Name one person who doesn't enjoy uncovering a new fashion brand? I'll wait… Even before I was a fashion editor, I would still get giddy about the prospect of finding something new, knowing not everyone would have it already, getting to see a brand really take off, and just generally supporting smaller businesses in an industry that's dominated by big corporations. Now that I am an editor, though, I get to curate up-and-coming and niche brands and give them a platform at Who What Wear. It makes my heart sing.
We do a number of stories highlighting new brands to watch in this space and predicting which names will go on to be big. Well, now that 2021 is more than halfway over, a fact that I'm very much still processing, I thought it was only fitting to circle back with a status report on the new clothing brands that really have made their mark on 2021. While some of the names below are a few years old, others have made an impact right out of the gate (ahem, our very own namesake line). Ahead, discover the 10 names that are on the lips of editors, influencers, celebs, and everyone else this year and, of course, shop them too.
1. Who What Wear Collection
You knew this was coming. Kicking things off is our very own Who What Wear Collection, a line of beautiful and trend-forward staples that are already fashion girl approved. I may be just a little bit biased here, but the line is filled with stunning closet staples that I'm genuinely excited to wear right now and that also have staying power. We've dropped two collections since last month's launch, but you better believe there's so much more up our sleeves you'll want to stay tuned for. Trust me—it's only going to get better.
Shop the matching Lulu Midi Herringbone Skirt ($155).
2. Nensi Dojaka
There are complicated pieces, and then there are Nensi Dojaka pieces. The young designer launched her eponymous line in 2017 while studying at Central Saint Martins, but the label really took off this year as we started to revisit our party wardrobes. Her signature dresses have made a big splash, and fashion's inner circle has embraced the strappy, deconstructed, and delicately layered numbers. I couldn't think of a better way to do "revenge" dressing than these truly special pieces.
Speaking of party dressing, it's hard to miss Nué. The brand's unapologetic use of rhinestones has made it the fashion crowd's go-to label for going-out attire, and it's no surprise that the designer cites the roaring twenties as a big inspiration. With some drawing comparisons between the 1920s and the 2020s, Nué is defining cool party style for the next era of iconic nightlife.
4. Open Edit
When I heard Nordstrom was creating a new in-house brand of trendy staples, I was all ears. Seeing as Who What Wear readers can't get enough of the retailer, I had high hopes for Open Edit, and I'm happy to say it really delivered. With wearable takes on the latest trends, everything looks much more expensive than it should. Needless to say, I beeline to the brand on every visit to the site now.
5. Tyler McGillivary
Tyler McGillivary's eponymous line has been around for a few years, but her pieces have popped up more and more in my Instagram feed this year. Her quirky shapes and retro-inspired prints are some of my favorites. Just looking at her fun-loving pieces sparks joy, so I can only imagine how much fun it is to wear them.
6. Louisa Ballou
According to thermometers worldwide, temperatures rise by entire degrees when you dress in Louisa Ballou. The line of swim and beachwear leans on liberal cutouts and colorful abstract prints that models and celebs galore have been packing for their vacations this summer. Inspired by surfing culture and the designer's home in South Carolina, the line is made for wearing in a tropical destination or, you know, your local rooftop pool.
7. Marshall Columbia
Marshall Columbia's Plush Purse, as worn by Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion, has all the makings to become the next cult bag: a celebrity fan base, a can-spot-it-anywhere shape, and a rather affordable price point. The designer's quirky cutout bike shorts and skirts rendered in neon pinks and greens are not to be missed, either.
If you're carrying an Edas bag, I know you're a fashion person. "I want to put emphasis on showing that fashion and clothing can be a tool to community building," founder Sade Mims told Who What Wear. The made-to-order label—which also carries jewelry—features a highly edited selection of accessories with a distinct perspective. The bags are crafted from richly colored leather, and the signature Yshaia Bag pictured above is accented with a decorative tortoiseshell buckle.
9. Poster Girl
Just when you thought you'd seen every kind of cutout dress this year, Poster Girl comes along. Design duo Francesca Capper and Natasha Somerville have brought to life their vision for a label with the intention of manifesting confidence, playfulness, and nostalgia. Their colorful knit dresses featuring threadbare cutouts have been a highlight on Instagram, and you might recognize the brand's chain-mail dress as a look Megan Fox wore in our July cover shoot.
10. Farai London
If I made a Hot Girl Summer wardrobe checklist, Farai London's dresses would be on it. Trippy prints in saturated shades make these open-back numbers something I just know I'd be living my best life in.
Up next, see the 6 epic going-out trends you need to know about.
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.
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