Friday, May 6, 2016


By Guest Contributor

8 Go-To Brands Fashion Insiders Love

Mary Katrantzou Fall/Winter 2016 (Photo courtesy of

Under-the-radar brands are loved for their low-key presence and designs that are far from being ubiquitous. In an era where big-name brands seem to dominate the fashion scene, these relatively under-rated labels have amassed a cult following of fashion insiders who subscribe to their unique style and quality pieces. Basics are given a new twist, and unconventional silhouettes and form bring fresh colours to the palette.

Here are eight brands fashion insiders can't get enough of:

1. COS

Photo courtesy of Fashion Gone Rogue

The low-down: First launched in 2007, this Swedish brand has been steadily gaining popularity for its modern and functional designs for women and men. The H&M-owned label focuses on classic essentials and modern designs made with high-quality fabrics.

Why you should know it: The brand has opened its flagship store at ION Orchard Singapore. Plus, COS is deeply influenced by Scandinavian modern minimalism - these classics won’t go out of fashion.

Bottom-line: Simple, timeless, and well-made.

2. Finders Keepers

Photo courtesy of Finders Keepers

The low-down: The Australian fashion label is a go-to brand for its attainable high street designs in quality, on-trend silhouettes. Since its inception in 2007, the brand has caught the attention of many celebrities, style icons, as well as some of the most influential bloggers from around the world.

Why you should know it: It's not just celebs who adore the designs and are seen wearing them at press cons, editorials, and public appearances. Their pieces are also loved by many of those in the know for their impeccable craftsmanship and quality fabrics.

Bottom-line: Modern detailing, flattering fits, and effortless cool.

3. The Row

The Row Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo courtesy of ZALORA Community)

The low-down: Established in 2006 by actresses-turned-CFDA-award-winning-designers, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the luxury brand is all about relaxed and timeless elegance, focusing on fine fabrics and the perfect fit. The label has also expanded to include a range of ready-to-wear clothing, eyewear, and handbags since its launch.

Why you should know it: The newest collections designed by the Olsen twins are full of versatile separates in their signature effortless, luxe aesthetic. Among those are wide-leg crepe trousers, pleated satin skirts and sleek maxi-skirts that you can take from day to night.

Bottom-line: Classic, elegant, luxe designs.

4. Elizabeth & James

Elizabeth & James Resort 2016 (Photo courtesy of ZALORA Community)

The low-down: Another brainchild of the aforementioned Olsen twins, Elizabeth & James is a modern lifestyle brand named after their sister and brother. Elizabeth & James projects a downtown-meets-uptown feel in a mix of silhouettes for the trend-conscious woman.

Why you should know it: Their range of sophisticated elegant pieces are hugely favoured by the contemporary girl. Elizabeth's uptown sophistication and feminine detail is paired with James's laid back, downtown edge and masculine tailoring.

Bottom-line: Contemporary, trend-conscious, sophisticated elegance.

5. Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo courtesy of ZALORA Community)

The low-down: Opening Ceremony was founded in 2002 by two friends from UC Berkeley, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, as a way to share their passion for travel, art, and fashion. They wanted to bring the spirit of adventure and discovery to a brand of their own.

Why you should know it: Opening Ceremony adopts a multinational approach to fashion. Their pieces are inspired by diverse traditional prints and unique fabrics, and reworked into styles and shapes influenced by different cultures, firmly putting the fun back into modern fashion.

Bottom-line: Cool and fresh with a happy-go-lucky spirit.

6. Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo courtesy of ZALORA Community)

The low-down: Mary Katrantzou is a luxury womenswear brand renowned for its innovation, craftsmanship and uniquely identifiable floral, colourful aesthetic. In 2008, Katrantzou took the fashion industry by storm with her intelligent use of hyper-real digital prints.

Why you should know it: Since 2008, the Central Saint Martins graduate's collections have evolved to include innovative fabrics, bead-work and embroidery in structured yet feminine silhouettes – each one even more beautiful than the last.

Bottom-line: Innovative aesthetic, feminine, structured.

7. Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo courtesy of

The low-down: This is the label that makes you stop scrolling on Net-a-Porter's New Arrivals page. The London label is adored for its modern take on femininity. Designer Han Chong cleverly blurs the line between sharp androgyny and feminine silhouettes.

Why you should know it: Classic designs like shift dresses and maxi skirts are recreated with geometric shapes and unique prints, lending the brand a contemporary feel. Each clothing is a masterpiece of art with its meticulous detailing and flattering fit.

Bottom-line: Crisp, cool, feminine, contemporary.

8. Acne Studios

Acne Studios Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo courtesy of ZALORA Community)

The low-down: The Stockholm based fashion house was founded in 1996 by Creative Director Jonny Johansson. The brand reflects Johansson’s intellectual take on Scandinavian minimalism. Acne Studios draws inspiration from contemporary art and photography.

Why you should know it: With its perfectly cut staples and tailoring, and an emphasis on the eclectic use of materials and custom-developed fabrics, Acne Studios continues to attract a following of fashionable individuals for its minimalist and contemporary offerings.

Bottom-line: Minimalist, contemporary, and perfectly tailored.

What are some of your favourite under-the-radar brands? What do you love about them? Share your recommendations in the Comments section below!

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