Business is far from usual nowadays, but a group of rising fashion brands has been rewriting the rules of business, design and marketing prior to a COVID-19 pandemic that has virtually upended the industry and forced it to reconsider its traditional habits.
The “Next 20 Brands,” a new report by Highsnobiety and global fashion search platform Lyst, names the next-generation brands that are poised to drive youth culture and “challenge the formulaic blueprint set by mega brands and talents.”
Compiled by algorithms developed by Lyst and an advisory board of industry experts like Highsnobiety editor-in-chief Christopher Morency, Selfridges’s director of men’s wear and women’s wear Bosse Myhri, Browns buying director Ida Petersson and Denim Dudes contributor and Rivet 50 honoree Sam Trotman and more, the list represents the fashion players that are “leading the charge and setting the stage for those who come next.”
“The fashion brands and personalities that resonate with youth culture today write their own rules, transparently speak to their audiences on their own terms, and are less reliant than ever on traditional routes to success,” Morency said. “They challenge the formulaic blueprint set by mega brands and mainstream talents, leading the charge and ultimately setting the stage for those who come next. The Next 20 reflects this new ecosystem, and represents the future of forecasting.”
Here’s a closer look at the brands to watch.
Though the French label celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, its miniature purse has become the small yet mighty ‘It’ item that has helped Jacquemus bust the barrier established by storied French luxury labels. The brand’s social media and press mentions increased 1116 percent after its Fall/Winter 20-21 show set in a stripped-down, no-frills environment—a rebellious move as other designers opt for splashy, experiential shows.
Fear of God
Though its tagline is “classic American silhouettes reimagined for forever, beyond modernity,” Fear of God has really rung in a new era of streetwear with $750 hoodies and outerwear inspired by military traditions.
However, it’s the brand’s four-part collaboration with Italian design house Ermenegildo Zegna that has pushed the brand into a new echelon of fashion. “With a shared true desire to create the modern man’s wardrobe, we partnered with Ermenegildo Zegna to establish a timeless collection rooted in freedom, sophistication, and elegance,” Fear of God founder Jerry Lorenzo stated. “Through this partnership, we’ve had the opportunity to bring our perspective of ‘American luxury’ to the hands and craftsmanship of Italy’s best tailors.”
A LVMH Prize 2020 finalist and Woolmark Prize Winner, New York-based Bode is doing its part to establish sustainability as a key quality of luxury fashion. The brand repurposes vintage textiles, makes most of its trousers “made to order” and uses mending and quilting techniques to create modern heirlooms.
Though only two years old, New York brand Peter Do is filling “the empty niche of sophisticated women’s wear,” said Olga Karput, KM 20 founder and one of the members on the advisory board. Earlier this year, Vogue profiled the brand, noting that it employs no “highly paid PR firm” to pull strings and strategically meets with buyers during the men’s buying season when budgets are full and open.
Canadian outdoor brand Arc’teryx landed on the Next 20 list for garnering more than 13,400 social media mentions. And it’s proof that the right collaboration can have lasting positive effects on business. The brand saw social and online press mentions jump 540 percent after custom Arc’teryx dresses were presented in Off-White’s Fall/Winter 2021 runway show.
All eyes are on Amiri, the leather and denim-centric rock ‘n’ roll-inspired men’s and women’s wear brand. Amiri generates upwards of 1,000 searches a day on Lyst, and its average monthly Google search volume is 122,000, according to the report.
Collaborations with Fumito Ganryu, Wander and 11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi have added a cool factor to performance footwear brand Salomon. Google search volume for the sneaker brand rose 71 percent over one quarter.
Launched in 1988, Needles patiently found its audience on Instagram, where it has rapidly gained a following. The Japanese-meets-Americana take on casual items like track pants and deconstructed flannel shirts make it a fan favorite of tastemakers like A$AP Rocky, and an unique collaborative partner with traditional brands like Lee.
The appeal of French fashion designer Marine Serre’s designs is wide-reaching. The designer’s signature logo cat suits have been worn by the likes of Beyonce and Kylie Jenner. “Even Kanye [West] is walking through her showroom doing personal orders,” Petersson said. The general public is taking note, too. The brand saw a 716 percent spike in social and online press mentions after its Fall/Winter 20-21 runway show.
Los Angeles-based Rhude has reaped the benefits of being worn by star NBA players, but the luxury streetwear brand got a taste of the runway life this year when it made its Paris Fashion Week Men’s debut.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh
With more than 380 online and blog articles written about Maryam Nassir Zadeh, awareness of the women’s wear designer is growing. Searches on Lyst for the New York-based designer are up 67 percent compared to last quarter, the report stated, and it may grow as she expands into the jewelry category.
A sold-out collaboration with Porter is just one of many confirmations that Aries is on the rise. The U.K. streetwear brand with genderless collections offers Gen Z consumers a plethora of tongue-in-cheek graphic tee options and updated essentials like boxer shorts and sweats. The brand receives more than 300 searches a day on Lyst.
If you’re unfamiliar with Amina Muaddi’s designs, that will likely change soon. The brand has the fastest sell-through on Lyst and is frequently worn by modern-day style icons Rihanna and Solange. “Her product has a very strong signature, yet with her passionate marketing, she’s rising very fast internationally,” said Yilling Hong, Canal Street Shanghai founder and part of the report’s advisory board.
1017 Alyx 9SM
Not only does 1017 Alyx 9SM have a shout-out by Drake in his song “Toosie Slide,” the men’s and women’s brand has ongoing collaborations with Nike, Moncler and Mackintosh that are driving up its Google searches by 50 percent.
Aime Leon Dore
Lifestyle brand Aime Leon Dore’s simple yet powerful designs resonate with millennial and Gen Z consumers. The Queens, N.Y.-based brand has found a following with its “Uniform Program,” which consists of hoodies, tees, sweatpants and shorts, and a throwback collaboration with New Balance.
Worn by the likes of Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber, London-based Charlotte Knowles is establishing a new idea of femininity in fashion. “Charlotte’s refined hybrid sports lingerie is how empowered women want to dress right now,” said Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East founder and a member of the advisory board.
With a 614 percent increase in social media impressions compared to the previous quarter, awareness of Miyagihidetaka is growing, and it’s growing quickly. The Japanese label launched an exclusive bandanna-themed capsule collection with Highsnobiety in February.
As the most-searched brand in the U.S., Canada and South Korea, L.A.-based streetwear brand 424 has global appeal. The brand launched a popular “American Psycho” collection with illustrator Benjamin Marra and has inked unique deals, including becoming Premier League global football team Arsenal’s official formal wear partner.
Established in 2014 as a means to meet a demand for “expertly designed, high fashioned leather pieces at an accessible price,” Stand Studio has since become an ‘It’ brand on Instagram, thanks in part to partnerships with influencers like Pernille Teisbaek. The brand’s page views on Lyst increased 83 percent in the past quarter.
With an average Google search volume of 45,000 a month in the U.S. and Europe alone, Eytys’ high-level approach to nostalgic ’80s and ’90s style is striking the right chord. It’s a brand to watch as jeans silhouettes become wider and more fluid.