I’m surprised when people tell me they don’t have access to cool designers or stores in their town or city. They say, “you’re so lucky you live in NYC where there’s so much amazing fashion available.” It’s true, I live in a hub of all things on the forefront of fashion. I walk out of my door and walk a block to what I think is the best clothing store in the city, Bird, which houses brands you probably heard of like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Marni, Frame Denim, Isabel Marant, Mansur Gavriel, and Rachel Comey (like the dress I’m wearing here), but they also sell some of my favorite indie local brands that one may not discover until you step in their store like No. 6, Lauren Manoogian, Ulla Johnson, Clare V., Catbird, and Melissa Joy Manning.
There are so many brands that aren’t mass produced and don’t look like everything else out there now. When you buy from indie brands, you get quality, sustainability and more often than not, ethically made fashion. No matter where you live, you have no excuse because you can get their designs online. Here are 4 of those indie brands you need to know now (and can buy them online from the comfort of your home…no excuses!):
I have been head over heels with this handbag line for a few seasons now since meeting the local designer at a press preview. I fell for her simple but striking designs, especially her classic “Castaway” everyday bag that you may have seen me wear to death. You may have also seen her designs on Vogue, InStyle, Real Simple and even on the show Girls. She focuses on quality over crazy designs/hardware/logos. The bags are also reasonably priced and come in colors that you’ll be able to pair with everything in your wardrobe. Every design feels fresh, but still timeless so you definitely get your money’s worth when you invest in one of her bags.
This local Brooklyn accessories brand looks anything but local. Everything is designed here but the designer takes nod to other cultures and even has artisans abroad crafting these unique pieces. Each tasseled design I own feels like I traveled somewhere special to get it and best of all, it gives jobs to these women in developing nations. The brand has been featured in just about every publication and featured in major retailers, so it’s not long before you’ll be seeing them everywhere.
DOUBLE HIGH FIVE BROOKLYN
There’s something amazing about the movement to give women in underdeveloped nations work and utilize their skills to create quality fashion and accessories. Double High Five jumped on this mission over a decade ago, giving artisans in Mali a chance to work and create these fun stackable bracelets made out of recycled flip flops. These stacked rubber bracelets get so much attention when I wear them and I love telling the story of their origins, not to mention that they were developed in my home of Brooklyn.
The coolest part about SOMA shoes, other than that they’re all handmade and unique, is that there’s no left or right foot, but the shoes mold to your feet. All of the designs are bespoke, meaning tailor made for your feet by artisans using 17th century Indian techniques, so each set is pretty one-of-a-kind and like a piece of art. They look like something you may pick up on your travels across the world, but you can order them online and get them right to your front door.
Rachel Comey dress (via Rent The Runway. Get $30 off here) // Joanna Maxham bag (c/o) // Bluma Project earrings (c/o) // Double High Five Brooklyn bracelets (c/o) // SOMA shoes (c/o)
Products labeled c/o are courtesy of the brand. My opinions, reviews, and what I choose to wear are all my own.