Gone are the days of the fashion houses ruling the sartorial zeitgeist; 2023 has been the year of the indie label. Surely household names like Dior, Chanel and Louis Vuitton still hold the same prestige as before, but considering Gen Z’s untameable thirst for finding the next new thing in fashion, it only makes sense that smaller, lesser known names are popping up left and right in hopes of becoming the next name on everyone’s lips.
From Spanish-born label Gimaguas, to Malaysia’s very own Caro Chia, there’s one common denominator that binds these brands, and it’s that It-girls love ’em. There’s truly nothing more powerful than seeing Lily-Rose Depp strut down the street in an ultra-mini skirt and barely-there top, but that’s precisely how you know that a brand well on the path to gaining a cult following. Though we totally get the temptation of giving into readily-available pieces from fast fashion giants, trust us when we say that these brands are worth the price tag—especially once they amass following too large to keep up with.
So don’t say we didn’t warn you, and keep on reading to see these under-the-radar labels to shop.
Gimaguas, also meaning ‘twin’ in Spanish, is the brainchild of designer twin sisters Sayana and Claudia Durany. Most famously known for their vacation-ready pieces, a theme that spans across all their collections—the label has been a recent favourite of Lily Rose Depp as the star has been spotted out and about in Gimaguas pieces on the regular. Behind the chic knits and immaculate drapes, the sisters have been on a mission to unveil the beauty seen in the world around us by working with local artisans through their travels. Carefree silhouettes and elevated minimalism are the hallmarks of the label, and seeing how dopamine dressing is taking a back seat in fashion, we foresee Gimaguas to be the perfect gateway brand into pared back dressing.
2. Gabriel For Sach
Gabriel For Sach is quite possibly the 90’s minimalist wardrobes of our dreams. Designer and daughter of famed interior designer Gema Sach, Gabriela Sach is making clothes and accessories for the unbothered cool girls who just wants to look good without the frills. Timeless aesthetics aside, sustainability also happens to be one of the core values of the brand. Most famously known for their line of classically rustic bags, vegetable pigments are used to give it that lived-in age while the leather itself, are second-hand scraps sourced locally in Barcelona. Given the rich history and traditions of leatherworks in Spain, it makes perfect sense that all the pieces are crafted by local artisans. On the ready-to-wear front, Gabriel For Sach doesn’t mess around with basics. There’s almost a sense of restraint, that feels timeless yet unorthodox at the same—perfect for the girls transitioning to a minimalist wardrobe who still thirsts for a little ‘oomph’.
3. Flore Flore
There’s no such thing as ‘too many’ basics. Solid toned tank tops and t-shirts will never fail you, and will forever remain relevant. Don’t believe us? Think of the style mavens that have gone down in the fashion annals—Twiggy, Jane Birkin, Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, and more—they’ve all had a good rotation of trusty basics in their wardrobe rotation. So on that note, investing in high quality basics is definitely going to come in handy down the line. Amsterdam-based label Flore Flore is the go-to we think of when it comes to time-tested cotton classics for the modern woman. Don’t let the simplicity of Flore Flore’s pieces fool you, as designer and founder Flòrian van Zuilen says in an interview with Vogue: “The simpler it is, the harder it is to achieve.” And such, the label is all about making pieces to last a lifetime, using the highest grade organic cotton produced in Portugal by a family-owned factory run by a mother-daughter duo. There’s no embellishments with Flore Flore, no gimmicks or influencer-backed product plugs. Just good clothes. Even Kendall Jenner seems to agree.
4. Caro Chia
Malaysian designer Caro Chia is the contemporary designer making clothes for the contemporary woman. Across her works, you’ll notice a particular sculptural take that the designer brings to life with artful draping and honouring the human form—and upon closer inspection, there’s clear parallels between her works and sculptures by the likes of Jean Arp and Barbara Hepworth. The Caro Chia world is one full of technicalities and beauty, of which, Japanese model and actress Kiko Mizuhara also appreciates.
5. Vespertine London
If Heidi Slimane has taught us anything, it’s that indie-sleaze is coming back in full force. Vespertine London comes as a beckoning for the return of vintage inpsired pieces that will never lose its appeal. From frilly blouses that flow with the ebb of the wearer’s ebb, to a slightly edgier leopard print—the brief here is classic. Trust that you’ll be wearing these pieces over and over again without fail, regardless of the ongoing trends of the season. Fashion wunderkind Alexa Chung and LA It-girl Devon Lee Carlson proves that the silk blouse will always serve, albeit with the price tag of $500.