Buying in the digital age no longer means an ability to spot trends, source during fashion weeks or network at the right events. Selections need to speak to the content influenced consumer who is exposed to a large amount of brands and seeks newness daily. Forward thinking approaches to sourcing include cross matching brands on Instagram by a retailer’s customer 'follow' base, using an online wholesale platform to source new labels or acquiring far-flung talent from aggregators such as Not Just A Label (NJAL).
NJAL, the B-to-C marketplace representing over 30,000 designers in 150 countries, helps emerging designers gain exposure in the fashion industry and independently control their progression. The platform posts images of designer collections that most don't have access to given location or time restrictions. Below are some of the up and coming designers on the platform who are currently in business with at least three high profile luxury retailers and sit adjacent to equally advanced designer labels.
1. June Nineteen
Yurga Juozapa has been a fixture on the fashion scene since she studied communications in Paris and worked as an in house model for Isabel Marant. After moving to Los Angeles she became fascinated by the concrete city and found the inspiration to start her minimalist jewellery line. After only 3 years of fine jewellery production June Nineteen is now carried by progressive doors such as Just One Eye and Curve in Los Angeles, endorsing the labels credibility in the competitive retail environment.
2. Jonathan liang
The Chinese designer based in Paris is renowned for his innovative use of fabrics and modern cuts – expect sculptural yet wearable silhouettes that feel modern and flattering. “There is a strong purpose to every piece,” says Liang of his eponymous label - inspired by wild florals, embroidery and his current life in France. From the feminine silk lace ‘Vampire Orchid’ dress to the plush shearling ‘Flossy’ coat, each garment is thoughtfully designed and crafted using the most luxurious fabrics. The designer, whose dreamy ready-to-wear has become a mainstay within the walls of prestigious retailers such as Lane Crawford and Le 66 Dubai and Beirut, is carefully building his wholesale streams with strategic awareness.
Korean fashion designer Sungmin Shim majored in fashion design at her local University and then continued her education at Parsons School of Design. Shim cut her teeth in New York working on Calvin Klein Collection and Ralph Lauren Black Label before launching her own label, Echtego in 2015.
Whether creating modern tailoring, edgy outerwear or floaty dresses, each piece is designed with a blend of gender, texture and trends. Focus on quality construction is key for the designer and this can be reflected by the brands luxury retail partners Moda Operandi, Politix LA, Felt Chicago, Liger Hong Kong, Matter Matters Studio and many more.
Aram Lee started her career as a handbag designer for Kate Spade and currently serves as a part-time faculty member at Parsons School of Design, all whilst designing her eponymous label.
The brands geometric shaped bags are not only fashionable and forward thinking but they also have a key environmental message. “The industry standard wastage of leather ranges from 20 - 50%, depending on the size of the leather piece” say’s Lee. “To lower the wastage I make use of the scraps. The patch shapes are determined by the scraps, so each pouch is unique”.
5. MIMI PROBER
It is not every day that you stumble across a designer who, in the heart of New York City, produces collections directly with local artisans, farms, mills, and manufacturers. Through a zero-waste philosophy, Prober creates ready-to-wear and jewellery lines that have an individual history and story. As it turns out, her brand attitude is appreciated at a high level with celebrated New York retailers Barneys, IF and Gilda’s all carrying the label.
6. LUZ ORTIZ
Carribean-born New York based Luz Ortiz creates fine jewellery “that draw inspiration from her upbringing, along with the influence of the architectural, modern art and industrial elements” that surround her. The designer has an expert eye for manipulating traditional forms which is appreciated by the clientele at a number of luxury retailers including Fivestory, Rizzi B, Sincerely Tommy, Journal Standard, and Need Supply. Kristen Stewart and Jessica Stam are fans.
7. MEI L'ANGE
Known for its iconic cuts, innovative colorways and high-tech materials, New York label Mei L’Ange has been producing elegant swimwear since 2016. Designer Eefje Sarah Dierickx is a Central Saint Martins alumina and has an impressive design resume that includes Calvin Klein, Isabel Marant, Preen, Alice + Olivia and COS.
Her education is reflected in the quality of the swimwear she produces. Made using extraordinarily soft and fine premium fabrics, the collections feature a palette to flatter every skin tone, as well as a variety of styles and modesty levels that celebrate, compliment and appreciate the female form.
8. NAYA REA
Naya Rea’s rise has been driven by her obscure ruffled-silhouette that can take the wearer from day to night. For her most recent SS’19 wholesale showing, she impressively pushed the envelope playing with texture and colour combinations.
The Siberian born, London based designer received her Bachelors degree in Interior design from the Academy of Architecture in Novosibirsk, Russia before studying design and technology at the London College of Fashion. Rea who, plays with traditional forms, gives editorial catnip to media around the world given that Vogue Italy, Buro247 and L'Officiel are common supporters.
9. GAYEON LEE
Gayeon Lee completed the acclaimed MA Fashion Womenswear course at Central Saint Martins in 2013 under Professor Louise Wilson. Whilst working in London and New York for several luxury labels including Marc Jacobs, Lee gained valuable experience and knowledge of the luxury market, which led to the launch of her own label in 2014. Gayeon Lee is currently stocked at Plan de Ville in New York, Boutique 51 Cairo and Trunkshow in Seoul.