduroy pieces.

The Gunia Project site is an umbrella for artisanal European brands. From handknitted capes to woven bonnets, you're investing in people and the practices dearest to them.

From everyday wardrobe heroes to wedding dresses comprising natural fabrications, you're guaranteed to find unique pieces on Coco Conran. Pictured is the Douppion wedding dress. You can also find day dresses and trousers on-site.

A huge part of sustainably is garment care and it's safe to say that Steamery is spearheading the clothing care sphere. I've done a fair bit of steaming in my life and its steamers are some of the best I've used. Their arsenal also includes detergent, lint rollers, fabric shavers and cashmere combs. Pilling, be gone.

Toru and Naoko is a feel-good lingerie brand with sustainability at the heart. Just look at the sweet lacing on this two-piece. Each piece is made-to-order and you can opt for custom sizing!

I've retired my Casa Celva piece from the kitchen. Instead, it has pride of place on my bookshelves wedged between my other trinkets.

Dala is one of the few brands specialising in contemporary denim pieces and with such an inclusive size range. Currently, the range spans UK sizes 24 to 44. I'll be styling my On Tap Midi with a Victoriana blouse underneath this winter.

I adore my Tortware clip, so you could say that I'm tempted by this matching wide-tooth marbled comb.

KLAYD create reimagined basics for every body coupling the simplicity of uniform pieces with a streamlined fit.

Delicious-looking hoops in every sense of the word. They're delightfully playful.

Lovers of cottagecore, head straight to Naya Rea for blouson sleeves, cotton-rich fabrications and full skirts galore. You will not be disappointed.

I'm continually impressed with Daphne's jewellery. It's the place to visit for statement, gold jewels. I'm a water baby, so I'm never too far from some type of shell adornment.

Linen is my preferred fabrication for bedding and Piglet in Bed boasts the supplest-looking sheets in various muted tones.

From waistcoats to tailored trousers, you'll find a dedicated linen capsule on Ruhe. The designs may be minimalist but the cuts are suave.

I do not doubt that you'll be impressed with Eleanor Isobelle's adorable Giclée prints. I couldn't help but smile when I was scrolling through the illustrations. Her art will make the sweetest addition to any space.

I don't think I've seen a more aesthetic deodorant bottle, not to mention the rarity of it being a natural gel formula. This is one to add to a beauty lover's stocking.

Keeping Baukjen under wraps is a disservice to lovers of fashion, so allow me to kindly introduce you. Baukjen is a sustainable brand with plenty of fashion-forward (though timeless, of course) silhouettes. This ruched mini is a prime example, it's refined and sexy.

Albie & Pearl's curation of goods includes vintage furniture, glassware and one-of-a-kind artwork. Put simply, I'm in awe of the artistry behind the glass knotted stem detail.

And Mother is a marketplace honouring all things motherhood. You'll find tidbits for pregnancy, motherhood and the years beyond. I've had a peruse of the site and I found this book ever so special.

Next Up: I'm an Editor Who Is Hard to Buy for-These Gifts Would Genuinely Impress Me

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.