While you may be aware of all the big names in fashion, you can always do with a lexicon upgrade when it comes to new and lesser-known labels around the world. We’re living in an age of intense connectivity where boundaries have become soluble, whether we’re talking about countries or identities.
From British-Indian Supriya Lele to Bulgarian designer duo Chopova Lowena, these labels are championing sustainability, offering fresh silhouettes, and representing a cultural revolution. These designers are soon going to be what everyone will be talking about from Seoul to New York. Here are some of our favourite lesser-known fashion labels from around the world.
International Fashion Designers
Priya Ahluwalia’s Indian-Nigerian heritage and London roots play a huge role in shaping her label Ahluwalia. According to the designer, she creates one-of-a-kind pieces that are inspired by art, literature, and music. The young designer was the co-winner of the 2020 LVMH Prize and the recipient of the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. More recently, the label has announced a collaboration with British designer Paul Smith for a menswear collection.
Designer Nensi Dojaka claims Bella Hadid wearing one of her creations for the 2020 MTV VMAs was the turning point in her career. The London-based Albanian designer’s Y2K fixation earned her many celebrity fans like Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Emma Watson, Sophie Turner, and Zendaya. Daring cut-outs and strings are two of the most recognisable elements from her label as she presents a unique view of femininity in modern society.
The L.A-based designer formerly worked with Kanye West as the womenswear designer for his brand Yeezy. She finally launched her own brand in 2019, featuring fun and vibrant looks that, according to the designer, are perfect for dancing around. Most notably, the designer’s Autumn/Winter 2022 show at New York Fashion Week featured seven-foot tall holograms as models in a one-of-its-kind showcase.
Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena started their fashion label together right after graduating from the prestigious Central Saint Martins University. The London-based label takes a sustainable approach to fashion by only sourcing vintage fabric from Bulgaria. Their instantly iconic pleated patchwork skirt quickly became their trademark.
After running the VIP department at Gucci (and dressing celebrities like Lana del Ray), designer Daniel Del Core launched his own label in 2020, and showcased his first collection at Milan Fashion Week in 2021. His collections feature unique, feminine silhouettes inspired by nature. The label’s Autumn/Winter 2022 collection was inspired by moths, chrysalis, and cocoons.
Founded in 2011 by Turkish-German designer Bunyamin Aydin, Les Benjamins is more than just a streetwear brand, at least according to Aydin. The designer uses local folklore and rich cultural influences to create modern and edgy clothing that represent contemporary Middle Eastern youth.
The design collective Peter Do was founded in 2018 when the eponymous Vietnamese designer got together four of his non-industry friends to establish a fashion label together. Their label is known for their effortlessly cool, slouchy, silhouettes that feature minimal tailoring, long lines, and layers.
South African designer Thebe Magugu became the first African to win the prestigious LVMH award in 2019. His works celebrate his rich, cultural heritage and present a picture of contemporary South Africa that is not often represented in the mainstream. His well-received Spring/Summer 2022 collection was inspired by the women in his family.
This British-Indian designer quickly became a name to remember with her exploration of female gaze in fashion. Her provocative designs, more specifically her low-cut trousers that gained instant popularity, aim to make one think about women’s agency in deciding what’s sexy and what’s not.
Pakistani fashion brand Faraz Manan’s creations transcend borders. The brand’s eponymous founder and head designer calls Kareena Kapoor his muse and even had her walk for a 2018 fashion show in Dubai. His intricate threadwork, delicate embellishments, and lavish layering have found fans in Bollywood celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Janhvi Kapoor, Ananya Panday, Deepika Padukone, and Kiara Advani.
This South Korean fashion label is a favourite of K-drama stylists, with its designs featured in TV shows like It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, Private Lives, Encounter, and Hotel Del Luna, to name a few. Parasite actress Cho Yeo-jeong even wore an Avou Avou outfit at the Oscars red carpet. According to the label, ‘Avou’ means ‘leisurely and elegant walk’, which they try to incorporate in their designs through perfectly tailored silhouettes and clean, minimalistic lines.