Highsnobiety and global fashion search platform Lyst are back again with a fresh list of what they consider to be the “Next 20” brands to watch. Determined by a combination of data and editorial instincts from an advisory board of influential fashion figures, the list calls attention to brands that have not only survived the tumults of 2020, but have also embraced the uncertainties to fuel their innovations.
Through collaborations, community engagement and cultural moments, these brands have found recent success that experts are predicting will continue for years to come.
Telfar soared into the limelight in January, when The Cut published an editorial naming the brand’s signature faux-leather shopping bag the “Bushwick Birkin,” which Lyst also called the “hottest product in the world.” From there, the brand known for its inclusive designs and price points only increased in popularity, getting the seal of approval from influential leaders such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Oprah, and later announcing a future collaboration with the Gap, which has since fallen through. The Next 20 included Telfar for these accolades, along with its 1,011 percent surge in average monthly Google searches and 695 percent spike in pageviews on Lyst compared to last year.
Also earning recognition on the list was Nigerian-born fashion designer Mowalola, another brand name recently tied to the Gap as the retailer expands its customer base. This year, Mowalola was appointed as design director of Yeezy x Gap, one of fashion’s biggest internet-breaking partnerships of 2020. Average monthly Google searches for the designer are up 421 percent, and her Instagram following has seen an increase of 151 percent as a result.
Another brand winning a global audience with its strong partnerships is Awake, which The Next 20 recognized for its Carhartt, Timberland and Levi’s collaborations.
“They’re representing the essence and cultural spirit of New York whilst having a global presence,” said Marcus Paul, stylist and consultant, and member of the report’s advisory board. “Awake will continue to lead the way beyond 2020.”
The brand was also a strong figure during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year. The company’s founder, streetwear legend Angelo Baque, raised thousands for New York’s New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) program and other local businesses.
Brain Dead, a creative collective of artists and designers around the world, did its part to support BLM as well, collaborating with musician Dev Hynes on a T-shirt that raised over $500,000 for BLM charities within days of its announcement. This year, the Brain Dead’s social mentions skyrocketed 153 percent, earning a spot on the Next 20.
Pyer Moss founder Kerby Jean-Raymond’s charitable efforts helped earned the brand a spot on the Next 20 list—he donated PPE in the midst of the pandemic, set up financial aid for small Black-owned businesses and created a platform to empower young innovators in partnership with Kering. The brand saw a 112 percent increase in searches on Lyst compared to last year.
A-Cold-Wall also received recognition after the brand saw a 452 percent growth in pageviews on Lyst compared to last year. The brand’s founder, Samuel Ross, provided grants for independent Black-owned businesses.
Fear of God
Similarly, Fear of God’s Jerry Lorenzo joined forces with nine streetwear brands to make a greater charitable donation to BLM organizations, spurring Highsnobiety and Lyst to once again name the brand one of its Next 20. Fear of God’s highly anticipated collaboration with Ermenegildo Zegna also made it a form of much-needed escapism in 2020. This year, its social mentions jumped 73 percent.
Responsible for the sea of hot pink accessories and outerwear in recent months, Jacquemus made it on the Next 20 list for its strong influence and innovative concepts. Sarah Andelman, founder of Just an Idea and a member of the report’s advisory board, applauded the designer’s relentless creativity and said he did “one of the most visually impactful shows of the year,” referencing the S/S ’21 show staged in barley fields. Average monthly Google searches for Jacquemus shot up 82 percent, and his Instagram following increased by a whopping 1 million.
In 2020, running became one of the few remaining activities for showcasing one’s fashion. As a result, Salomon, an apparel brand known for its activewear and gear—and for its strides in recyclability—joined the ranks of top designers. The brand saw an increase of over 600 percent in pageviews on Lyst and was up 91 percent in social mentions compared to last year.
Similarly, Canadian outdoor brand Arc’Teryx made the list a second time for its jump to fame, powered by the adoption of influential figures like Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Virgil Abloh. Arc’Teryx recently collaborated with skateboard brand and clothing store Palace and is working on a future partnership with German designer Jil Sander.
Hoka One One
In March, performance brand Hoka One One proved it was more than just footwear. The company dropped a 27-piece collection of apparel and accessories, including non-performance apparel and sustainable elements, and hasn’t looked back since. It’s up 202 percent in pageviews on Lyst compared to last year, and up 49 percent in average monthly Google searches.
Cactus Plant Flea Market
Cactus Plant Flea Market is considered a rising star in the streetwear scene thanks to its many successful collaborations with Nike this year, including a Swarovski crystal-studded sneaker. The brand saw a 77 percent increase in social mentions and 25 percent growth in average monthly Google searches.
The first female designer to show at NYFW: Men’s, Bode is considered to be a “rule-breaker” in the best way. This year, the brand opened its first New York City monobrand store and won a collection of prestigious awards, including Woolmark’s Innovation Prize and the LVMH Prize. Bode saw a 743 percent spike in pageviews on Lyst this year.
One of the recipients of British Fashion Council’s Covid-19 pandemic relief fund, Ahluwalia also got the attention of many other fashion giants this year. It won the LVMH Prize and the ‘People’ category at The Fashion Awards, and was a guest designer at Guccifest, a week-long fashion film festival hosted by Gucci. The brand saw a 53 percent increase in average monthly Google searches and grew its Instagram following by 82 percent.
Though many brands report 2020 as one of the most challenging times in their company’s history, streetwear brand Daily Paper “thrived,” according to Sandrine Charles, consultant and member of the report’s advisory board. The company opened its first New York City flagship store during an especially difficult time for retail, and skyrocketed 94 percent in social mentions.
Once named by Vogue as the “it-bag line,” Medea has catapulted to fame in 2020, seeing a 4,047 percent spike in pageviews on Lyst compared to last year. The jump can be attributed to its many collaborations, including those with designers Kiko Kostadinov, Peter Do, and artist Judith Bernstein.
Meghan Markle-approved designer Grace Wales Bonner started the year showcasing her ’70s-inspired collection of track pants and color-blocked tweed suits with denim blazers and trench coats. She’s described as “one of the most quietly influential designers of the moment” by Saam Emme, consultant and member of the report’s advisory board. This year, she launched an ultra successful collaboration with Adidas and increased her Instagram following by 32 percent, earning her a spot on the Next 20 list.
Amina Muaddi recently won the FN Achievement Award for Collaborator of the Year for her Fenty footwear partnership that debuted in July. The brand is up 854 percent in pageviews on Lyst compared to last year, and shows no signs of slowing down, with a number of additional collaborations under her belt.
Aime Leon Dore
Aime Leon Dore may have won the unofficial award for most collaborations in 2020, which spanned companies like Porsche, New Balance and Clarks. As a result, it saw a 121 percent increase in searches on Lyst since last year and a 90 percent spike in average monthly Google searches.
Marine Serre is proof that what Beyonce touches turns to gold. The singer wore a Marine Serre logoed catsuit for her “Black Is King” visual album that went viral this year. Known for blurring the lines between fashion and politics, the designer saw a 152 percent year-over-year increase in pageviews on Lyst.