People have always expressed their individuality through clothing. Historically groups on the margins, such as the LGBTQ+ community, have used fashion to combat the mainstream and express aspects of themselves that society has worked hard to eliminate.
Today with massive clothing brands producing the same beige bodycon dresses, people seek unique pieces from independent designers that empower them. Coupled with increased emphasis on sustainability, finding unheard-of quality outlets is certainly in vogue.
Up and down the country, independent businesses are sprouting up, whether in boutique stores or through a growing Instagram presence. The latter has allowed designers outside of London to succeed, reaching consumers across the UK and globally.
The mainstream fashion industry, which, let’s face it, is not known for its inclusivity, has neglected the designs from people of colour or the shapes of ordinary people. Independent designers can craft pieces that reflect their own influences, often picturing a diverse demographic wearing their collections.
So, if you are looking for a little bit of luxury with an independent edge, here are some of our top picks of UK independent designers:
1. Silken Favours
Silk binds this London-based brand together by offering a range of products in the desired material, from clothing to homeware. Creative Director Vicki Murdoch approaches her designs with a playful edge and a bold and adventurous customer in mind, exemplified by its rootin’ tootin’ silk cowboy shirt range!
Most of her items start as hand-drawn prints inspired by nature that translates into an otherworldly quality when printed on silk. Silken Favours now has 20 stores worldwide, so for outgoing individuals everywhere, this is the brand for you!
2. Dora Larsen
Dora Larsen is a female-led company providing delicate yet bold designs. Created for women by Georgia Larsen, she and her husband, Jake, create beautiful designs women can wear daily. And as a bonus, the company is named after her childhood dog!
Her creations ensure every size and demographic feels beautiful, which is essential to any lingerie brand that wants to empower their consumer. Dora Larsen’s intimates have colours for all individuals, whether to match an outfit or to make them feel gorgeous. Their sets are also popular amongst London escorts who want to build a distinctive yet feminine image.
Sustainability is also at the core of this brand, with most of their materials containing recycled, organic or natural fibres as part of their effort to tackle climate change. Dora Larsen perfectly balances comfortable lingerie that also makes their customers feel beautiful!
Colour and quality first come to mind when browsing Lisou’s collection, with each piece enjoying a rich and enticing texture unseen in most high-street clothing outlets. All ages look incredible in Rene Macdonald’s designs. Her clothing brings joy to her customers by using distinctive colours, patterns and materials, possessing a vintage yet contemporary feel.
Born in Tanzania, African influences seep into Macdonald’s designs through bold colours and patterns. Her time in the UK has also determined her brand, making Lisou an excellent combination of European and African styles that ensures the brand stands out.
For those sick of the same old sportswear brands, Castore is an innovative alternative. This premium sportswear brand contains a clean, powerful look that ensures you feel confident when exercising. At the core of this brand’s clothing is its ability to enhance the performance of the wearer, whether you are a professional or heading to the gym for the first time.
The two brothers responsible for founding Castore initially aimed to create elite sportswear for men, but it has since grown to accommodate women, children and a vast array of sports!
Palmer/Harding produces simple yet modern creations designed to be impactful when worn. Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding created their brand in 2011, learning their trade from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London. They strike an intriguing balance between masculine and feminine, not bogged down by stereotypical gender confines.
Furthermore, their designs refuse to limit the wearer, with each piece characterised by a fluidity that matches their brand ideas. Palmer/Harding’s tailoring is a prime example of this concept, going beyond an ordinary suit, favouring their fluid design whilst still looking polished and crisp.
Admittedly shopping exclusively from independent outlets can get pricey. However, it is good to be aware of what is out there, potentially finding a designer that represents you. Even if you still mainly shop mainstream, helping smaller businesses now and then is a great way to show your support.
Independent designers are not only sustainable but open the doors for their customers to feel more comfortable in themselves and empower them to express their individuality. When you are next heading down that rabbit hole of online shopping, why not check out some independents instead for a fresh perspective?