Earlier this week I published my annual holiday gift guides, and this year I focused heavily on finding products that you wouldn’t see on every other influencer’s guides. The truth is, most gift guides floating around this time of year are limited to products that an influencer can link through an affiliate network, often Reward Style (LIKEtoKNOW.it), and thus make a small commission if someone purchases an item from their guide. Which means, if a particular brand is not part of an affiliate network, then they are often overlooked when it comes to influencers deciding which products to suggest to their followers. There’s nothing wrong with this, I’ve done it myself for several years, but it does lead to a bit of monotony when it comes to what gift ideas are available on social media. If I see the exact same products linked by ten different bloggers, it’s not exactly helping me come up with unique gift ideas for everyone on my list.
Even though I already included less-commonly shared products on my guides, I wanted to take it a step further and highlight some smaller, independent labels that I think should be on your radar. This year, I’ve found myself liking/saving/purchasing/swooning-over more items from independent labels than any other brand. I discovered every single one of the below brands on Instagram after an influencer tagged one of their pieces in a photo. I’ve come to know and love every single one of them, and have slowly but surely been adding them to my closet.
All of the brands featured below are female-founded, and their collections are not sold in any stores besides their own. A few of them sell select items via online retailers such as Net-A-Porter. None of the below links are affiliate links – i.e. I will not receive any commission if you click one of the links and make a purchase.
Photos via @orseund_iris Instagram
It seemed fitting to start with Orseund Iris since I’m wearing their now-iconic knit corset in the cover photo of this post. OI is a New York-based, seasonless, direct-to-consumer brand, with the exception of a few styles carried by Net-A-Porter. Founder Lana Johnson was just 24 years old when she started the brand and was inspired by NYC’s it-girls. Which makes sense because the brand rose to fame on social media after being spotted on the likes of Emily Ratajkowski and other celebs. Their pieces have a feminist vibe, which I love, plus they’re committed to environmentally sustainable practices such as reducing their use of synthetic materials in favor of recycled, natural fibers.
Photos via @simonett Instagram
Simonett is a Miami-based women’s ready-to-wear label named after its founder, Simonett Pereira. They design their clothes to be affordable, timeless, and environmentally conscious. They limit their production to no more than 100 cuts of any particular style and re-use their leftover materials to ensure they do not end up in landfills as waste. The brand is carried by a handful of international stockists, but the only place to buy their pieces in the U.S. is from their website or Miami store. You’ve probably seen their famous Nanu Top on your Instagram feed, the winter-version of which is in stock now.
Photos via @sourceunknown.store Instagram
Founded in March 2020 (yep, you read that correctly), Source Unknown instantly established a cult following with their minimal, affordable pieces. They carry their own label as well as other brands, but they don’t denote which label an item falls under – hence the name. They drop limited stocks of styles every week, many of which sell out the first day.
Photos via @thefrankieshop Instagram
You’ve probably heard of The Frankie Shop, and if you haven’t, you’ve probably seen their designs and just not known where they were from. If you don’t recognize their perfectly oversized blazers and trousers, you’ll certainly recall the padded-shoulder muscle tee trend that took Instagram by storm this year. Yep, that was them. Founded in NYC, The Frankie Shop looks to create “your everyday, effortless wardrobe with the occasional twist for flair”.
Photos via @zenapresley Instagram
At the heart of Zena Presley’s brand identity is a desire to create a new kind of women’s ready-to-wear, one that is modern, artistic, and colorful. Syrian-born designer Zena launched her namesake brand in 2015 and has worked to create pieces that are versatile enough to be styled in many different ways and worn on many occasions. She focuses on sustainable practices and has a slow and ethical approach to fashion.
I hope this post inspires you to shop outside the box this holiday season and beyond!
As always, thank you for reading and sharing! XOXO