Welcome to the new year, everyone! We’ve finally escaped the trials and tribulations of the 2010s and made it (mostly) safely to the screaming 20s. Last century’s iteration of this decade brought with it monumental cultural shifts, underscored – and often driven by – fashion. Flapper dresses, feathers, sequins, diamonds galore – style, especially for women, became much more liberated, free of the constraints placed upon women by traditional ideas of modesty and femininity. This decade seems to already be following a similarly daring path – this time not just for women.
Fashion is becoming more androgynous, allowing for the fluidity of gender to be normalised through clothing. “Stripper fashion” is having a moment, highlighting the campy glamour and the idea of the female body as art. Sustainability is becoming ever more pressing in the fashion community, with platforms like Depop and Poshmark making waves and forcing the bigger houses to invest in eco-friendly materials and production processes. To be sure, the next decade will not just shake our ideas of couture, but completely dismantle them, and I, for one, am watching it unfold with bated breath. This, in part, means observing some labels sputter out and witnessing others blossom in their places. It’s the circle of life. So, to celebrate this, I’ve chosen to compile a list of those brands that I think will make waves in the twenties – they’ve already begun to reshape my fashion paradigm, and I think they will yours as well.
Founded by Kerby Jean-Raymond in 2013, New York-based brand Pyer Moss has gained acclaim by reinterpreting staples of American culture (cowboys and the Wild West, the nuclear family and backyard barbecues, rock n’ roll, church) through the African-American perspective. “American, Also,” as this series has been named, has introduced a new question to designers and consumers alike: who has ownership over the culture that has shaped what we wear? Who is represented in what we consider to be quintessentially American? And while this is primarily an American endeavour, it rings true across the globe; with many nations cracking down on migration policy and often-xenophobic nationalism on the rise, we must begin to reexamine the roots of our society and the cultural idols we worship. Jean-Raymond is helping us to do this.
A brand with less of a social justice cause, but just as much star quality, is Peter Do: a newer launch (Mr. Do has yet to even put on a runway show) coming from a young designer moulded by such powerful hands as Phoebe Philo and Derek Lam. Do’s strong, well-tailored and no-nonsense looks speak to fans of Old Céline and The Row, and yet still add a modern twist to the classically stunning silhouettes. The styles the label seems most partial to – suiting, denim, leggings – have been altered to become younger, sleeker, more of-the-moment without slipping into dated-ness. Do describes this as designing “with problem-solving in mind. […] If I can improve something so more women can wear it, then why not?”
Oftentimes a brand will explode with the popularity of a single item (think: Gabriela Hearst’s 2018 ‘It bag,’ Herve Leger’s early-2010s bandage dresses, etc.). Such is the case with Copenhagen-based, female-run brand Saks Potts. Their watercolour-hued, perfectly fluffy puffer coat dominated our feeds this winter, and from there, the label’s noughties-nostalgic, otherworldly-glamorous style blew up. While most of their collections revolve around outerwear (they are a Scandinavian brand, after all), other staples, like pretty pastel dresses and figure-skater-chic matching sets, have played a strong part in the nineties and early-2000s revival that has taken place recently. Perhaps in the next decade, they’ll put their hazy, silken, and glitter-friendly spin on the 2010s.
The polar opposite of my previous pick, celebrity favourite Wardrobe.NYC has garnered popularity because of its experimental concept for well-made, luxury basics. In their own words, founders Christine Centenera and Josh Goot describe the label as representing “practical urban minimalism”. Each drop is not a collection, but a “wardrobe,” pre-styled and on-trend, completely ready-to-wear and ready-to-buy. The brand aims to achieve timelessness, distilling even the most basic items to their purest form. The items are, of course, only produced in small quantities, but the direct-to-consumer pricing model makes them more accessible than other quality-focused luxury brands. Wardrobe.NYC’s capsules will complete your closet without sacrificing the “cool” factor.
Another newcomer out of Copenhagen and spotlighted in 2017 by LVMH, Cecilie Bahnsen presents a reevaluated idea of femininity – girlish yet minimalist, well-tailored but frilly and sweet – this label allows women to be what they are: complex and multi-faceted. The designer’s mission was to create a quasi uniform for adults, embracing both the ethereal qualities of childhood memories and the brazen sexuality of adulthood. You’ll notice faint notes of the boldness and whimsy Ms. Bahnsen learned at John Galliano (where she began as an intern in 2008), as well as a girlish simplicity that is completely her own. This brand is helping us to understand anew what ‘femininity’ truly is, and how we can repurpose old ideals for our modern wardrobes.
Alejandra Alonso Rojas
To cap this list, I’ve selected a designer more seasoned than the rest, one whose designs are firmly grounded in their surroundings, rather than taking on extreme conceptuality or fever-dream ethereality. This is Alejandra Alonso Rojas, a Spanish designer whose brand evolved from a family tradition passed down through four generations. The clothes are made unique by their astonishing materiality and tailoring – hand-knit suits and pleated silk pants are par for the course here. The word that springs to mind when viewing these collections is ‘artisanal,’ taking cues from Rojas’ heritage, old-world artistry, and the soft glamour of pioneering women. These garments represent both incredible hard work and effortless style, both qualities ascribed to the generation currently making their way in the world.
Of course, there are countless other brands and designers not featured on this list who will play, or are perhaps already playing, pivotal roles in the style evolution of the next decade. But I believe this list encompasses many of the forces driving the fashion of the new twenties, and the questions which these brands pose, the concepts they hope to reimagine, the identities they’re helping to shape are representative of what the coming years will bring to the fashion world: introspection, exploration, and, most of all, liberation.