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Twenty small Independents to have on your radar (And they are all female lead)

It's January- Who else's inclination to shop is zero, hasn't washed their hair all week and whose kids have started mentioning they've worn the same outfit for three days? (Maybe just me then) The point is that clothes buying is currently likely to be lower on the radar for most. Which makes now the now the perfect time to put a bit of thought into HOW we will shop in 2023. Theres no imminent frenzy of a season change, summer holidays or party season, and so a little more time to do some research. Last week I gave you some forward planning January sales investments. Today i'm looking at small brands and online stores that are absolutely worth investigating this month. Plus for those of us who like a story - and what I didn't realise when I started putting this list together- these twenty labels have ALL been founded by women, all following a personal passion, and many following a first career in the less ethical side of the fashion industry. Which surely makes it even more fabulous to spend with them rather than the beasts of fast fashion.

However it's sometimes hard to keep on top of what's out there, particularly as new lovely brands are constantly popping up. Here's my edit of some favourites and some new to me options that might just get us (me) out of our tracksuits and back on the wagon. Still searching for a worthwhile new years resolution? Check these out and try to replace a fast fashion choice with something from the below.

1. Studio B

Bethany previously worked as a buyer for Mulberry and Anya Hindmarch, and launched Studio B to share her love for independent Scandi-esque brands with an avant garde edge. 'Buying less and buying better' is her mantra.

2. 46 Stitch

Created by former fashion buyer Hannah Gilmore, 46Stitch was launched during the pandemic, creating lust worthy forever pieces from fabric remnants and Liberty prints, working with london based seasmstresses and artisan makers in India.

3. Eleven Loves

Relaunched in 2022 by Hayley Thomas who had spent years in high street fashion and wanted to do things differently. She curates an every day wearable, transeasonal collection in small runs and sustainable fabrics, plus the brand is active in supporting cancer charities.

4. The Wellworn

After twenty years designing in the fashion industry Wellworn founder Emma launched her own label, using only vintage deadstock and preloved fabrics, sourced from vintage markets and fairs, and made by herself and a small group of local craftswomen.

5. Tae Boutique

Ex Conde Nast editor Alex launched TAE boutique in 2017, curating a chic selection of lesser known European and British fashion and lifestyle labels to save on the legwork to find beautiful unique pieces.

6. Watson and White

Founded in 2018 by old friends Hannah and Kari who met at college while studying fashion and textiles, the pair curate a collection of affordable wearable effortless pieces mixed with excellent wearable hand picked vintage

7. Issy London

Founder Shani launched Issy London in 2021 after 20 years supplying some of the high streets biggest names, producing a collection of wear forever luxe faux fur and shearling which is on its way to being 100% sustainable.

8. The Slow Love

Holly started out selling vintage knits as The Preloved Edit, but has branched out to create small batch ethical hand knitted and jacquard knitwear with punchy insta friendly motifs, keeping the business in the family with her sister as designer.

9. Scamp & Dude

Founder Jo Tutchener Sharp launched 'purpose driven' Scamp & Dude as a brand for children after being hospitalised during life saving brain surgery. She has since branched out to womenswear, consistently donating to cancer related charities.

10. S.A.R.K london

Former stylist Lauren Grant founded Sark as a homage to the shirt, with a hint of debauchery, and a sense of humour. Think luxe marlboro packet silk blouses, 'nightly dose' gold pill buttons, and 'cheeky' roman statue

11.Tallulah & Hope

A collab between brand consultant Lisa Ispani and stylist and costume designer Zoe Stevensen. the pair design collections inspired by art and storytelling, produced in a family run factory in Mumbai, and recently set up a workspace in Jaipur to work directly with local artists.

12. IVY The Brand

After twelve years working as a clothing buyer, and the birth of her daughter, Sally decided to turn her hand to a classic staple, with a collection of premium breton and classic tees- designed in the UK and ethically and sustainably produced in Portugal.

13. Aspiga

Lucy Macnamara founded Aspiga after a holiday in Kenya, to help stimulate the economies of the artisans she discovered there, and has expanded to ethical fashion produced in family run workshops in Kenya and India, and a store on the Kings Road.

14. Black and Beech

Fashion lecturier Stacey Grant Canham founded Black and Beech in 2016 as a teething jewellering brand but since 2020 has added a slow fashion line with the aim of 'doing fashion differently' and supporting women's issues and charities, from feminism to abortion.

15. Busby & Fox

Ex florist Emma Vowles designs and curates an ethical seasonless collection with its roots in the Devon countryside and a slow, ethical approach to fashion. Think knitwear in all colours, mix and match separates and excellent accessories.

16. Maison M

Concept store Maison M was created by two friends with a shared passion for slow style, designing and sourcing with artisans both in the uk and worldwide. The collection includes small drops of knitwear created in Nepal, one off vintage pieces, and reimagined quilted bags.

17. O Pioneers

The London based brand was founded by actor and jewellery designer Clara Francis and pr Tania Hindmarch after years of friends asking after their home made dresses. Now they work with local craftspeople and female suppliers, producing limited edition dresses and knits with end of stock fabric, drawing from old sewing patterns and nostalgia.

18. Retold Vintage

Following a career in fast fashion Clare Lewis made the move into vintage, creating Retold Vintage, a second hand site with a modern aesthetic, a mix of quality and luxe brands, and handpicked weekly drops. It also partners with The Nines for monthly drops of vintage jewellery

19. Esska Shoes

Esska's founder and designer Souraya started as an architect but retrained as a footwear designer with an aim to make feminine comfortable shoes. She designs in london with the shoes produced in a small artisan factory in Portugal, and her first store opened in 2019.

20. By Elleven

Joanne and Rachel are fashion stylists and consultants with over 30 years industry experience, . They founded By Elleven during lockdown, to create affordable unisex wardrobe essentials, and curated vintage with the aim of staying in your wardrobe forever.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoy please subscribe to my weekly blog, delivered each Sunday morning to your inbox. Plus add any other great independents you know


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