Header image: The Row founders and creative directors are none other than our favorite twins of the 21st century, the Olsens, who took the fashion world by storm quietly as Gigi Hadid walked in its FW20 collection. Image Source – Arquitectura y Diseno
As fashion week goes on, there’s no shame when the first thing that comes into your mind are the big names of the industry, from Louis Vuitton to Chanel to Gucci, they’ve earned it, and rightfully so. All three labels have mastered the art of not just designing iconic pieces, but of commercializing fashion into a worldwide phenomenon–creating a new layer to the market that cultivates status and are now the new rungs of the social ladder which makes it as coveted and widespread as it is today. More often than not, these brands are what populate the luxury floors of shopping centers, the biggest billboards in fashion, the most grandiose store displays, and the exhibits in national museums: all telltales for a perfect brand recall in today’s consumers.
However, fashion is a constantly innovating industry that recognizes the infinite flow of creativity. Now and more diverse than ever, the industry has been branching out its preferences from French and Italian designer legacies to young and unique individuals all over the world– this is a big win for us. There is always power in perspective and these designers that have been expressing their points of view through their designs ask for you to kindly hear them out.
Check out a partial list of our favorite non-mainstream global designers starting with these 5.
The Sydney-born eponymous label was born in 2010 with a vision of contemporarily fusing masculinity and femininity together, now reaching the closets of Bella Hadid and Zendaya. Image Sources: (CW) Vogue Runway, Sydney Morning Herald, Russh
Born of humble beginnings with his Australian-founded label, Christopher Esber shot to ‘It Girl’ status and it was the last thing he expected for his brand. Esber’s pieces perfectly encapsulate the idea of a resort collection with his intention of creating ‘beach looks that aren’t just for the beach.’ This has solidified his signature flair of deconstructed pieces and sophisticated tailoring that adds chic modernity to simple fabrics, such as the Australia Resort 22 piece. This is what caught the eye of the industry’s stylists and had him personally riding a bike in Paris to get one of his pieces to Emily Ratajkowski, while another piece sailed to Cannes for Solange Knowles. Reminiscent of the now trendy cutout pieces from Mônot and Nensi Dojaka, Christopher Esber is adamant to stand out among the rest by designing pieces that created his brand’s integrity; how can he clothe the Esber woman in pieces that fit better and better over time, “It’s like designing a car: every model that comes is meant to be better and better. That’s where I put my energy. When I pick a fabric, I start molding and tailoring.”
This time from Melbourne, Toni Matičevski’s design house has produced some of the best evening gowns that have graced the runways, red carpets, and streets of the world. Image Sources:(CW) Vogue Runway, Net-a-porter, Toni Maticevski
Hailing from Macedonia and later growing up in Melbourne, the 46-year-old graduated with first honors in the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and he has also since graduated from his signature skeletal dresses that put an elegant spin on bondage. Known for his holistic approach to fashion as an art form that encompasses multiple factors, he also uses ‘unusual’ music to heighten the senses and invigorate the audiences with how his pieces are presented. His craftsmanship and regard for intricacy are especially evidenced in his evening gowns (and jumpsuit hybrids); cut in unconventionally graceful silhouettes while producing an air of sophistication and confidence, as shown in his Resort 2019 (top left) and 2023 (bottom row) collections. But Matičevski’s creations aren’t just about using his creativity mindlessly, many have praised his thoughtfulness and intentional designs that create not just tangible pieces for his clients but also act as their personal wells of inspiration and confidence boosters. From how he handles fabrics, colors, textures, and shapes, Toni believes that fashion is more than what it seems, “Reality, even today, is not very pretty and so for me, being creative is my escape into, ‘let’s make the world feel beautiful’.”
The Row is an expert in creating designs that do the talking more than the brand. From what seems like any ‘regular’ bag, The Row’s totes (center) are one of the most coveted in fashion right now. Image Source: (L-R) Editorialist, Net-a-porter, Vogue Runway
You’ve heard of Mary Kate and Ashley but maybe not their uber-stylish, New York-chic luxury label, The Row. One of the most elusive celebrities that Hollywood has produced, the twins reached cult status when they suddenly disappeared from the spotlight after their child-teen acting stints. From sensationalizing flip-flops in fashion to really getting their ROIs on their Birkins and Kellys, they have unintentionally been making style statements over the years. Their take with their homegrown label The Row is as if they personified themselves into the brand’s creative vision, tailored and structured basic pieces that are the epitome of quiet luxuries. There’s no logo iconography or even the use of colors from the rainbow in their collections, they let their pieces do the talking, and they just happen to sound like a yoga instructor, exuding a calm aura of sophistication. The antithesis of street style, The Row has since been at the forefront of the ‘quiet’ style movement in recent years [see their FW2020 (left) and PF23 (right) looks], with brands like Khaite and Jil Sander slowly inching into the spotlight as well. Known as the palette cleanser in fashion, The Row is just as elusive as its creators–managing to steer clear of hype but still being a brand that fashion enthusiasts and art dilettantes continually obsess over.
Botter leads as one of the most innovatively creative labels in fashion today, from ‘portable aquariums’ to 3D printed shoes and optical illusion sweaters, the brand never ceases to surprise and please. Image Source: (CW) Botter Instagram, Fucking Young!, Highsnobiety
There’s always something to look forward to as Botter’s new collections hit the runway. The self-proclaimed ‘Caribbean Couture’ label makes waves (and cares for it too) as one-half of the creative directors is Curaçao-born, Rushemy Botter alongside his partner, Amsterdam-born Lisi Herrebrugh. The Caribbean and Dutch tandem displays their dynamic fusion in their art, from the complex simplicity of Dutch tailoring and the playful innovativeness of Caribbean creativity. Botter’s manifesto has been grounded in its disciplined approach to using our world’s waters as an art form while simultaneously advocating for sustainable fashion. His SS23’s “The Plastic Sea” portable aquarium creation (left) and the 3D printed sneakers in collaboration with Reebok in their AW23 collection (right) garnered praise for the brand’s dedication to keeping its roots watered while branching out into today’s technologically inclined world of fashion. Determined to uphold its sustainable integrity by using ocean waste materials and synthetic shore-harvested resources, Botter isn’t only changing the fashion game but also the world.
The Polish designer is dedicated to creating an infinite lookbook made for date night rotations and after-party soirees, endlessly loved by the likes of Hailey Bieber and Dakota Johnson. Image Source: (CW) Magda Butrym, FashionFav, Design, and Culture by Ed
Using femininity as power, Magna Butrym has shaken the European fashion scene since 2014 and has finally reached global recognition– a well-deserved feat. It’s a label that revolves around its cool, modern, and polished approach to dressing up the modern woman, one who romanticizes the tediously beautiful process of dressing up. Butrym’s vision intended to bridge the gap between casual and evening wear resulting in the genius creation of sophisticated and elegant pieces that can be worn during a daytime stroll along Parc Monceau to a degustation at Pierre Gagnaire by night. Her refined take on feminine pieces–as seen in her repeated use of rose/floral embellishments throughout the seasons from her Pre-spring ‘23 scarlet lookbook (top left) to her most recent Pre-fall ‘23 effortless collection (bottom row)– is an unapologetic expression of what she believes in the most: that the powerful distinctness of womanhood comes from its core of femininity, “I believe fashion needs to be in touch with the ‘here and now’, and there is so much discussion about women and women’s power nowadays. To me that power means to be in touch with your femininity, because I see femininity as a place where the power comes from.”