The best thing about Net-a-Porter—to this Vogue writer, at least—is the mix. There’s super-high price points and shockingly low ones; evening gowns and logo’d streetwear; and heritage brands alongside no-name upstarts. You can put a $7,980 sequined Gucci jacket in your cart with a pair of $55 flip-flops, should you so desire; that freedom to pick and choose from hundreds of brands and “tiers” mirrors the way most women shop and dress in 2019.
Net-a-Porter has become such a resource for fashion-obsessed women, in fact—and has subsequently boosted the businesses of so many small, formerly-indie labels—that it introduced an incubator last year, The Vanguard, for on-the-rise designers you need to know. The program provides mentorship on business strategy, social media, PR, wholesale… basically everything except the actual designs. (It takes more than great clothes to succeed as a brand!) The first “class” in The Vanguard included Les Rêveries, Martinez, Gu_de, and RUH—all of which have gained increasing popularity on the streets and are currently available exclusively at Net-a-Porter.
But fashion moves fast, so who’s next? We have an exclusive first look at the second wave of talents; meet them below, then shop their collections exclusively here. “After witnessing the success of our first season brands under The Vanguard, we know our customers are going to respond to this next wave just as positively,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-Porter’s global buying director. Oh, and if you’re wondering how her team discovered these designers, they all gave us the same answer: “Instagram.”
During a post-fashion month trend presentation at Net-a-Porter’s office in October, we heard Peter Do’s name repeatedly. After he won the LVMH Prize for Graduates at the Fashion Institute of Technology, he started working under Phoebe Philo at Celine—which means he may be the designer Philo-philes have been waiting for to fill the gaps in their wardrobe following her departure. Shirting makes up a bulk of Do’s collection, along with clean, no-fuss pieces with interesting quirks, like soft pleating or an arty print. “Something I learned from Phoebe is to experiment with everything,” he tells Vogue. “The best pieces often come from a dialogue of two or more opposing views.”
Berlin-based jewelry designer Anne Manns has a knack for designing bold, distinctive pieces you can get away with wearing every day. Her earrings in particular have reached almost-viral status on Instagram for their inventive tricks of the eye: There’s a gold one that seems to twist and coil inside the ear, while another mimics multiple piercings (but requires just one). They’re ancient and modern-looking at the same time. “I consider my pieces to be delicate and minimal, yet eye-catching in their own subtle language,” Manns says. “It’s important to me that my pieces stand out naturally [as] effortlessly striking, contemporary pieces. [I don’t want them to] only exist to complement a look.”
Jin Kay, Dylan Cao, and Huy Luong met at a friend’s birthday party less than two years ago, and now they’re the trio behind Commission. Let’s call it serendipity: “We each had wanted to do something on our own for quite a while, [but] lacked the final kick until we met each other,” they wrote to Vogue. (Their resumes are stacked with impressive names, including Alexander Wang, Gucci, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Prabal Gurung.) “As first-generation immigrants in America, we hope to bring a different perspective to the style and visual codes of Asia from an era that is more personal to us—the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we were growing up.”
By “reinterpreting” the Western clothing they grew up seeing on their parents and friends, the trio landed on an aesthetic they describe as “walking a fine line between serious and fun,” featuring corporate vibes mixed in with leopard slip dresses and streetwear. “We hope to be known as a brand not only for its conceptual [designs], but [for its] practicality and timelessness, too.”
Ratio et Motus
Angela Wang and Daniel Li launched their handbag label Ratio et Motus just last year. The Latin translation of its name, “reason and emotion,” sums up their ethos pretty succinctly: “We think a well-balanced life between these two elements is something that’s so precious and we all strive to obtain,” they said. “We wanted to use this principle as our manifesto for building a healthy business that’s sustainable, while designing a collection with a balanced aesthetic.” That balance mostly comes down to super high-quality leathers and clean, vintage-inspired silhouettes: box bags, framed clutches, and tiny cross-bodies that fit only the bare essentials. Call them “anti It bags” or “forever classics.” Seeing them here with clothes by both Commission and Peter Do is an early testament to their versatility.