Dominated by the same legacy fashion houses, seasonal trends can often feel recycled, and runway collections 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's meant to be fun, after all. Enter Lisa Aiken, Net-A-Porter's fashion director, who's 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," Aiken says of her discoveries. "There are so many young brands out there that the competition is tough; you have to stand out. We are finding more brands via social media that are growing a cult following, though we still scout in showrooms, at press days, and receive a lot of lookbooks too."
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, they offer the kind of pieces 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 adds. "It's the new version of high-low 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're designing with a very authentic approach."
Ahead, Aiken reveals her favorite new brands hitting Net-A-Porter this year, plus the pieces she'll be buying from each.