There’s never an easy time to build a new fashion label. But these rising brands made big moves—like making their runway debuts or launching a new womenswear category—in the midst of a global pandemic. Fashion in 2022 isn’t about being on trend so much as it is about having a deeply original sense of personal style. And so, these designers go their own way, offering unique looks that suit every individual style personality.
Love fresh takes on tailoring? Check out Sukeina’s origami folds, Interior’s asymmetrical cuts, Puppets and Puppets’ fruit prints, or Saint Sintra’s trompe l’oeil bows. Handcraft and one-of-kind upcycled pieces more your thing? Diotima does its crochet work with artisan partners in Jamaica, while Sindiso Khumalo teams weaving, printing, and embroidery workshops in South Africa and Burkina Faso. Meanwhile, Conner Ives, Jawara Alleyne, and Dauphinette turn deadstock fabric into treasure. Searching for the perfect unconventional LBD? Look no further than the daring cutouts and delicate strap details at Maximilian and Nensi Dojaka. Whoever you are—and whoever you imagine yourself to be in fall 2022—shop 15 of the labels we can’t get enough of right now below.
New York-based Who Decides War designers Everard Best and Téla D’Amore take a couture like approach to good old American blue jeans, hand-treating denim with embroidery, appliqués, dye, bleach, shredding, and quilting to achieve all sorts of imaginative results. No one can inject fantasy into denim fabric like they can. A bucket heat featuring a cut-out accent and distressed detailing is a great way to enter their denim dream world.
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A bucket heat featuring a cut-out accent and distressed detailing is a great way to enter their denim dream world.
Sukeina means “bright light” in Wolof and is the name of designer Omar Salam’s late mother. Salam, who was born in France to parents from Senegal and Mauritania, and was later adopted by an American woman, draws inspiration from his personal history for his signature paneled dresses and separates made in New York using intricate West African braiding techniques. “It sounds a bit cliché, but we are more connected than we know,” he told BAZAAR earlier this year. “The idea comes from that possibility.” For fall, he’s also experimenting with a new origami tailoring technique.
Salam’s mixed-media neoprene mini jacket dress is a two-for-one: as equally great with a pair of slim trousers for a daytime look or solo for a holiday party.
Just two years out of Central Saint Martins, London-based American designer Conner Ives has a devoted following for his reclaimed patchwork T-shirt dresses (Rihanna is a fan). He frequently draws inspiration from American female archetypes in his collections, which for fall ranged from Jackie Kennedy to Kamala Harris. Eco-responsibility is paramount for the young creative, who designs almost exclusively with deadstock fabric and recycled vintage clothing and does some of the chicest laser-printed eco denim. His printed silk-blend maxi skirt is artfully pieced together from multiple scarves.
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This printed silk-blend maxi skirt is artfully pieced together from multiple scarves.
An architect and textile designer by training, Capetown-based Sindiso Khumalo believes in the power of handcraft. A 2020 co-winner of the LVMH Prize, she partners with NGOs and small workshops in South Africa and Burkina Faso on woven, crocheted, hand-printed, and embroidered looks, and is excited to expand her retail accounts globally. “There are so many different artisans on our continent, and I’m really just here, as a designer, to try to highlight the work that they do,” she told BAZAAR earlier this year. “An order from Net-a-Porter can literally transform revenue in a community.” Her Zaza floral-print mini skirt is made with organic cotton and beautifully hand quilted for structure.
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Her Zaza floral-print mini skirt is made with organic cotton and beautifully hand quilted for structure.
The spirit of punk and DIY is alive and well for the Jamaica-born, Cayman Island-raised, London-based designer Jawara Alleyne, cofounder of Nii Agency with photographer Campbell Addy. His fall runway debut offered a confident—and eco-conscious—approach to showing skin via safety-pinned bits of deadstock fabric that formed spiral shapes as they twisted around the body. His reworked cotton T-Shirt with sunray cutwork are a unique way to show skin.
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A reworked cotton T-shirt with sunray cutwork is a unique way to show skin.
British designer and movement director Saul Nash has had quite an eventful run: In May, just a week after winning the International Woolmark Prize, he picked up the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Nash’s focus is hybridizing track suits and tailoring—think a suit jacket with zip-off sleeves. Nash likes to show how clothes move IRL, not just stomping up and down a runway, so he always casts dancers for his shows. “When I’m designing, I’m thinking about what the day-to-day life of the end wearer might be and whether my clothes inhibit movement or enable freedom,” he told BAZAAR earlier this year.
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These high-shine track pants are ready to move however you do.
You can own a piece from the Metropolitan Museum of Art thanks to Dauphinette designer Olivia Cheng, who is taking custom orders for her floral chain-mail gown that was shown the Costume Institute exhibition “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” The dress is constructed from more than 600 resin preserved flowers, and, like all her seasonless designs, is made with deadstock fabric and other upcycled materials, wearing its eco bona fides proudly. If you’re not ready to go full Joan of Arc, Nordstrom has a crop top version.
If you’re not ready to go full Joan of Arc, Nordstrom has a crop top version of its floral chain mail.
Priya Ahluwalia is part of a new wave of female designers who are changing menswear as we know it. A 2020 LVMH Prize co-winner and recipient of the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, the London-based creative incorporates elements of her Nigerian and Indian heritage into her designs through beading, embroidery, and bright colors. So many women were shopping her menswear offering that last year, Ahluwalia launched a capsule with Ganni, and now she’s incorporating womenswear looks into her own line. They include laser-printed eco denim and ruched dresses made with recycled fibers.
This diamond-print mini dress is a fun way to mix up your fall denim rotation.
Artist-turned-designer Carly Mark doesn’t come from a conventional fashion school background, and her label, which is named for her Chihuahua-terrier rescue, Puppet, is all the better for it. As she told BAZAAR earlier this year, “I can’t do anything wrong because I don’t know if I’m doing anything right.”
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Mark’s signature hoop skirts are true showstoppers, but if you’re not ready to go full Renaissance queen, Bergdorf Goodman carries plenty of Puppets and Puppets separates that offer just the right amount of quirky detail, like a fruit-print blazer or lace logo pants.
Named for an ancient Greek priestess who tutored Socrates, Diotima centers female artisans. “I’ve been building relationships with these incredible people who have important knowledge, and I wanted there to be an opportunity for more of a collaborative element,” Diotima designer Rachel Scott told Harper’s BAZAAR. Scott partners with artisans in her native Jamaica on her label’s signature web tops and other hand-crocheted pieces, often styling them with sleek tailored separates.
Try wearing a web top over a turtleneck or bodysuit to add texture to a winter look.
Menswear-inspired tailoring and corsetry meet in the pastel, bow-festooned dream world of Saint Sintra. Thom Browne alum Sintra Martins knows how to cut a mean double-breasted blazer—but she doesn’t see any reason it shouldn’t be paired with girly pieces like bloomers or a mini crini. She made her New York Fashion Week debut last fall and already counts Gen Z tastemakers like Olivia Rodrigo and Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney as fans.
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Try styling one of her signature Tie-up blouses with menswear-inspired trousers, as shown on the runway.
Siying Qu and Haoran Li, the New York- and Shanghai-based duo behind Private Policy put the limitless possibilities of gender front and center on the runway at New York Fashion Week. COVID travel restrictions may have kept the two Parsons grads on separate continents for the last two years, but they’re continuing to champion the beauty of fluidity, offering hybrid garments (harness tank tops, bikinis with sleeves) for models of all gender identities.
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Their straight-leg cargo with multiple slit, patch, and welt pockets nod to limitless possibilities.
Incoming Salvatore Ferragamo creative Maximilian Davis is going straight from the London design incubator Fashion East to the head of the major Italian house. He’s a dab hand at tailoring, but he also has gift for more fluid pieces that celebrate the female form, like a twisted jersey bodysuit or cutout halter top slit almost to the navel. The Caribbean tradition of Carnival and holidays spent visiting family in Trinidad are frequent sources of inspiration.
The label’s fall fringe dress has your holiday dressing needs sorted.
Rihanna, Zendaya, and Bella Hadid are all fans of Nensi Dojaka’s LBDs and going-out tops with daring cutouts and delicate strap details that look like feats of structural engineering. The London-based Albanian designer and 2021 LVMH Prize co-winner studied lingerie design before pursuing an MA in womenswear at Central Saint Martins, and she brings that unique perspective to her Y2K fixation. “Despite the skin-baring, there is always something light and feminine about the pieces that softens everything and almost steers away the male gaze,” she told Harper’s BAZAAR. Her cutout tulle-trimmed velvet mini dress is your new favorite LBD.
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Nensi Dojaka’s cutout tulle-trimmed velvet mini dress is your new favorite LBD.
Bode and Trademark alums Jack Miner and Lily Miesmer are creating a singular brand of nouveau Americana with their label, Interior, which blends artisanal craft with modern sportswear silhouettes. Come for the chic cashmere cardigans and wide-leg trousers that are as cozy as sweatpants, and stay for the unexpected detail like trompe l’oeil pocket embroideries.
Try this jacket for a figure-flattering take on boxy suiting.