I’ve Worked in Fashion for 9 Years, and These Are the 18 Brands I Truly Champion

I've Worked in Fashion for 9 Years, and These Are the 18 Brands I Truly Champion

As an editor at Who What Wear, I typically spend a lot of time looking at new-in products, and so every month, I update this story with the pieces that have caught my eye or that I have saved to my wish list. Since I last updated this story, life has changed in a way none of us could have possibly imagined, with new financial strains placed on many that make the idea of updating this straight-forward shopping gallery filled with shoes, dresses and designer handbags feel unbelievably jarring. 

I certainly don’t want anyone to feel like they have to buy more right now in a time of such heightened worry, but at the same time, after working in the fashion industry for nine years, I also want to support the brands that I really love and treasure. Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman’s piece on shopping online in a pandemic has been widely shared this week, and there is one section, in particular, that has really stuck with me: “Shopping now is as much a moral as a consumer question. Where you spend your money matters. Before you buy, think: What is this about? It could be about helping save a generation of small designers and independent businesses.”

So for this month, instead of a straight-forward new-in edit, I have updated this story with pieces from the brands I have loved and supported, either over the past year or since I was an intern. As several warehouses and stores have shuttered, the fashion industry faces huge challenges and strains that pose an inevitable threat to businesses, reflected in the number of flash sales launching every day. Many of us won’t be shopping in the same way this month, but as Friedman notes, even a like on Instagram or a message of support can provide a boost for these brands.

So whether you’re looking to buy, browse or discover something new, keep scrolling for the fashion brands I always champion and want to stand behind now more than ever. They range from designer brands to little-known independent labels to the high-street stores I personally shop at the most. 

Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey, founders of London-based label Rixo, are two of the warmest and most generous women you could ever hope to meet, and they know how to create dresses that make you feel good. This month, they are also donating 10% of profits from rixo.co.uk to Age UK.

I always look forward to Shrimps on the London Fashion Week schedule because it is filled with so much joy. Hannah Weiland launched the label in 2013 and creates princess-like dresses and playful accessories that you can’t help but smile at. 

Affordable clothing brand Kitri was launched in 2017 by South Korea–born ballerina turned fashion expert Haeni Kim. The designs are often simple and classic, but the use of colour, print and silhouette make them feel truly special. Kim is also one of the kindest and most graceful people I’ve met in my time in this industry, deserving of every success.

I want to wear everything Australian brand Albus Lumen creates. It makes the most beautiful, easy-to-style pieces that, despite the simplicity, always feel really distinctive. 

I love beautiful dresses, and one of the most special items I’ve ever bought was a Zimmermann floral midi dress (bought with a voucher, a discount, birthday money, and a chunk of my savings). I’m sure that will be the only thing I’ll ever be able to buy from Zimmermann, but the beautiful Instagram images and dresses always make for happy scrolling for me. 

Berlin-based shoe brand Aeydē was launched in 2015, and I think it creates the most beautiful, luxurious flats, heels and ankle boots. 

I have a horoscope pendant necklace from Misho, and I get a compliment on it every single day that I wear it. All of the pieces look like vintage treasures to me, as founder Suhani Parekh is inspired by architecture and sculpture. 

London-based designer Olivia Rubin is another favourite. She is the queen of feel-good fashion, making dresses and cardigans in rainbow hues and floral prints that always make me happy. 

I will always remember the first time I got a ticket to Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at London Fashion Week, and ever since, it’s been a highlight for me. I love the ethereal prints and the London edge that always comes through with unexpected styling. 

It isn’t just small, independent brands that are being impacted in this time, as Oxford Street and high streets up and down the country have temporarily closed. I remember when & Other Stories first opened, and my colleagues and I had a preview and said, “Oh, this is going to be good.” Seven years later, and it remains my favourite high-street store. 

Alighieri is a brand that the fashion industry has truly fallen for, as the gold pendants and pearl jewellery feel truly special. In this period, they are asking friends of the brand to write a letter and poem about something that is giving them light—and they are making me smile every time I see them posted on Instagram.

British brand Chinti & Parker creates the most beautiful cashmere, and this month, it has created this special NHS sweater and will donate 100% of the profits to the charity Meals for the NHS. 

I have never been a natural vintage shopper (I’m not good at the hunt), but the Instagram account Lucia Zolea has really made me fall in love with vintage. 

This is another London Fashion Week brand that I always look forward to seeing what it does next. Founded in 2012 by Natalia Alaverdian, the brand creates classic dresses and suiting with a touch of the unexpected. 

This is a new brand that I’ve fallen for. Sandal brand Arizona Love transforms Velcro sandals into feel-good footwear with scraps of beautiful fabric. 

Arket is another of my high-street heroes. I think the quality and cut for the price is truly brilliant and love how it creates items you will treasure for years, slowing down the trend cycle. 

Art Dealer is a new, small brand that creates beautiful dresses inspired by vintage designs. I wore one of the silk wrap dresses to my 30th birthday. It is donating 50% of all profits to the Italian First Aid. 

Ghost had something of a comeback recently, as the once-overlooked bridesmaid dress brand had a revamp and now creates the most beautiful midi dresses for £100-something.

Perfect for weddings.

This comes with matching trousers too.

& Other Stories is really going big on the polo-top trend.

Pair with chunky boots for maximum impact.

I’d wear this with flared jeans and heeled boots.

I’ve seen this coat all over my Instagram feed.

A dreamy laptop bag.

This co-ord is the perfect spring outfit.

Yep, you read that right— Who What Wear now does shoes.

These are trending in fashion circles.

There’s a matching skirt too.

A girl can dream.

Summer, is that you?

One of the key bags of the season.

Can you tell I’m into tie-dye effects?

I’d wear this over a white shirt.

Wandler is a Who What Wear favourite.

I included the top version in my shopping picks last month.

My dream colour. 

A grown-up take on tie-dye. 

I’ve been after this ever since seeing Stacey Dooley wearing it. 

& Other Stories does the best underwear.

To toughen up pretty spring dresses.

The prettiest pastels. 

This looks so luxurious. 

This is so soft and lovely. 

Polo shirts are one of my favourite of the spring 2020 trends. 

I’d wear this with jeans and sandals. 

This is the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen. 

I am a big Wandler fan. 

I’m seriously considering buying this this payday. 

I love the square front. 

One of the coolest rings I’ve seen in some time. 

I love this powder blue shade. 

I’d wear this with high-waisted, straight-leg jeans.

Such a gorgeous green.

IRO is a new favourite brand of mine.

No one will believe this is from Zara.

The collar will make all your crew neck jumpers look extra special.

Simple but so good.

Our columnist Monikh has this jumper, so of course I want it.

So fun.

This polo comes in so many colours.

Short suits are going to be key items for spring 2020.

& Other Stories does the best knitwear.

A new brand to note.

The latest member of the Gucci family.

I love the boxy shape.

A small update to any outfit.

Yes, Topshop.

Nanushka does the best vegan leather.

This comes in so many other colours.

The perfect set for in-between Christmas and New Year.

Can you tell I plan on hibernating more than partying this month?

Perfect for countryside walks.

The most luxurious jumper I’ve ever set my eyes on.

Next up, see our guide to the key trends for spring/summer 2019.

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