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Style Advice

The independent brands our stylists think you should know this season

The independent brands our stylists think you should know this season

If the novelty of sweatpants is fast wearing off, you might be considering the new year as a good excuse to take on a new look. But if 2020’s taught us anything it’s that trends are out, and investments in good-quality clothing that you really love is in. 

Luckily, our stylists have spent their lockdowns scouting the fashion landscape for exciting new brands to supplement their at-home wardrobes, and they think you should know about them too. The year wasn’t easy on anybody, but small independent brands took a harder hit than most, but you’d never know it with the level of quality and style they’re offering. And we think you’ll agree that they’re behind some of the best styles for 2021.

Far Afield

Photographed: Far Afield Station Jacket ($108)

Why we love them

“I love Far Afield because it has a vintage vibe, but is always really wearable,” says stylist Toby Standing. The brand is great for basics like rugby shirts and crew neck sweaters, but they throw in some funkier styles like interesting knits and cardigans too, making them a great choice for anyone looking to test the waters of a more interesting wardrobe. Far Afield collections toe the line of combining everyday pieces with stand-out styles so you can see just how easily they’ll fit in with your current collection.

What to expect

The brand claims to take inspiration from ‘global travel,’ which comes through in its collection of patterns, colour, and textures. From rainy British pastures to the pastel sunsets of Miami, you’re unlikely to find a range as eclectic and thoughtful as Far Afield’s. 

“You can find everything from dreamy ‘80s shirts to staples like chore jackets, and none of it feels out of place,” Toby says. “What’s more, most of their items are under £100/$150 which is rare and impressive for an independent brand that prioritises sustainability.”

What to look for

“I love Far Afield’s popover shirts, and their designers always work with such great colour palettes,” Toby says. “They’re also great at creating the most tasteful versions of adventurous patterns.” In fact when it comes to pattern, Far Afield appears to have no fear. The brand even nails patterned knitwear, often pulling off the best Fair Isle jumpers and vintage-inspired knits that you might otherwise find in a thrift store.

Want to learn more? Read our interview with one of the co-founders of Far Afield.

Folk

Photographed: Folk Boxy Patrice Crew ($224)

Why we love them

Folk is a favourite of mine for classic styles transformed into unique statement pieces,” says stylist Millie Rich. “Their designs always feel distinguishable from other brands, whether it’s a unique print, interesting texture, or smaller detail.”

What to expect

If you love knitwear, Folk is one of the most reliable brands out there season after season. “The colour palette is always versatile without being bland, and I can trust that anything I buy from Folk is likely to stay in my wardrobe for years to come,” Millie says.

What to look for

You’ll find Folk’s pieces in everything from muted neutrals to bold oranges and greens, like this Signal Jacket, which is a perfect layer for winter. Folk also dips its proverbial toe into more trend-led designs like this funnel fleece jacket, but if it’s classic cosy knits you’re after, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Grenson

Photographed: Grenson Brady ($395), Grenson Peter ($406), Grenson Sneaker 22 Men's ($273)

Why we love them

Grenson boots are a true investment,” says stylist Izzy Harvey. “Most come with a Goodyear welted sole, which is a recognised stamp of quality that will last you for years.” Grenson shoes are known for their timeless style and durability, but they’re also designed for easy repair if you do manage to wear them out – which might not be so hard as you’ll be finding excuses to wear them every day.

What to expect

Some of the best quality boots around. Not only does Grenson specialise in leather, it also has a full range of vegan boots. It also offers its own repair service for all Grenson shoes encouraging buyers to mend rather than replace, so you know you’re making an investment for life.

What to look for

If it’s leather boots you’re after, Grenson may already be one of the first brands you turn to. But don’t sleep on their other styles either. From smart loafers to laid-back sneakers, they’re true leaders in the world of footwear.

M.C.Overalls

Why we love them

“The first thing that pleasantly surprised me about M.C.Overalls was the price point,” says stylist Freddie Kemp. “It’s so reasonable for the quality of their designs.” The brand has a utilitarian background in – yep – overalls, but brings a fun feel to workwear style without skimping on high quality production.

What to expect

M.C.Overalls is self-described as a purveyor of ‘durable uniforms for contemporary workers’ and their ranges come in interesting colours, shapes, and fabrics. “Where other workwear brands rely heavily on heritage, M.C.Overalls leads the way for modern interpretations,” Freddie says.

What to look for

“A great example of M.C.Overalls’ experiments with traditional shapes is this padded mac,” Freddie says. It’s also a perfect choice for anyone looking to introduce more pattern into their winter wardrobe, as it stands out but will still be easy to pair with almost any plain clothing. 

“For those who love the traditional workwear trend, these boxy flannel shirts are a great take on the original style, and the half-placket means it will hold its shape well,” Freddie says.

Read more about the brand and its history here.

Oliver Spencer

Why we love them

Oliver Spencer makes great-quality clothes from carefully sourced materials,” says stylist Artemis Crowley. “It’s a brand you can rely on for timeless pieces that are made well.” Sustainability is a big and transparent part of the production process, and you’ll even receive your orders in eco-friendly packaging.

What to expect

Oliver Spencer began as a tailor, and that history is clear in his timeless and carefully designed collections. If you like luxurious fabrics, classic styles that fit easily into your existing wardrobe, and ethical production methods, this is the brand for you.

What to look for

“I can’t resist a good piece of knitwear and this rollneck is a great example,” Artemis says. “Rollnecks really are the cosiest shape, and this one even has thumb-holes – a winner in my opinion.”

For a while we’ve been getting used to either being at home or outside without much in between. So investing pieces that work as a useful layer for both indoors and out, like this fleece gilet, means you know you’ll definitely make the most of it. But when you’re working or relaxing from home, is there anything better than a luxurious robe? “It’s easy to layer with your daytime clothes, but would also work just as well with your pyjamas,” Artemis says.

Read our interview with Oliver to learn about some of his favourite pieces of the season.


Words: Ella White
Styling: Artemis Crowley, Izzy Harvey, Millie Rich, Toby Standing, Freddie Kemp