We're Fashion Buyers, and We're Telling You These 12 Brands Are Worth Your Time


(Image credit: Courtesy of Chet Lo; @knwlslondon@onalajaofficial; @poster__girl__official)

Question for you: If you were to look at your closet, what would it say about you? Would it tell the story of someone that loves to keep on top of trends? Or how about someone that loves shopping second-hand? Or maybe someone that loves buying from female-founded businesses? Your wardrobe is the simplest way to tell the world who you are, without actually sayings a word—a fact that fashion buyers know well.

Long before editors are rounding up the best things to shop right now, buyers are the hidden force of experts to decide which brands are worth buying into (quite literally). They play an instrumental role in championing rising brands and exposing us to new trends that are sold IRL and on the internet, but that can become a part of people's wardrobes worldwide. 

Every great fashion buyer knows that not only are wardrobes a peek into each person's life story, but that brands offer a window into the story of their founders too. Learning about and championing founders' work is pivotal to the best buyers in the industry. But you don't have to just take my word for it. Ahead, we reached out to three fashion buyers who have dedicated their work to championing POC-owned brands (whether that's through opening their stores or working for a mass retailer like Nordstrom). They'll be sharing how they broke into the industry, why supporting rising talent is more important than ever, and which brands they think will blow up this year. Their work reminds us of the importance of shopping brands that speak to what matters most to you.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Amira Rasool )

WHO: Amira Rasool, Founder of The Folklore

For those who aren't familiar with your work, what do you do? And how did you break into the fashion industry?

I am the Founder and CEO of The Folklore, the leading commerce platform for discovering African designer brands. I broke into the industry in college, interning for WWD, Marie Claire, The Fader, and V Magazine. After college, I began working full-time at V Magazine as the Fashion Coordinator before launching The Folklore.  

As a buyer and curator, much of your role is about discovering new talent. How do you find new brands? And is there one thing you think makes a rising fashion brand worth following?

I mostly find new brands online since I don't live in Africa full time, and 85% of our brands are sourced from there. I typically find brands on Instagram by following accounts that feature Black or African brands like Retail Noire and Manju. I also browse through galleries from the various fashion weeks happening in Africa; Lagos Fashion Week is my favorite one to follow. When I am actually in Africa, I always spend a day or two in whatever city I am in, visiting local multibrand concept stores that support emerging designers. One thing that makes a rising fashion brand worth following is consistency. I love a brand that has a story and an aesthetic that they continue to build upon and remix each season.

Can you share the fashion brands you predict will be big in 2022?


1. Third Crown
(Image credit: Courtesy of Third Crown via In The BLK)

I feel Kofi and Kristin design their products for people like me who are a bit rough and always on the move and, as a result, can't commit to wearing dainty or easily breakable jewelry. The pieces are unisex, so the designs focus on architecture rather than trying to create a trendy piece for a particular type of woman. Third Crown's attention to design first is what really will shine through this year.

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2. MmusoMaxwell
(Image credit: @mmusomaxwell)

Witnessing the evolution of Mmuso Potsane and Maxwell Boko over the short four years, we have been working with them makes me confident that they will be a major force this year. Their ability to design both feminine and powerful suits while also creating beautiful pleated skirts and dresses show their versatility and how easily they can fit into any fashion girl's closet. The recent Woolmark Prize nomination doesn't hurt either.

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3. Onalaja
(Image credit: @onalajaofficial)

There's no way Onalaja is not going to have a major red carpet moment this year. Designer Kanyinsola Onalaja's hand-beaded designs are the ultimate showstoppers that are calling for someone like Gabrielle Union, Dua Lipa, or Zendaya to wear.

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4. Edas
(Image credit: @__edas)

Over the last year and a half, Edas has already been working to solidify itself as one of New York's most exciting accessories brands. With the addition of new styles like the Mini Belt Bag and the release of brilliant new colorways for its signature Yshaia Bag (which I own and wear all the time), I imagine you'll be seeing this bag on the arms of many women.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Aberizk )

WHO: Allison Aberizk and Justin Xavier, Co-Founders of Aberizk 

For those who aren't familiar with your work, what do you do? And how did you break into the fashion industry? 

We are both owners of Aberizk, a store located in NYC, dedicated to curating and buying archival designer vintage pieces and discovering new independent and emerging designer brands. To be honest, breaking into the fashion industry is a process; I still feel like we're working on it. But we both forged our paths—Allison worked various roles at existing fashion brands, and Justin was a freelance graphic designer and fashion designer. We decided to collaborate and start our own company because we knew we had the curation skills and awareness of trend forecasting, so why not put it to use? 

You founded Aberizk in 2022. Why was it important to you to open a store dedicated to curating emerging designer brands and vintage pieces?

It was important to open a store like ours because shopping has changed and we want to reflect that change. Shoppers are more interested in finding unique one-of-a-kind versus mass produce. They want special pieces tailored to their style and tell a story. As more and more shopping happens online only, we wanted to offer a physical space to discover and really experience each piece instead of just adding to your cart.

Can you share the fashion brands you predict will be big in 2022?


1. Chet Lo
(Image credit: Courtesy of Chet Lo)

Considering aughts fashion is all the rage right now, this Chet Lo is bound to blow up this year. We love all the textured 3D and gradient fabrics; all the pieces feel like a futuristic fantasy.

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2. Kim Shui
(Image credit: Courtesy of Kim Shui)

Kim Shui’s work is a must-shop for 2022. Her pieces seem to pull from Y2K elements but are modernly using bold prints and interesting cuts. 

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3. Poster Girl
(Image credit: @poster__girl__official)

Poster Girl is a brand you want to wear to stand out, as their unique use of chainmail and lace is perfect for a night out. Plus, the London-based brand has already been spotted on the likes of Dua Lipa and Megan Fox, so it’s only a matter of time before it takes over.

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4. Knwls
(Image credit: @knwlslondon)

Founded by Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault, this south-London based label, we love how they play with the idea of femininity within their silhouettes, and their prints feel very unique.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Gennie Yi Brady)

WHO: Gennie Yi Brady, Nordstrom Space Buyer

For those who aren't familiar with your work—what do you do? And how did you break into the fashion industry?

I'm the buyer for Nordstrom Space. I pursued a career in fashion by attending Parsons School of Design and interning for several designer brands. The internships were a great way to gain firsthand experience in different niches within the industry. They also helped me make connections with people who eventually played a part in landing my first job when I graduated working in a buying office for a luxury retailer.

Nordstrom is an incredibly powerful retailer in the industry. How do you think the company has led the charge in the past few years of supporting minority-owned emerging brands? 

At Nordstrom, we always look for ways to work with emerging minority-owned brands that share our values, represent the customers we serve and ignite a sense of discovery. We believe in the value of diversity and remain committed to playing an active role in contributing to positive change for our customers and communities. We've set an ambitious goal to deliver $500M in retail sales from brands owned by, operated by, or designed by Black and Latinx individuals by the end of 2025. We partner with industry leaders like the 15 Percent Pledge and Harlem's Fashion Row. While we have made progress, we know more work to be done and are focused on reaching our goals. 

Can you share the fashion brands you predict will be big in 2022?


1. ERL by Eli Russell Linnetz
(Image credit: @erl__________)

This brand has already had a meteoric rise in the last few seasons (just look at A$AP Rocky's 2021 Met Gala Look). I think by the end of 2022, his brand will have reached a new level of cult status. He has an incredibly edited and curated point of view that feels both nostalgic and current at the same time and has been able to create a world and signature brand language so quickly for a new designer.

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2. Isa Boulder
(Image credit: @isaboulder)

We're continuing to see fantastic feedback around the Indonesia-based designer duo's brand, Isa Boulder. Their knitting technique and sensual, subversive design aesthetic have a tremendous balance of sweetness and darkness. With the launch of their new men's collection, I think this will be one to watch as they grow their customer reach this year.

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3. Nensi Dojaka
(Image credit: Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka)

I think the sky's the limit for Nensi Dojaka, who is at such a young point in her career and fresh off of her LVMH prize win in 2021. This Albanian designer has already launched a million copycats and an explosive lingerie-as-everyday-wear trend.

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Shop more Nordstrom Space curated brands:

Next: 18 Buzzy Female-Owned Fashion Brands the Fashion Set Loves

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.