Having lived in London most of my life and been heavily influenced by its own blend of styles, I have always been partial to young brands led and designed by international newcomers, who are not afraid to stray from the mainstream and put their footmark firmly on the fashion map. They are not shy in expressing their opinion on trend by way of uniquely designed pieces, and often proudly display their personal style through the voice of fashion whilst maintaining a sustainable and environmentally conscious foundation. Here are a few of my favourite new generation designers you’ve got to know now.
A Better Feeling – The Sexy Edgy Cool Boundary Pusher
With a celebrity following already including J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion and Stevie Wonder, the fashion world was quick to notice A Better Feeling’s ultra-modern and inventive eyewear design. The Brand was launched in 2018 by Cairo-born, multi-disciplinary artist Xander Ghost (his work is known to link African heritage to Western club culture), and the line features distinctive rectangular lenses that often make one momentarily wonder whether they have been teleported back to the 90’s or well into the future.
A Better Feeling’s design reflects Xander and his team’s take on not just fashion, but also their understanding of various dimensions of design. The style of the glasses feature an unmissable architectural touch and instantly adds a flare that is confident, cool, and a hint of distance and attitude.
The brand has also recently expanded their product line to hollowware and fragrances, fitting the company ethos of “feeling better”. Continuing with innovative materials and design inspired by seamless merged clean lines, the half-candle, half fashion ornament is a must-have aside from the brand’s popular 1EIGHTY SMOKE shades. The aluminum two-part vessel named GINKGO, especially when lit, reminds one of a sunset peeking from the most beautiful mountain landscape. A good feeling, indeed.
LIJO – The Voice Of South London Street Culture
LIJO London has not been around the block for long, but has already organically grown a social media following of over 35,000 on Instagram alone, which is quite something considering its designer and founder, Jackie Abrafi, does not even have a fashion background. A born and bred Londoner with heritage from Ghana, Jackie decided to leave her digital advertising career in 2019 to pursue her love in fashon and jewellery. The result? – LIJO (which means “To Shine”), a jewellery brand that channels her upbringing in South London and brings a stylish take on the current chunky chain trend.
To those that are not familiar with the South London style, there are a lot of tracksuits and golden links involved and the vibe is playful, edgy, with a touch of London’s own street culture. Through LIJO, Jackie wants to provide a range of designs that are suitable for layering, and for both dressing up and down, all at affordable prices. The most popular pieces, as seen on Annemarie and Stefflon Don, are NOVA ring, ORIANA necklace, MAXI bracelet (a particular favourite of Jackie), and YARA chain necklace.
One Of A Kind – New Darling To The Hong Kong Glitterati
COVID-19 has hit all of us in different ways, but I couldn’t think of a better live example of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” than Olivier Caouette winning the Hong Kong glitterati set by launching his own jewellery and accessories brand, One Of A Kind. In a ballsy move, Olivier coincided the opening of his first store in the trendy Tai Hang neighbourhood with the brand’s own launch in June 2020, in the midst of the global pandemic.
With a wealth of experience in fashion and luxury production (Olivier started his career with Aldo before moving to Asia and began working with top luxury brands), the One Of A Kind designer (originally from Canada) was quick to combine his love for dramatic design with the current social-style needs of the consumer. The brand launched a series of face mask covers bejewelled with high quality crystals in various eye-catching shades, which became an instant favourite of many stars such as Paris Hilton and Dua Lipa.
Emily-London – The Definition Of Demure And Elegant Hair Accessories
Emily-London is a luxury London-based headwear label and offers a full range of design in hats, but it is the luxurious oversized bows made of the most plush and delicate materials that caught my (and many fellow admirers’) attention.
Founded in 2014 by Emily Baxendale, who also acts as the brand’s Creative Director, Emily-London is still young and already has a coveted clientele of members of the Royal Family, celebrities and stylists. The opulent design reeks of elegance and old-fashioned glamour, yet its often over-sized style never overtakes, but always rather quietly compliments, an outfit. Current favourites are: NOVA bow in blush, HARMONIA faux fur headwrap, DELAHAYE bow, and AUBREY headpiece as seen in the image below.