5 Unknown Brands I'm Enamored With

When asked what the best part of my job is, I’ll likely respond without skipping a beat. Discovering new, up-and-coming brands is hands down the most exciting part. Since I sift through countless shopping sites daily for the most stylish pieces to add to my stories, I get giddy whenever a new brand emerges with a particularly fresh perspective. Whether it’s by coming across them on Instagram or hearing about them through word of mouth (rare but extra- special), I’ve uncovered quite a few brands that I’m betting will be big—and soon.

Okay, for fashion’s inner circle, I’ll admit that the following five indie fashion brands aren’t wholly unknown, but with 6000 Instagram followers or fewer, I’d definitely categorize each of them as an up-and-comer. From the slow-fashion bag brand aiming to shake up the speedy cycle of seasonal It bags to the Australian label defining the current utility aesthetic, I’m sharing the names I’m personally getting behind.

If you’re just as into supporting small businesses as I am or you’re just looking to shop for clothes you know no one else will have, go on to discover the five indie brands I can’t get enough of at the moment.

The NYC-based line isn’t out to design the latest It bag, but I have a strong feeling that the street style set will be quick to adopt the brand. Janis Studios launched this past March with its signature Darka Bag, a simple yet brilliant concept. The bag comes in two sizes and four colors, with three handle options—the idea being that you can swap out the handles depending on mood, occasion, or season.

A few months ago, I predicted that the utility aesthetic would soon eclipse athleisure’s extended stronghold on fashion. If the influx of new brands like Australia-based Mathys Sinclair is any indication, then I’m proudly declaring I told you so—and shopping for all the sleek, utility-inspired pieces to come.

Après Studio is another emerging designer from Australia whose pieces effortlessly toe the line between frilly and subversive. For instance, the corset-inspired top, which I’m wearing in the photo above, perfectly illustrates the brand’s pretty-slash-grungy aesthetic.

Anyone who works in fashion will tell you that Nicole Saldaña’s shoes are hardly unknown, but if you’re unfamiliar, consider this your official introduction. Her quirky, fun-loving designs offer a completely fresh take on classic footwear shapes. I mean, have you ever seen a pair of loafers so cool?

With so many Insta-famous jewelry brands these days, it often seems like everyone owns marginally different versions of the same pieces. Enter Kinn. Each classic piece is handmade in L.A. and has a nostalgic twist that makes it feel as special as a family heirloom. No dupes here.