It takes a certain kind of brand to get the "in" with the fashion crowd — not just anyone can get the attention of people who live and breathe clothing and accessories all day long. And so, the editors, buyers, and fashion student die-hards of the world keep pretty selective tabs on up-and-coming designers. But, when one finally catches on, it becomes an insider must-have — meaning the labels fashion people love to obsess over, the general population probably hasn't even heard of yet (hey, that under-the-radar element is part of the appeal!).
Now, there are a few qualities that get a brand into this inner circle. One, they're making something that's unlike anything else we've seen before. There's also usually something quirky and slightly off-kilter about the pieces — they possess that
je ne sais quois that takes a certain kind of person to have the courage to pull them off, or they're just so photo-worthy that they become instant street style bait. And because fashion people are cursed (blessed?) with expensive taste, the brands we love don't always come cheap. Their cool-factor, however, makes them worth every penny.
Because we just can no longer keep them a secret, we're taking it upon ourselves to out these cult-favorites and make them yours for the taking. Click on for 16 under-the-radar brands worth knowing, and relish in the sweet satisfaction of getting the scoop before everyone else.
Roxanne Assoulin We, too, wish we were an Assoulin — because it sure seems like anyone with their last name immediately becomes style royalty. Yep, Roxanne is the sister of Rosie, and needless to say, she makes the perfect chokers and other fun baubles to compliment all of your ruffled, one-shouldered staples (or even just a T-shirt). These colorful pieces are starting to pop up on fashionable necks left and right, and we can definitely see why. Roxanne Assoulin Put It In Neutral Spectrum Choker, $135, available at Roxanne Assoulin. More
Staud Have you ever looked at a vintage photograph and wondered why clothes don't look like that anymore? Well, you can get in on those lust-worthy throwback silhouettes with one quick visit to Staud's website. The brand's current collection has this whole chic-safari vibe we can't get enough of. Staud Mongo Jumpsuit, $205, available at Staud. More
Johanna Ortiz You can basically thank Johanna Ortiz for making cold-shoulder tops a thing again. Yep, it's her designs that fast-fashion powerhouses have knocked off left and right, but there's still nothing quite as effortless and straight-up pretty as the real deal. Johanna Ortiz Corinto Top, $850, available at FRWD by Elyse Walker. More
LOQ The sure-fire way to every fashion girl's heart? A good block heel. And LOQ has the retro shoes of your dreams on lock (pun intended). LOQ Villa in Nectar, $325, available at Lisa Says Gah. More
Ben Taverniti Unravel Project If you've seen this label's statement-making jeans and lace-up denim leggings on a few Kardashians, Jenners, and supermodels lately, it may be because the brand, Unravel Project, is designed by the husband of the Kardashians' makeup artist, Joyce Bonelli. Small world, eh? Ben Taverniti Unravel Project Inside Out Crop Jeans, $975, available at Barneys New York. More
Y Project Designer Glenn Martens worked under the iconic Jean-Paul Gaultier and founded his own namesake label before arriving at Y/Project in 2013, where he's been dropping buzz-worthy collections that have us "saving" the looks on Instagram like it's our job. Y Project Black Heart Cut-Out Sweatshirt, $400, available at SSENSE. More
Storets For when we want the emerging-designer look but don't quite want to pay the price tag, there's Storets. Here, we can stock up on all the latest fashion-crowd trends without breaking the bank. But, shh, we'll never actually admit it. Storets Eliyah Colorblock Dress, $62, available at Storets. More
Edun Not only are Edun's clothing and accessories breathtakingly beautiful, but the brand is building long-term, sustainable growth opportunities by supporting manufacturers, community-based initiatives, and partnering with African artists and artisans. Edun Suede Mini Tote, $690, available at Edun. More
Flow The Label If you didn't think mock-neck dresses and poplin blouses could really look cool, Flow is here to convince you otherwise. Ukrainian-Belgian sisters Viktoria Balaniuk and Veronica Vèz know a thing or two about styling and fit, so every piece they make has a cool, wearability factor. Flow The Label Ruffled Bib Drawstring Dress, $630, available at Moda Operandi. More
Jacquemus For designs that look like they were just pulled out of a French painting, fashion folk are fawning over Jacquemus. His powerful silhouettes and unexpected accessories have us waiting with baited breath for every new collection. Jacquemus Polka Dot Puff Shoulder Blouse, $685, available at Farfetch. More
Mari Giudicelli This model-turned-shoe-designer may have had a rocky start, but it's been all uphill since. Her designs are showing up in stylish stockists left and right, and they only get prettier with each season. Mari Giudicelli Betis Sandals, $510, available at Opening Ceremony. More
Anna October This independent Ukranian designer proves there's major talent coming out of Eastern Europe — her note-worthy designs are consistently worn at international fashion weeks, and there's something super-original about their playful femininity. Anna October Floral One-shoulder Top, $285, available at The Odivo. More
Attico For evening-ready attire that still has a cool-girl edge, Attico is gaining some major traction. Plus, its founders are just as stylish as the line itself (making for the brand's ultimate spokespeople). Attico Sabrina Embellished Dress, $1,070, available at MyTheresa. More
Ganni We don't know how Ganni hasn't become the biggest thing since sliced bread yet, but we're kind of glad it's still an insider fave. Sure, its fruity tees sell quicker than you can say "Peach Me," but it still has a certain fashion-girl #GanniGirl appeal that no other retailer has really been able to replicate. Ganni Women's Harvards Peach T-shirt, $59.40, available at Coggles. More
Anna K This 21-year-old designer somehow just gets what fashion people want, from exaggerated silhouettes to ruffles in all the right places. It's no wonder she already sells to over 40 shops in 25 countries worldwide. Anna K Mini Dress #027, $391, available at Anna K. More
Rachel Comey She's definitely not "new" on the scene, per se, but no one has a way of making girly-but-not- too -girly, or generally fashion-but-not- too -fashion, quite like Rachel Comey. Her on-trend yet effortless pieces hit the nail on the head every time, and ugh, the jeans... Don't even get us started on the jeans. Rachel Comey Crush Top, $219, available at Rachel Comey. More
Sandy Liang Oh, Sandy (we feel like we're on a first-name basis at this point), where do we begin? Between your funky takes on lace and your ability to make a Patagonia fleece feel cooler than any other jacket, you've totally won over our hearts. Sandy Liang Accord Dress, $680, available at Shop Super Street. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? This Little Bag Is Selling Out In A Big Way Everything You Need To Buy This Weekend This Pair Of Leggings Is Guaranteed To Sell Out (Again)