It's not been an easy couple of years for the fashion industry. Fashion brands have had to pivot dramatically – what with red carpets cancelled, celebrity appearances seemingly a thing of the past, runway shows forbidden and an enormous decline in people actually buying clothes (as, frankly, there was nowhere to wear them) – and figure out new ways of drumming up attention and, in turn, custom.
Where some struggled, however, others triumphed. By tapping into social media, many breakout fashion brands were able to connect with a whole new fanbase - and eventual customer - by discussing thought-provoking topics, providing a new take on BTS context, and serving up aspirational light-relief to brighten our feeds (and our days).
So which labels triumphed? Global fashion shopping platform Lyst has done some digging, and discovered which up-and-coming fashion houses have been getting us all talking, searching and shopping in 2021…
The Breakout Fashion Brands Of 2021:
1. Nensi Dojaka
Nensi Dojaka is quickly becoming *the* go-to designer for ‘OUT out’ outfits. Loved by everyone from Bella Hadid and Jourdan Dunn to Sophie Turner and Emily Ratajkowski, the label's now-iconic black asymmetric mini dress was among The Lyst Index’s ten hottest women’s products in Q1 this year, and it gained on average over 7,000 searches per month for the remainder of the year.
2. Christopher John Rogers
Once a beloved name amongst industry insiders, Christopher John Rogers has quickly become a mainstream fashion powerhouse, thanks in no small part to his ever-growing list of celebrity fans such as Lady Gaga, Michaela Coel, Bella Hadid and Karlie Kloss. Having secured a collaboration with Target, a cameo in the Gossip Girl reboot caused searches for the brand to jump 73% in July.
With a strong social media presence, 'It' girl following, and Y2K-inspired TikTok-approved designs, I.AM.GIA is unsurprisingly a hit amongst the Gen-Z set. Best-known for its epic trouser offering, its Halo Pants with pelvic cutouts are clear front-runners - jumping 164% in searches since the start of the year.
4. Harris Reed
Known - and adored - for its gender fluid approach to fashion, Harris Reed's eponymous label first broke onto the scene thanks to a certain Harry Styles. Searches for the designer grew by 189% at the start of the year following the release of Styles’ Vogue December 2020 cover wearing one of Reed’s pieces. Over the next twelve months Reed went on to launch a debut fashion collection, win the GQ Breakthrough Designer of the Year Award, collaborate with jewelry brand Missoma and MAC Cosmetics, and pick up a ‘Leaders of Change’ gong at the Fashion Awards in London.
After Michaela Coel opted to wear a design by London College of Fashion graduate, Maximilian, for the BAFTAs red carpet in April, searches for the label increased 49% within the same month. Other celebrity clients include Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, and A$AP Rocky. Casual.
6. The Attico
With celebrity fans including Hailey Bieber and Dua Lipa it's no surprise The Attico is on the rise. Dua even wore the label's zebra-print bikini in her music video for ‘Love Again’, which resulted in a 224% jump in page views upon its release in June. The swimwear style was among the world’s hottest pieces in Q2 of 2021 and demand for the brand has increased 65% since the start of the year.
7. Christopher Esber
The Australian designer has been around for over a decade, but his party-ready pieces and midriff flossing accents are super Instagrammable and align perfectly with 2021's aesthetic mood. Searches for the brand grew 54% year-on year, while searches for the brand’s dresses alone jumped 49% compared to last year.
8. Story Mfg.
A UK-based label focussing on sustainability, slow fashion and genderless pieces, Story Mfg. dropped a cruelty-free sneaker in collaboration with Reebok at the start of the year which saw searches for the brand catapult 123% during the first quarter of the year alone.
9. Heaven by Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs launched his nostalgia-heavy fashion line ‘Heaven’ in September 2020 in a bid to attract the younger, TikTokking, Gen Z customer. So far, of course, its working, with the coveted designs and collaborations (with the likes of Dr. Martens, Cactus Plant Flea Market, Stray Rats and Nodaleto) attracting young, super chic celebrity fans Olivia Rodrigo, Bella Hadid, Beabadoobee and Dua Lipa.
Kim Kardashian certainly knows a thing or two about launching a successful business. Her 'shapewear solutions' line, SKIMS, dressed the US Olympics team’s female athletes during off-duty hours, which subsequently saw the label spike in search by 112% in less than 48 hours. Of course, then came the Fendi x SKIMS collab in late October, which ignited an increase of 233% searches for the brand in just a few hours.