25 Designers You Probably Don't Know Yet (But Should)

With tons of recent shake-ups in major fashion houses (Raf leaves Dior! Alber's out at Lanvin!), it’s easy to feel confused about the state of luxury fashion, and wonder what the future holds for the industry as a whole. But every now and then, we stumble across a new, under-the-radar designer that fills us with hope for the future (erm, present) of style — the kind that gets us all giddy and excited and reminds us just why we even like this thing called fashion in the first place.

Sure, we’ll always have a deep love and appreciation for legendary fashion houses and the masterminds behind them. But, at a time when many of these labels are lacking consistent creative leadership or struggling to redefine their centuries-old practices to resonate with today’s consumers, it’s refreshing to be captivated by talented, lesser-known brands that are not only trying to make a name for themselves — but deserve to do so.

For that reason, we’ve rounded up some of the best fashion-world newbies you probably haven’t heard of. These labels boast refreshing creativity, intense attention to detail, and a genius eye for wearability that will have you saving your pennies for any piece you can get your hands on. Read on for the inside scoop on 25 designers to watch right now. These ones are going to be huge.
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Photo: Courtesy of Beaufille.
Beaufille
Founded in 2013 by two chic Canadian sisters, Beaufille (meaning “handsome girl”) plays between masculine and feminine elements — think Olsen twins style, which means, yes, we’re obsessed.
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Photo: Courtesy of Koonhor.
Koonhor
Equal parts elegant and androgynous, Koonhor’s sleek and refined (yet also playful) collections are completely genius. From its use of color to its unique styling and clever juxtapositions of feminine and masculine, this brand knows what’s up.
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Photo: Courtesy of Alena Akhmadullina.
Alena Akhmadullina
Though this brand’s been around for a little while, the fashion industry is just now really starting to take notice of the Russian label’s fancy, cool-girl vibes and incredible attention to detail. Not going to lie, we’d get married in one of its sheer, quirky dresses in a heartbeat.
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Photo: Courtesy of Edeline Lee.
Edeline Lee
When a designer has put in time at Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Zac Posen, you know she's not messing around. Edeline Lee’s pieces are all handmade in England, and it’s no surprise her next-level craftsmanship and structured-yet-feminine shapes have gained recognition in the art and fashion worlds alike.
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STAUD
Based in LA, STAUD is a label that lets you have that custom-made experience for a fraction of what it typically costs. With a French New Wave look that also give you tons of opportunities for customization, it’s surprising that most things cost under $300.
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Photo: Courtesy of Svilu.
Svilu
This brand’s collections of elegant, elevated staples redefine the fundamentals of a woman’s wardrobe (which, yes, should include printed sets and ruffled dresses). Recently inducted into the CFDA, Svilu puts emphasis on mindful sourcing, local production, thoughtful design, and environmentally sensitive fabrics. What more could you want from a fresh, new designer?
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Photo: Courtesy of Hiu Zhi Wei.
Pamplemousse
Just this year, Danica Zheng founded Pamplemousse after graduating from Parsons and interning for the likes of Narciso Rodriguez, Carolina Herrera, and Jen Kao. Her unique, feminine pieces are all about the details, and the muted color palette is a feast for the eyes (okay, and Instagram).
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Photo: Courtesy of Steven Tai.
Steven Tai
Unconventional, quirky, and completely genius are just a few ways to describe Steven Tai’s perfectly awkward designs. Forget mainstream trends — this label does its own thing, and does it well. Crazy, likely unflattering silhouettes and giant cats are all parts of his schtick.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Chasin.
Nikki Chasin
With a focus on playful prints, versatility, and thoughtful details, this easy-to-wear label is for women who care the most about impressing themselves. And we're always into a brand that delivers on-point clothes without taking itself too seriously.
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Photo: Courtesy of Harbison Collection.
Harbison Collection
If you need proof that color-blocking is not, in fact, dead, direct your attention to Harbison, Charles Elliott Harbison's now-2-year-old Brooklyn-based line. His studies of fine art, painting, and textiles are evident in his modern-feeling and often colorful collections.
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Photo: Courtesy of The Great.
The Great
You’re probably familiar with the brand Current/Elliott. Well, last year, founders Emily Current and Meritt Elliott launched The Great, a new women’s collection of playful, nostalgic twists on American classics. Denim lovers, you’ll want to run — not walk — to the brand’s online shop.
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Photo: Courtesy of Not.
Not
Any designer whose lookbook is filled with untraditional models automatically gets points in our book. Since designer Jenny Lai grew up surrounded by music, dance, and theater, she highlights members of the arts community in various aspects of her work. Her line is filled with experimental and often-surprising pieces.
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Photo: Courtesy of Edit The Brand.
Edit The Brand
If you’ve ever considered rocking a satin ball-skirt with a plain tee, Edit is right up your alley. The newly launched label, originating from Hong Kong, aims to combine “one part eclectic femininity and one part relaxed ease” — that means denim jackets, sweatshirts, and full-on evening dresses are all fair game.
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Photo: Courtesy of Samantha Pleet.
Samantha Pleet
Sometimes it feels like a designer peeked right into our daydreams, and that’s exactly the vibe of Samantha Pleet’s quirky and playful collections. With vintage-inspired prints, retro silhouettes, and contemporary touches, you won’t find pieces like hers anywhere else (but we dare you to try!).
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Photo: Courtesy of Claudia Li.
Claudia Li
Young designer Claudia Li’s creativity doesn’t just stop at her detailed, handwoven clothing. She showed next-level, oversized clutches (and the perfect minimal leather slippers) alongside ready-to-wear pieces at her debut show this past New York Fashion Week. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
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Photo: Courtesy of Area.
Area
Every now and then, we’ll stumble upon a designer who’s truly doing something no one else has done before. Area’s intricate and architectural looks speak for themselves. Specializing in textile manipulation, this brand creates outfits you won’t be able to get out of your head (in the best way possible).
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Photo: Courtesy of H.K.M.
H.K.M.
A brand you want to keep an “eye” on is H.K.M., short for Hannah Kristina Metz. She’s already blowing up on Instagram (where we happened to discover her) with her playful and ‘gram-worthy pieces. She’s based in NYC, and her prices are totally justifiable, so you have full permission to shop all the goodies here.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dodo Bar Or.
Dodo Bar Or
Ever since we discovered Dodo Bar Or at Tel Aviv Fashion Week, we fell in love with the brand’s luxe, handmade embroidery and use of silks and leathers. Colorful, geometric patterns and reflective details make its pieces truly double-take-worthy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Markoo.
Markoo
It’s rare that we can imagine rocking every single piece of a certain collection, but that’s the case with Markoo. From cute, high-waisted pants to cropped jackets, this brand’s got all the cool-girl staples — the kind of pieces that everyone will compliment and want to get for themselves.
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Photo: Courtesy of Kahle.
Kahle
Where have these green, flared pants been all our lives? Kahle made its debut two seasons ago, and its most recent Spring 2016 collection did not disappoint. The great thing about Kahle’s pieces is that they’re designed with versatility in mind, and they allow the wearer to create her own context for the dynamic pieces. The emphasis on fabric manipulations is noteworthy as well.
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Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Casasola.
Barbara Casasola
Our dream closet is made up of silky slip dresses, sophisticated suits, and off-the-shoulder tops, and Barbara Cassasola checks off all the boxes. With these pieces, fit is everything, and the brand’s use of only the finest materials makes every look feel flawless.
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Photo: Courtesy of I Waited For You.
I Waited For You
Two designers with backgrounds at Jill Stuart, Rachel Comey, Alice & Olivia, and more came together in 2011 to form this innovative label for creatively inclined women, and it’s hard to decide just which pieces need a spot in our closets. Equal parts wearable and forward-thinking, these aren’t like the clothes everyone will be buying at Zara.
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Photo: Courtesy of Faustine Steinmetz.
Faustine Steinmetz
Some labels are founded on such a genius idea, you wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. Faustine Steinmetz, a recent LVMH Prize finalist, takes iconic pieces (think Levi’s jeans or a classic trench) and reproduces them with fabrics that are spun, dyed, and woven in-house. Each piece is made meticulously by hand and sometimes takes over a week to produce.
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Photo: Courtesy of Rhoi.
Rhoi
Founded on what it calls “the unstructured ease of the kaftan,” Rhoi is a new ready-to-wear label that makes comfy-meets-chic pieces you’d actually want to wear the heck out of. The collections’ silhouettes are that perfect amount of oversized that makes everything look relaxed and laid-back, yet super-elegant at the same time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Brock Collection.
Brock Collection
If you love Calvin Klein, you’ll be obsessed with Brock’s clean, often minimalist pieces. Founded in 2013, this luxury label was founded on the intention of creating upscale looks you can actually live in — and we wouldn’t mind doing just that.
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