Ask a friend where they got a piece of clothing from and eight times out of 10, it'll be Zara. Whether it's viral dresses, on-trend tailoring, '90s jeans or celebrity collaborations, there always seems to be something 'of-the-moment' happening at that particular high street hotspot. If, however, you're looking for something that's still affordable but a little off the beaten track when it comes to brands, we've got just the thing for you. Actually we've got seven, each an independent label that makes the kind of pieces that are anything but throwaway.
Because shopping less often, and only buying things that will be treasured for years to come, is the first step in having a more mindful attitude to your wardrobe. And remember, investment pieces don't have to cost the earth. It's just that in order not to harm it more than necessary, you have to cherish and repair everything you own (and if you're not willing to go the distance, don't buy in the first place).
For a more conscious payday treat, albeit one that won't take the whole cheque, we recommend deep-diving into independent brands such as House of Sunny, Aligne, Omnes and Sleeper, all of which deliver on the kind of standout pieces that you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
SHOP: Fashion Labels Zara Addicts Will Love
SHOP: The Affordable Brands That Zara Addicts Will Love
Launching during a pandemic is challenging enough, but standing out in a crowded market of affordably-priced brands makes this line built on clever interpretations of wardrobe classics a champion. No doubt the knit vests, quilted coats and wear-forever dresses will be top of your autumn wish lists.Great for: those who like their styling staples with a twist.
Since gaining cult status amongst the Instagram elite, House of Sunny has nailed the fun-but-sexy brief. Its popularity has been only heightened through their limited runs of collections, and pre-order system, making their anti-fast fashion case. The infamous Hockney dress is adored by influencers of all ages, including Grece Ghanem and Kendall Jenner, and each drop very quickly sells out. Vogue referred to getting one's hands on the Hockney dress like being a member of a cult.For the latest collection, On The Road-Again, we're treated to a long-sleeve version of the Hockney, as well as towelling romper suits in parma-violet shades of lilac and the HOS take on a retro tracksuit. Dreamy. Great for: the TikTok crowd.
Maximalists will already be well- acquainted with Sister Jane, the London-based label combining vintage flair with limited-edition runs to create clothes that will be future collectibles (just ask Selena Gomez). Its party dresses are superlative and, for winter, our eye is on the Cosmic Dust minidress and the Solar Sequin maxi – both guaranteed to mean all eyes are on you. Great for: dress enthusiasts with a strong sense of nostalgia.
The speed-dial to Scandi style, Gestuz isn't new on the block (launching back in 2008) but it's a cool-girl favourite. Less in your face than Ganni's punchy offerings, the Danish brand concentrates on versatile separates with an edge. Even better: the collections – from oversized suits to elevated knits – are made up of 65% sustainable materials.Great for: Skandi style loyalists.
If you see a woman wearing a pair of feathered pyjamas – on the street – then they're probably from Sleeper, the Ukrainian brand responsible for the nightwear as daywear movement. As well as doing a brisk trade in slippers and what it calls 'athpleasure', its new-season offering includes cardigans with detachable feather cuffs, shearling-lined clogs and spangled co-ords with fancy flares. Eva Chen, Joan Smalls and Lena Dunham are fans. Great for: those looking to dial up the 'out out' glam and hold on to comfort.
The brand to head to for good vibes and vigour. Run by couple Amy and Sanjeev Kumar, this independent- and woman-owned Manchester label gives good retro-inspired Scandi dresses and separates in a palette of sherbet pastels and triple XL collars. Its latest collection Retro Revival quenches our thirst for '70s patterns in apple green and candyfloss pink. Highlights include an all-over floral flared two-piece and flower-print quilted jacket that any self- respecting fan of housecoats would be proud to wear.Great for: romantic, eternal optimist types who want to wear a bit of summer, all year long.
Quietly growing their loyal fanbase, this eco-conscious brand develops designs from their London studio, manufacturing pieces that use fabric producers approved by environmental groups. Head to Omnes for silky slips, in colour of the season 'Ultra Violet', as well as easy to wear everyday pieces in checks, florals and prints-a-plenty. Our top picks include a nifty little gingham two piece made from biodegradable cotton. Our new workwear uniform.Great for: fashion lovers wary of big global brands and greenwashing.