The Unknown Affordable Brands I'm Shopping Instead of Zara Right Now

Although the big-name high-street brands—Zara, Mango, Topshop—will always have a special place in my heart, there's something exciting about coming across a lesser-known label. Of course, there's nothing wrong with buying into the latest viral look; however, as all true fashion lovers know, it can be easy to become disillusioned by the identikit ensembles that can come from sticking to the sartorially well-trodden path.

My solution? Take some time every few months to dig around online and discover some new brands. This will ensure that your wardrobe is kept fresh, diverse, and unique and help you avoid the awkward outfit-match moment. To save you time, I've scoured the internet and interrogated the Who What Wear team to find our top eight lesser-known affordable brands and their best new-in pieces. Prepare to smugly name-drop these labels next time you're out with your fashion-loving friends.

1. Edited

Edited is the German e-commerce site that delivers high-end-looking pieces at purse-friendly prices. Its diverse range of styles should be your go-to for souped-up staples—think ruffled shirts, statement jewelry, and printed tees. I also love its recent shoe capsule collection in collaboration with a number of high-profile bloggers, including Pernille Teisbaek and Maja Wyh.


2. Free People

Heralded for its fresh take on bohemian style (we recently told you all about its amazing swimsuits), the online store boasts an impressive selection of womenswear characterized by romantic silhouettes and vibrant colorways. The rust-colored Winnie suit is a winner for summer 2018.


3. Oh Hey Girl

Inspired by Korean street style, Oh Hey Girl started life as a Depop account before launching as an official site in June 2016. With statement fabrics and bold cuts, its collection will certainly add character to your wardrobe. I have my eye on the zebra trousers, which I'll wear year-round to liven up my wardrobe basics. This e-tailer rarely restocks pieces, so make sure to move quickly.

4. Kitri Studio

Set apart by its tightly edited collection of premium-feeling affordable pieces, Kitri Studio is a Who What Wear fave, only stocking limited quantities of each style. In other words, you can essentially guarantee that you won't see the same item on every other woman on the high street. The Gabriella dress was an instant sellout when photographed on Charlotte Groeneveld at fashion week last year, so keep your eyes peeled for the next big thing.


5. Olivia Rose the Label

This young brand was founded in January 2017 by English designer Olivia Rose Havelock. Every item is made to order in limited quantities by Olivia herself in her studio. I've fallen for Olivia's signature shirred blouses, which are destined to be worn with your favorite jeans for Friday night cocktails.


6. Sézane

Sézane is the little bit of Paris everyone needs in their wardrobe. The label began life as an eBay vintage store but now produces retro-inspired, understated pieces that'll easily slip into your capsule wardrobe—ideal if you're looking for pieces that stand the test of time. I'll be adding Sézane's shirtdresses and midi skirts to my shopping cart this summer, but also make sure you check out the swimwear selection.


7. Rouje

Created by our favorite Gallic It girl, Jeanne Damas, Rouje is in the market to deliver Parisian basics with a nostalgic twist—think flighty camisoles, flared jeans, and button-front sundresses. An essential for summer staples, we'll be buying one of the brand's sellout Gina dresses to wear with espadrilles and a straw tote. What better way to achieve that illusive je ne sais quoi?


8. House of Sunny

Describing its wares as "supersized basics with a clean, flawless aesthetic and silhouettes cut precisely for everyday success," House of Sunny has become cool girls' go-to affordable fashion brand. Now on its 11th collection, the brand offers up plenty of references to new-season trends, alongside artistic silhouettes and unfussy, unprinted fabrics (apart from the odd bit of gingham).


This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.