The Top 7 Fashion Brands You’ll Want to Know Going Into 2021
Every January feels like a fresh start, but that sentiment feels doubly true in 2021. While we’ve loved experimenting with sweatpants as acceptable day, work and eveningwear options, we’re ready to start jazzing things up a bit in the new year. Yes, even as we continue to work from home. And, according to global shopping platform Lyst, these seven designers are the ones we’re most likely to fall head-over-heels in love with in the upcoming months.
All seven, including Jerry Lorenzo, the mastermind behind Fear of God, as well as Telfar Clemens of Telfar and sisters Giulia and Camilla Venturini of Medea (all three experts in the art of simplicity), have seen marked increase in searches over the past few months, in addition to significantly growing their social media followings and popping up on various celebrity IG feeds. So, if you don’t already know them, now’s the time to study up to impress your most fashion-obsessed friends with your knowledge of these cool labels.
1. Brother Vellies
Brother Vellies was launched in 2013 by designer Aurora James as a shoe and bag line with a focus on sustainability and the goal of showcasing traditional African design practices. And she’s been busy in the eight years since she won the 2105 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for her line; James also founded the 15 Percent Pledge (a non-profit organization aimed at increasing the number of Black-owned brands represented on the shelves of retailers) and appeared on the cover of Vogue’s September 2020 issue via illustration by painter Jordan Casteel. She also partnered with Pyer Moss’s Kerby Jean-Raymond for a collection of sporty, sexy stilettos, and now offers eight “nude” shades in six different styles. During the pandemic of 2020, when most folks were skipping shoes in favor of slippers, it was the brand’s Cloud Socks that suddenly flooded our Instagram feeds and became a must-have for the fashion set. James also launched Something Special, a subscription box that sends participants a cool new artisan piece each month, like candles hand-poured in NYC or a vase crafted in Mexico City.
2. Paris Georgia
The original goal of founders Paris Mitchell Temple and Georgia Cherrie was to reinvigorate their favorite ‘90s styles—think slip dresses, spaghetti straps, cardigans—but they’ve since expanded their range to include more modern puffy sleeves, off-the-shoulder necklines and lots of draped silk. Simply put, this New Zealand-based brand is all about simple, high-quality designs inspired by the female form, crafted from luxe fabrics with intricate tailoring. The standout piece on everyone’s wish list this year? The heart singlet ($352), a fitted tank top with a dramatic sweetheart neckline and contrasting trim. Unfortunately, it appears to be sold out most places, but fingers crossed for some restocks soon.
3. Chopova Lowena
Punk, kitschy, retro, sustainable—all words that could be used to describe this London-based clothing company that uses deadstock materials and traditional techniques from Bulgaria to create wild kilts, Victorian-inspired dresses and shirts with trendy exaggerated collars. The unexpected pairings are a result of founders Emma Chopova’s Bulgarian heritage and Laura Lowena’s love of climbing. The duo’s limited-stock pieces have been selling out left and right, but after Harry Styles was photographed sporting one of their pleated skirts in the December 2020 issue of Vogue, we expect to see many more Chopova Lowena editorials in the near future.
Simplicity is key for this Italian handbag line founded by twin sisters Giulia and Camilla Venturini. Made from super-soft, high-quality leather in Verona, Italy, Medea bags are, obviously, made to look like shopping bags and come in a range of sizes from a mini (just big enough for your keys or lip balm) up to a large shopping-spree ready tote dubbed the venti (which is roomy enough to be used as a carry-on bag). As the handbag brand has expanded since it launched in 2018, the sisters have experimented with adding chain straps, using materials made to look like paper or plastic and printing the sides with renderings from artists like Kiko Kostadinov and Nan Goldin. Emily Ratajkowski, Rihanna and Kaia Gerber are all fans of Medea, so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of us hop on the boat as well.
5. Thebe Magugu
The international streak continues with Thebe Magugu, a South African creative, who counts celebs like Issa Rae as fans. He won the LVMH Prize in 2019, just three years after launching his brand, giving him the capital to expand his womenswear-focused collections to include menswear and accessories. His latest range features turtlenecks with cutouts around the collarbone, polo dresses with belted harnesses and lots of color and pattern. (FYI, Rae wore a few of the aforementioned pieces while shooting season four of Insecure.) Thebe Magugu’s signatures blend comfort with standout silhouettes, two ideals that will carry through 2021 as we continue to hang out at home and do video calls in lieu of in-person social events.
Not many can say they had a particularly good 2020, but Telfar Clemens might just be one of the lucky few. And it’s all thanks to a simple shopping tote that took his namesake brand from being a cult-favorite of Brooklyn artisans to becoming a national phenomenon. Not to mention, the eponymous designer created the most affordable “It” bag we’ve seen in ages; prices range from $150 to $257, which is a fraction of the price of any leather good from Prada, Chanel or Dior. Dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin” by fans, Telfar totes seem to sell out just as soon as they’re restocked stock. That, plus a wildly popular collaboration with UGG, leads us to believe Clemens has big things in store for 2021.
7. Fear of God
For its January 2021 issue, Vogue released four different covers, one of which featured Frances McDormand, makeup-free and decked in head-to-toe Fear of God. Despite first launching as a menswear brand, the label has now become fairly gender neutral, with three in-house lines—Essentials (mostly sweats and comfy basics), Athletics (a collaboration with Adidas) and Fear of God (impeccably tailored separates that blend a streetwear vibe with Ralph Lauren-esque aesthetics). Founder Jerry Lorenzo has also partnered with Kanye West and Justin Bieber in the past, giving him major clout within the music-industry crowd. During the pandemic it’s been the brand’s neutral-hued loungewear, the Essentials, that has really been thriving, thanks in part to the collection’s relatively accessibly price point (everything is under $200). As for the editorial tailoring in Lorenzo’s original FoG line, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if more big names, like Zendaya, Rihanna or Margot Robbie all sported the brand in the coming months on red carpets and press tours.