Dominated by the same heritage houses, seasonal trends can often feel recycled and fashion months a little predictable. As well as finding, nurturing and supporting new creative talent, we need to discover emerging brands to renew our zest for fashion – it is meant to be fun, after all. Enter Lisa Aiken, Net-A-Porter's fashion director, who is responsible for scouring the globe for exciting up-and-coming designers.
"The brand has to have a very clear point of view and something unique that we haven’t seen before. There are so many young brands out there that the competition is tough, and you have to stand out," Aiken says of her discoveries. "We are finding more brands via social media who are growing a cult following, though we still scout in showrooms, at press days and receive a lot of look books."
The brands coming up through the ranks are exciting for more than just their designs and story: they sit firmly in the mid-range category, meaning they're not reserved for the mega-wealthy. Joining cult brands like Ganni, Reformation, Rixo and Staud, which offer everyday directional and contemporary pieces for £100-£500, they're the kind of brands you can wear on repeat – think faux fur coats, trenches, statement shoes, and reworked denim.
"I am so excited about this upcoming genre of designers, who are focused on creating really great clothes and accessories at a more democratic price point," Aiken explains. "It's the new version of hi-lo dressing, and becoming the mainstay of our day-to-day wardrobes. Many designers have told me they want to create something that they and their friends want to buy, and so they are designing with a very authentic approach."
Ahead, Lisa Aiken reveals her favourite new brands hitting Net-A-Porter this year, plus the pieces she'll be buying from each.