Back in November, we gave a shout-out to all our readers to find out exactly what it was that you wanted to read. An overwhelming number of you asked to hear more about the independent fashion brands that needed our extra support in the midst of the pandemic. Well, we would expect nothing less, and of course, we were more than happy to oblige. While restrictions are starting to ease, we believe it is more important than ever to continue supporting these brands. It'll be a long road to recovery, but it's a cause we're ready to fight for.
We are self-confessed small-brand obsessives here at Who What Wear, and there's nothing we love more than to champion those labels that are doing exciting things in the industry, whether it's dedicating themselves to fairer wages or creating garments out of upcycled fabrics. Really, we're spoilt for choice, but we've put our heads together and come up with six names. From MaisonCléo's puffed-sleeve appeal to Benjamin Fox's vintage-inspired frocks, scroll down to see and shop the small brands you need to know about.
1. Farewell, Foolish Objects
Farewell, Foolish Objects is a London-based studio that creates stunning ready-to-wear pieces out of vintage fabrics and pre-loved clothing. It was the brand's patchwork jackets that first caught my eye, with their one-of-a-kind prints and geometric quilting, but the embroidered blouses are also not to be missed.
Every piece from the Benjamin Fox label is handmade to order by the founder in her home in Norfolk, Virginia. Working with a range of sustainable, deadstock, end-of-line and ex-designer fabrics, organic cottons, and natural and biodegradable materials, the collections are launched in short runs so don't tend to stick around for long. Expect plenty of vintage-inspired frocks.
3. Kai Collective
Established in August 2016, Kai Collective is a London-based womenswear brand set up by fashion-and-travel blogger Fisayo Longe. With an emphasis on size inclusivity, all the designs run from XXS to XXXL and cover everything from colour-pop shirtdresses and second-skin mesh tops to party-ready minis.
MaisonCléo is a brand to watch for 2021 and beyond. Marie Dewet founded the French label with her mother, who is the brand's namesake and sole seamstress. Her designs are instantly recognisable by their bow-tie details and statement sleeves.
Laura Casas, a trained seamstress and pattern-maker, founded The Marcon Court Project with the aim of creating long-lasting, sustainable clothing out of pre-loved pieces. Highlights include the brand's two-faced blazers, delicate embroidered blouses and quirky upcycled headscarves.
6. Mad Brown Knitwear
I stumbled across Mad Brown Knitwear last year in the midst of a heatwave and instantly fell in love with the brand's vibrant upcycled cable-knit jumpers. The brand has grown in popularity, and it can now be tricky to get your hands on these one-of-a-kind creations or nab a custom-made slot. However, I can confirm that it's worth the wait.
7. Chalsie Joan
New to my radar is Chalsie Joan, a small independent British slow-fashion label by designer and founder Chalsie Williamson in just May 2020. Exclusively sold online, the brand sets out to offer a limited and collectable range of eclectic, vintage-inspired pieces, which is essentially what I’m here for. As it’s a small business, the lead time on its creations is three weeks, but I think the wait is more than justifiable when the end result is pieces this special.