6 Designer Brands That Define the Current Zeitgeist


(Image credit: @kendalljenner; @camillecharriere; @dualipa)

Designer labels are often at the helm of the cultural moment, orchestrating plenty of buzz around a new launch, whether it be a bag, shoes, or an entire collection. They might tap a certain group of celebrities and influencers to style the latest pieces or bring back a beloved style from their brand archives to play to our nostalgia, but regardless of how and why, there are always a few key labels that are at the center of the fashion zeitgeist. 

Seeing as we've made it to the halfway point of the year, we think it's a good time to pause and take stock of the bigger picture. So far, 2022 has been defined by a number of reigning sartorial sentiments—from the Y2K revival to dopamine dressing—thanks in large part to the below six names. Ahead, we're listing out the most popular designer brands that have definitely made the biggest impact on 2022 style thus far. 


(Image credit: Balenciaga; @camillecharriere)

The It Buy: Balenciaga Le Cagole Shoulder Bag ($2600)

Everyone's trying to bring the early 2000s back, but no one is succeeding at making us nostalgic for the era quite like Balenciaga is. This year, the brand launched a new and improved version of its iconic and celeb-adored Moto bag from the era along with several pieces that feature similar motorcycle details, including the Cagole bag and boots. Celebrities and influencers have universally adopted the new moto-inspired accessories and brought Balenciaga to the very top of our luxury wish lists this year.


(Image credit: Miu Miu; @tylynnnguyen)

The It Buy: Miu Miu Pleated Raw-Edge Cotton Low-Rise Midi Skirt ($1550)

Miu Miu was already on the lips of everyone in the fashion world before 2022 even began. The brand set the internet ablaze with the launch of its spring/summer collection, which featured several pleated micro miniskirts, hacked-off dress shirts, and low-rises galore. The looks have seemingly graced every A-lister, magazine cover, and street style gallery since they became available IRL, and we'd even go so far as to credit the brand with the rise in a certain subversive preppy aesthetic that's reigning in 2022.


(Image credit: Blumarine; @Dualipa)

The It Buy: Blumarine Butterfly Sandals ($1255)

We'd be remiss to talk about Y2K fashion without a mention of one brand that's been an especially influential force behind its comeback: Blumarine. Under the creative direction of Nicola Brognano since late 2019, the Italian label has undergone a reboot and served up the kind of crystal-embellished and butterfly-shaped pieces that fashion people are going wild for. Not to be missed: the butterfly heels that we're already labeling an It shoe of the season.


(Image credit: Prada; @samimiro)

The It Buy: Prada Textured Leather Motorcycle Jacket ($6700)

Leave it to Prada to transform the most quotidian fashion items into verified It pieces. The label is topping our list of the best designer brands of 2022 for more reasons than one—including the array of stunning distressed leather jackets and the latest archival bag it has reissued, a polished top-handle boxy shape we can't get enough of.


(Image credit: Loewe; @pernilleteisbaek)

The It Buy: Loewe Printed Ribbed Tank ($490)

No designer brand blurs the line between fashion and art quite like Loewe. This season especially, the brand has earned a coveted spot in fashion people's closets with its sculptural silhouettes, watercolor prints, and trompe l'oeil heels. Although pieces like the gold armor dress Zendaya wore on the red carpet and the colorful tank dress Kendall Jenner posted to her Instagram are getting us talking, it's ironically Loewe's simple white tanks emblazoned with the brand logo that fashion people are buying en masse.


(Image credit: Versace; @emrata)

The It Buy: Versace Medusa Aevitas Embellished Satin Platform Pumps ($1425)

Who's ready to party? Between the shorter hemlines, bare midriffs, and disco-ready metallic mesh that are brand signatures, we're embracing "revenge" dressing more than ever in 2022, and it has a lot to do with the world of Versace. We also have the brand to thank for single-handedly bringing back platforms with its satin Medusa pumps that celebs such as Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande are fans of.

Up next, 21 New Items Our Editors Added to Their Closets This Month

Senior Editor

Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.