Shop Like an Editor: 11 Emerging Brands I'm Backing Right Now

Shop Like an Editor is a Who What Wear column where our managing editor Kristen Nichols shares her latest fashion finds.

To me, the discovery of the new is something that has always drawn me to fashion. Growing up, I would comb through the latest runway shows online, watch Tim Blanks' BTS fashion week videos, and spend my entire Saturday reading through magazines, tearing out pages to pin to a mood board in my room. Not much has changed now that I'm a fashion editor.

I'm constantly inspired by what's happening in the fashion world and always have an eye out for emerging designers. Right now, more than ever, I think it's important to champion on-the-rise talent and lend support to small brands. I think of it as voting with my dollars for what I want to see more of. Here, I'm highlighting some emerging brands that have me excited right now that you'll find in my wardrobe. From labels designing everything from affordable, everyday jewelry to reinvented wardrobe essentials to modern takes on suiting, see the 11 rising fashion brands I'm backing right now.

A.W.A.K.E. Mode

A.W.A.K.E Mode came onto my radar last year, and my love for the brand only grew when I attended its S/S 20 runway show during London Fashion Week. The brand takes a modern approach to classic tailoring with details like uneven hemlines that make them feel equally elegant and conceptual.

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I was instantly drawn to the shape of this blazer where one side is longer than the other. it's truly a special piece I'll forever have in my closet.

The coordinating pants are equally beautiful. I love wearing them with the blazer as a matching set but will also be wearing them with a T-shirt and sandals.

The Frankie Shop

If you're after expertly tailored pieces that hit at a great price point, look to The Frankie Shop. The brand is a favorite amongst the street style set, so I've had my eye on it and recently ordered my first piece from the brand: the faux-leather shorts here, which look much more expensive than their $119 price tag. Its collection is full of modern takes on suiting, like this short suit, which I've also have my eye on.

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We've been covering the rise of Bermuda shorts for a while now, but I didn't try out the trend for myself until I spotted this pair.


While Gauge81 has a range of designs that includes everything from ribbed bodysuits to satin eveningwear, I particularly love its suiting. Can you tell I can't get enough of the suiting trend right now? This tuxedo-style jacket and matching cigarette pants feel like they were plucked straight from the '90s (in the best possible way, of course).

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I love that this jacket is finished with a crystal button.

One of my favorite things about this set? The beautiful rust color.

Young Frankk

I always have my eye out for up-and-coming jewelry brands, so I was excited to discover Young Frankk, which is local to L.A., where I'm based. The minimal-meets-sophisticated designs are modern classics that I know I'll be wearing for years ahead. And not only are the pieces stunning, but they're also affordable.

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How amazing do these look stacked?


Founded in 2005, Nanushka isn't exactly new, but in the last couple of years, the brand has rocketed to popularity amongst the fashion set, and it's easy to see why. The brand designs clothes like ankle-grazing trench coats and matching skirt sets that I just want to dress in every day. Plus, it has tons of vegan-leather pieces that look and feel like the real thing.

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One of my favorite pieces from Nanushka's latest collection.

Snakeskin is a print that will never go out of style.


Stockholm-based brand Totême designs the kind of wardrobe staples that I want to wear season after season, and I do. The brand really excels at taking your work pieces (like a collared shirt) and adding details like puff sleeves to make them feel updated.

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I'm a huge proponent of the puff-sleeve top.

I've been wearing wide-leg jeans more than any other style recently.


When it comes to pieces I know I'll want in my wardrobe forever, I look to Australian brand Matteau. It nails effortless style with timeless pieces like easy dresses and this swimsuit that'll never go out of style.

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Michael Lo Sordo

If you're looking for stunning eveningwear, Michael Lo Sordo should be at the top of your list. The Australian designer is a master of designing beautiful, elegant pieces like this matching satin camisole and pant set. This black one I'm wearing here already sold out, but is still available in white.

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The most special thing about this top is that it actually falls to the floor.

These wide-leg pants are perfection—especially when worn with the matching top.


Creative Director Tommy Ton has an eye for reinvented classics with designs that breathe new life into our everyday uniform basics. Just look to this trench coat, finished with a cape-like detail and removable sleeves. 

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Yep, the reinvented trench is one of the biggest trends to emerge over the last year, and this one is so gorgeous.


With a cruelty-free ethos and a focus on vegan clothing, Apparis specializes in faux fur and leather. It has a particularly strong collection of outerwear pieces like this belted coat and '80s-inspired trench.

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This plush coat is just as cozy as it looks.

With a nod to '80s proportions, this is truly a dream piece.

Esse Studios

I admire Esse Studios for its unique approach to wardrobe essentials. "Esse" is actually short for essentials, and the brand aims to design innovative interpretations of the basics you wear every day—and it truly delivers. Just look to its classic white button-down shirt, which is designed to be worn open from the waist, lending a cool, sculptural shape to the piece.

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Truly one of the best pieces I own.

To wear with knee-high boots or heels.