I'm a Fashion Expert—37 Pieces That Stopped Me in My Tracks This Month

Shopping at the moment is no mean feat. Between the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and new-ins, there’s plenty of possible purchases to be made from some of our favourite high street retailers and high-end designers, but if ever there’s a time to support small businesses, it’s now. Independent shopping is my kryptonite; I adore the feeling of acquiring something thoughtful and curated, pieces which have often been made in small batches and with ethical production at the forefront, making it an even more special experience. Alongside pre-loved sites, shopping small is fast become the antidote to fast fashion.

I started shopping small years ago, initially influenced by my Dad’s love of vintage and later becoming well versed on the nuances of sustainability, including fibres, production and scales of clothing being produced. Now, I hardly buy anything new and when I do it’s a meticulous process, starting with second-hand and independent brands before venturing to the high street for better materials.

After the switch, what I lost in instant gratification and impulsive buys I more than made up for with my ever-growing roster of indie brands whose beautiful creations are landing on my wish list by the day. And because of this, I’m always keen to shine a light on consignment stores, independent brands and pre-loved sites. 


(Image credit: @writtenbyavalon)

On Avalon: Coutille's Romy Dress

If I hadn’t already whetted my appetite for niche brands this year, I attended 080 Barcelona Fashion Week this autumn and witnessed some small European brands showcase their collections in real life. I left feeling inspired ahead of the winter season and upon my return, scoured the internet to find the pieces and brands that had caught my eye. 

My standout brand this month is Coutille. You may have seen the brand’s 24/hr slip dress doing the rounds on Instagram, (Who What Wear UK's Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi owns this dress, too), and let me tell you, it's even more special in real life. With an expert bias cut it celebrates the female form like no other piece in my wardrobe. Plus, it's easy to dress up or down with a quick change of layers and accessories. Win, win! 

So, whether you’re looking for new knitwear, small leather goods, a fancy frock or outerwear you'll love for years, keep reading for my ultimate small brand edit. After all, December is the perfect time to shop small and treat a loved one ( or yourself) to a one-off piece. 


Up Next: The Early Black Friday Sales Worth Shopping - and What We'd Buy

Freelance Fashion Editor

Avalon Afriyie is a freelance writer and storyteller based in London. She specialises in sustainable fashion, health and the narratives of marginalised communities.

She has a background in fashion show production and styling, having previously worked on The Clothes Show and with the Lyst Group. Since graduating in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in English and contemporary media, she’s worked as a feature writer for an independent publication and a contributor for Quill’s creator network. She now marries her passion for words and style, writing for some of the most esteemed fashion and lifestyle publications, Who What Wear UK and Stylist.

Avalon also provides copywriting services, creative consultancy, and visual media for independent businesses, including travel guides, interviews, press releases and blog posts. Her work has been featured on Lush, Contiki, Youswim and Ohne.

She spends her days writing to her heart’s content for business and pleasure, shooting on film and dreaming of residing a stone’s throw away from the ocean with her love and a pup (clad in a sweeping frock, of course). She’s currently penning ideas for a book of personal essays and free verse poetry on love, life and the stages in between.