Unless you were born with a Georg Jensen silver spoon in your mouth, you likely started from the bottom as far as fashion was concerned. And, if the sale section at Kresge's was where you began, those hallowed boutiques flanked by security guards and filled with treasures in glass cases were at the finish line. They were brands your grandpa — who's worn the same olive-green turtleneck sweater for the past 30 years, mind you — could recognize as easily as Coke or Nike, and the ones that have always been synonymous with having "made it."
But, of course, the more you come to know an industry and the deeper you get, the more those sacrosanct gods deflate. Though they represent "luxury" in all its gilded, glorious, expensive facets, they also feel about as full of imagination as a damp paper towel. If you want your clothes to express anything other than "I've got a bank account (or a load of debt) that'll bring tears to your eyes!" those top-of-the-line togs will be caught mum.
For clothing that's got the highest standards of construction and creativity, you're going to have to dig a little deeper. But, the finds are definitely worth the extra legwork. There's a slew of luxury-minded designers out there who are taking the craft of clothing to the upper echelons, while still maintaining the light-footed inventiveness of newbie indie brands. To find them, we've separated the wheat from the chaff (and then scraped off the top of that) to reveal six designers who represent the new high-end. Click through for a glimpse into the future — these are the pieces your grandkids will be vying for in your closet someday.