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Fashion Brands To Watch Out For In 2021

As the most unusual year in memory draws to a close, we’re looking back at the taste-makers, designers and movements that defined 2020’s fashion landscape. Playful new collectives – from loungewear to cottagecore – were born out of social media but for designers, 2020 was about moving with the times. During the pandemic, sustainability, equity, transparency and genuine commitment to community were top of consumers’ agendas and few brands made the cut in staying fresh, relevant and unproblematic.

In its 2020 Year in Review, shopping platform Lyst has reviewed the searches, views and sales of 100 million shoppers to show us not only how the cards fell this year but where the sartorial stars are headed for 2021. Through exciting design and demands for institutional change, the five brands ahead are proving that there’s hope for the industry yet.

From Johannesburg to Milan, New York to New Zealand, click through to meet the labels to watch in 2021.

Brother Vellies

Founded and designed in New York by Aurora James, sustainable and ethical accessories brand Brother Vellies came to life in 2013 “with the goal of keeping traditional African design practices and techniques alive while also creating and sustaining artisanal jobs.” Using vegetable-tanned leathers and hand-carved wood, the brand’s directional and contemporary pieces are created by craftspeople from Mexico to Morocco. Featuring ’70s-inspired wooden clogs, embellished buckle-up Mary Janes and mock-croc bags with statement top handles, Brother Vellies’ accessories are beautiful enough to display on your shelves as well as on your body.

Search for the brand has soared 23% but that’s not the only reason 2020 has been a powerful year for James. Seeking economic accountability in the wake of this year’s racial injustices and police brutality, she created 15 Percent Pledge, a nonprofit calling on retailers to commit at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands, in line with the 15% of people living in the United States who identify as Black or mixed race. Now, with 65k followers on Instagram and inspiring similar initiatives outside of the States, James has spotlighted Black talent in the fashion industry and beyond.

Chopova Lowena

Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena met at Central Saint Martins in 2011 and bonded over a love of handmade and secondhand creations. Fast-forward to 2017 and their English-Bulgarian brand Chopova Lowena was conceived, its offbeat craftsmanship capturing fashion hearts ever since. Traditional patchwork pieces are given a rock ‘n’ roll spin with leather belting and metal hardwear details for an eccentric, ’80s hair metal meets Balkan meets hiking uniform aesthetic.

The cult contrast plaid midi skirt, complete with safety pins and concertina fabric, is Chopova Lowena’s most coveted piece but its patchwork cotton dresses, punky printed bike shorts and customised berets have all played a part in making the brand the beloved outlaw of contemporary fashion. Search has risen 33% this year, with Harry Styles, Michaela Coel and Madonna among its star-studded fanbase.

Thebe Magugu

Johannesburg-based Thebe Magugu nabbed the LVMH prize in 2019 – the first African designer to win the prestigious award – and has been on an upwards trajectory ever since. Working with local artisans and suppliers, Magugu’s offering is sumptuous contemporary womenswear – expect rich shades, sophisticated silhouettes and modern detailing inspired by his South African heritage. Now part of Matches Fashion’s The Innovators programme, having been worn by Zendaya on her game-changing InStyle September cover and with search up 27% this year, expect big things from the label in 2021.

Magugu also publishes Faculty Press, an annual zine documenting “the true face of contemporary South Africa, Africa and their diaspora through the emerging voices advancing the cultural landscape our brand calls home,” while Extracurricular is an accessible space fostering fashion projects that build conversation and community, with a percentage of proceeds going to a different cause each season.

Paris Georgia

In 2015, friends Paris Mitchell Temple and Georgia Cherrie came together to found their New Zealand-based label, Paris Georgia. With “silhouettes standing as an ode to the female form” you can bet the brand’s offering is as sexy as it is smart, leaning towards sophisticated design – think timeless slip dresses and knitwear – rather than seasonal trends. You’ll have spotted its most cult duo all over Instagram this year, a black singlet and dress with heart-shaped neckline and contrast white piping. The ’90s-inspired pieces, worn by Kendall Jenner, Jessie Andrews and Candice Swanepoel, became such a hit that DIY influencers began making their own versions.

Stocked exclusively at Browns, search for Paris Georgia was up 25% this year and not just because of its slinky styles. Ninety-five percent of the brand’s offering is locally made by a team of independent sewers and larger local factories, meaning a smaller carbon footprint and a strengthening of regional industry.


Search was up 40% for Medea, the Milan-based brand founded in 2018 by Italian twins Giulia and Camilla Venturini, who you may recognise as former models who have graced the catwalks of labels like MSGM and Eckhaus Latta. Now, their handbags – similarly to Telfar, modelled on the everyday shopping tote bag – have acquired cult status, with Petra Collins, Paloma Elsesser and Adwoa Aboah touting them on our timelines.

Made using fine matte leather, available in sizes micro to XXL and coming in a choice of playful colourways (think satsuma and sky blue), the bags are stocked at fashion’s coolest boutiques, from Dover Street Market to Opening Ceremony. What’s more, the brand already counts Nan Goldin, Kiko Kostadinov and Dev Hynes as collaborators. Watch this space.

Credit: Original article published here.

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