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If you feel like you’ve fallen into a fashion rut as of late, rest assured you’re not alone. According to one of the more popular theories that have been tossed around as to why the industry is “broken” right now, clothes these days are simply too boring, too homogenous, too same-old, same-old.
Even with a million options of where to shop and what to buy, it’s easy for us to fall into the same retail patterns—stopping at the same stores on Saturdays to pick up a new pair of shoes or clicking on already-bookmarked sites to browse their new arrivals. I’m guilty, too—it’s a rare week that I don’t wear head-to-toe Aritzia at least once (Canadian habits die hard, kids).
But without a little variety, things start to feel a bit blah after a while. And they don’t need to—it’s a huge world out there, and there are sites that’ll do the legwork for you when it comes to discovering new brands. Below, you’ll find six of our favorites, some of which focus on indie designers from a particular country (who knew Ukraine was such a fashion hot spot?) and others that troll the global marketplace for emerging brands. So next time you get asked “Where’s that from?” you’ll actually have a story to tell.
Now that the West is officially wild for Korean beauty products, perhaps it’s time for us to take a harder look at the country’s clothing offerings. This online hub for up-and-coming designers hailing from South Korea and beyond is an excellent place to start—most of the labels it carries are only a few seasons old, and there’s plenty to find for less than 0.
Brands to discover: Recto (innovative shirting and off-kilter basics), Another A (feel-good separates in sunny spring colors)
Why browse one boutique when you can find more than 200 under one (digital) roof? Garmentory links up shoppers with local stores in the U.S., Canada, and abroad, so you can discover a two-seasons-old indie line from Portland in just a few clicks from a Madrid-based label of made-in-Spain leather bags. One unusual element of the site is the “Make an Offer” feature, which you’ll see next to certain items. This allows you to name your own price, which boutiques can accept, reject, or counter—like haggling, without any of the in-person awkwardness.
Brands to discover: Eliza Faulkner (feminine dresses and tops with thoughtful cuts), Cosette (French girl–worthy pieces with West Coast ease)
A Boca Raton–based store that stocks hard-to-find Ukrainian designers? Yes, it exists, and you’ll be so glad it does—and not just because paying taxes, duties, and shipping from Eastern Europe is the kind of thing you need a trust fund for. The selection is tightly edited, and the stock ranges from easy-to-wear shirtdresses to high-fashion fringed gowns.
Brands to discover: Bevza (clean-lined tops and dresses in neutral shades), Jealousy (femme pieces with lots of personality)
Runway 2 Street
This Seattle start-up was launched with the mission of bringing emerging designers from around the world into closets of fashion fans at home. In addition to eye-catching jewelry lines (Eshvi, Tadam) and covetable clothing labels (Schai, Antipodium), the store stocks small-batch, hard-to-find beauty brands like natural skin-care line January Labs and Bulgaria-based Arbu.
Brands to discover: Silvae (work-friendly clothes with pretty prints inspired by the Pacific Northwest), Anouki (statement brogues and boots for the aspiring street-style star)
Wolf & Badger
With 600 brands and counting, this London-based retailer champions the little guys in a big, big way. Beyond just womenswear, it carries accessories, home goods, and stuff for guys as well—and its scale means that shipping and returns won’t be a total headache. (You don’t know how important “duties included” is until you’ve bought something from overseas that arrives with a surprise surcharge.)
Brands to discover: Eleanor Amoroso (modern, minimal hand-wrapped cord jewelry), Heio (ingenious foldable geometric handbags)
Not Just a Label
More showroom and incubator than mere e-commerce store, this global platform acts as the intermediary between independent labels and shoppers around the world. The company has worked with more than 20,000 brands from more than 100 different countries since launching in 2008—meaning the risk of losing hours to browsing is very, very real. One added bonus is the option to sort merch by “Local Production,” “Organic Fabrics,” and “Ethical Labor,” along with the usual “Tops,” “Bottoms,” and “Footwear” categories—something other online retailers might consider following suit on.
Brands to discover: Anna Segurado (easy-to-wear indigo cotton with artful touches), LLY Atelier (jewelry juxtaposing primordial metals and polished marble)