The most satisfying answer to "Where did you get that?" is always going to be "Well, it's this new brand you might not have heard of yet…" But not in a know-it-all way—more like how you let a friend in on a really good secret.
And the people with the best secrets of all are the ones who have made it their jobs to scour the world (and, in some cases, Tumblr) for the brands the rest of us absolutely need to know about, whether it's a line of shoes that look like they could be housed in a modern art gallery or a jumpsuit label that makes us wonder why we own anything but all-in-one outfits.
Below, we asked five of our favorite independent boutique owners that specialize in scouting up-and-coming designers for the ones they're most excited about now (and believe me, they all had trouble narrowing it down to just a few).
"Fabiana Pigna's collection is one of my new favorites we introduced in our range for S/S 17. I'm a sucker for crisp poplin and she is doing it well with clean, feminine silhouettes that are thoughtful and relatable. My favorite blouse (that I'm wearing right now) is the Amelia Blouse in Stripe." — Casey Larkin Blond, owner
"My second favorite has to be Gray Matters. They just may be the most beautiful shoes I have ever seen, and they are as wearable as they are beautiful. The Mildred Egg Mule is my favorite piece of the season. It's such a nostalgic yet modern design that when it is not being used it could easily sit on a shelf with plants and books as an object." — Casey Larkin Blond, owner
"And one last mention: Lous. It's a very new Danish brand by tailor Julia Lous. Classic, minimalistic and timeless, and her Pleat Pants are a wardrobe staple." — Casey Larkin Blond, owner
"Her collection is so beautiful. When I look at it, I feel something. She designs knitwear and is doing something really special. The slight details she incorporates into her designs elevate the pieces, whether it's a slight ruffle detail on the hem of a skirt or the bell of a sleeve. She works with two knitters who are based just outside of Los Angeles to produce her clothing. How sick is that?!" — Adele Tetangco, co-founder and VP of merchandise and brand
"This is a bag line based out of Los Angeles that I've recently fallen in love with. I'm super into the unique shapes that the designer, Zara Dramov, uses. I'm currently wearing the Pinch half cylinder bag as my everyday bag. But I also love the smaller sized ones. They're tiny but fit all your essentials. Adorable while being chic? Yes! This is possible!" — Adele Tetangco, co-founder and VP of merchandise and brand
The Rising States
"This is our first season carrying Désirée's clothes. Her pieces are the perfect balance between simple and versatile in that they can be worn, tied, or assembled in various ways. There is something sculptural about her pieces." — Meagan Delaney, owner
"Combine de Filles is also a new brand for us, and it is also [designer] Aissatou [Marie B.]'s first time selling in stores, so we're really excited about her pieces. The current collection is all jumpsuits, and they are super wearable in all seasons and effortlessly sophisticated." — Meagan Delaney, owner
"Winden's jewelry is a staple in our store and closets. Her new collection (coming soon!) is refreshing in its simplicity and attention to form, more specifically many of her new pieces reference undulations. Becca has really mastered the making of modern pieces we want to live with and wear forever." — Meagan Delaney, owner
In Support Of
"We've been carrying Nikki Chasin's line for four seasons now because it speaks to the way we feel our customer should dress for events—elegant but modern. The Rocco Jumpsuit is what we envisioned as our answer to what to wear to a wedding this season." — Ivan Gilkes, co-owner
"What's also exciting about the brand is how it can be worn so that our customer can take more formal pieces and incorporate them into everyday wear. Highlights for us include this metallic Crane Came Tank that could be worn with the matching skirt for events or a pair of jeans for every day." — Ivan Gilkes, co-owner
"We discovered _SCAPES NY through Tumblr where we caught a couple of images of its graduate collection at Parsons. Since then, the line has grown impressively. We appreciate the way it creates tomboy-esque clothing that feels both refined and playful. It comes down to the special details that the brand incorporates into its pieces, like the metallic strips in its Orchid Gardening Jacket." — Ivan Gilkes, co-owner
One of a Few
"Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Suzanne Rae are two standout brands that we are currently loving. Both brands, based in New York and Brooklyn, are creating collections that are diverse, eclectic, wearable, and artistic. Those may be interesting ways to describe clothing and footwear, but we love how when you put on pieces from their collections you feel special. We strongly believe that is how these women want you to feel when wearing their clothing, and they are doing a good job at it. They create the kind of pieces that you keep in your closets for a long time as opposed to trendy pieces that are time-stamped. They are about quality, not quantity, and it shows in their work." — Michelle Rizzardo, founder