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9 Brands We Discovered (and Loved) in 2018

By T: The New York Times Style Magazine

 
Nastassia Brückin/ Vladimir Kaminetsky
 

Bianca Saunders

Sharmaarke Adan
 

A graduate of the Royal College of Art and the recipient of the British Fashion Council’s NewGen sponsorship, Bianca Saunders launched her namesake collection of men’s wear last spring. Her pieces, which include everything from flared high-waisted pants and slinky jersey tops, reference her British-Jamaican heritage and explore black male identity. As the designer says, her line “is about creating something for the guy who sits somewhere in between on the spectrum of masculinity and femininity.”

Christopher John Rogers

Lucky Llanes
 

Christopher John Rogers only presented his first official collection last September, but the Brooklyn-based designer’s bold, color-forward pieces have already been worn by Cardi B and SZA. Rogers acknowledges that working with big-name stars has given his brand visibility, but he is in no rush to dress anyone else unless it is the right fit. “I’d like to see my clothes on people who naturally gravitate toward the pieces and the sincerity of the design,” Rogers says of his conceptual pieces in bright colors. “I want them to identify with the joy and thoughtfulness that can come with dressing up.”

Commission

Photographs by Huy Luong. Styled by Jason RiderLeft: a tailored jacket, lilac banker shirt and gold-plated belt-buckle earring. Right: a gauzy floral dress.
Left: a tailored jacket, lilac banker shirt and gold-plated belt-buckle earring. Right: a gauzy floral dress.

Jin Kay, Dylan Cao and Huy Luong, the designers behind Commission, all have distinct childhood memories of their mothers on their way to work. Kay, who grew up in 1990s South Korea, can still see the silk blouses and pencil skirts his mother, a doctor, would wear under her lab coat. Cao and Luong spent their early years in Vietnam, where it was common to see women’s skirts hiked up during their daily commute on motorbikes. Over a decade later, these images inspired the trio to launch their own line of women’s wear out of a small Manhattan studio. “It’s a tongue-in-cheek reinvention of our parents’ clothes, which were themselves interpretations of Western style codes, so it’s all full circle,” says Cao. The line consists of ’80s-leaning tailored separates set apart by subtle detailing.

 D’heygere

Arnaud LajeuniePieces from Stephanie D’heygere’s fall 2018 collection.
Pieces from Stephanie D’heygere’s fall 2018 collection.

The jewellery designer Stephanie D’heygere of the Paris-based accessories line D’heygere makes small leather goods with a subversive bent. There are pairs of gloves that can moonlight as chokers. And one fanny pack could easily be mistaken for wrapped-around sweater sleeves. “I really like ordinary objects and transforming them into luxurious accessories,” she says. Among her most distinctive: her canister hoops, oversize earrings with a circular opening at the bottom that can hold small items like flowers — or cigarettes, as the brand’s Instagram page demonstrates. “Accessories are meant to accessorise your outfit,” she says. “But now with D’heygere, you can actually accessorise your accessories.”

Emme Parsons

Nastassia BrückinEmme Parsons's patent slides evoke childhood, not blisters.
Emme Parsons's patent slides evoke childhood, not blisters.

“I had seen her sandals on a handful of discerning young women over the summer and through some sleuthing learned to my surprise that no, the tasteful shoes they were wearing weren’t from Céline or Manolo,” writes T’s Thessaly La Force. They were the work of Emme Parsons, who launched her namesake brand last year. Even though her selection is still fairly small (the original collection featured just three styles in three colours), the fall collection had several appealing options, including a new flat thong sandal, a discreet flat rounded-toe mule and a tasteful block-heel sandal, all in multiple colours.

Ernest W. Baker

Vladimir Kaminetsky
 

While other young brands may draw their inspiration from city streets or club scenes, Ernest W. Baker, a new men’s wear label, takes its name — and some aesthetic guidance — from an unlikely place: the designer Reid Baker’s 91-year-old grandfather. Reid and his co-designer, Inês Amorim, create clever riffs on the kind of classic American suiting found in his wardrobe. The brand is an amalgamation of western American influences and old-world European style, drawn from the founders’ heritage: Baker grew up in Utah and Amorim in a small town outside of Porto, Portugal. The result is off-kilter tailoring that feels simultaneously nostalgic and contemporary. The designers reinterpret traditional men’s wear fabrics — tweed, velvet and cotton shirting — with surprising, often cropped, silhouettes.

Asai

Jamie StokerA model wears an Americana kimono from the Asai spring 2019 collection.
A model wears an Americana kimono from the Asai spring 2019 collection.

The British-Vietnamese designer A Sai Ta studied women’s wear design at Central Saint Martins and finessed his skills while interning at the Row. Later, he helped develop fabrics for Kanye West’s Yeezy line after being picked by West during the rapper’s 2015 visit to Saint Martins. He launched his own label, Asai, in 2017. While Ta describes his aesthetic as “urban, ’90s and a bit grunge,” it is his use of Asian iconography — Vietnamese dragon motifs, lotus flowers and chinoiserie prints — that forms the connecting thread between his various collections. “The end goal is to show the similarities between cultures, not highlight our differences,” says Ta.

No Sesso

Dicko Chan
 

Challenging traditional ideas of dress — who wears a thing and how it’s worn — is central to both the design and politics of No Sesso (“no sex/gender” in Italian), which has developed something of a cult following in Los Angeles and attracted the attention of boundary-pushing musicians like Kelela, Erykah Badu and Kelsey Lu. Tied, stitched, knotted or delicately embroidered, No Sesso’s unisex pieces seem to be constantly shifting and evolving. Seams undulate like lines of music and burst open, colours clash and loose, irregular knits transition into sleek, sharply tailored lamé or billowing nylon. Even geometric patterns, constructed from pieces of vintage fabric, vibrate with life. Denim waistbands are layered into a fitted sheath dress, and white painter’s coveralls become a delicate silk jumpsuit.

Namacheko

Courtesy of NamachekoA look from Namacheko’s fall 2018 collection.
A look from Namacheko’s fall 2018 collection.

The rising men’s wear line Namacheko, designed by the siblings Dilan and Lezan Lurr, makes deceptively simple clothes that are, in fact, loaded with personal meaning. For example: A moss-green mohair peacoat, from the fall 2018 collection, looks classic apart from its sculptural toggles. The biomorphic shape of the fastenings was inspired by the English sculptor Barbara Hepworth — a tribute to the designers’ mother, who is, as Hepworth’s was, a math teacher. The Lurrs are also inspired by their dual Swedish-Kurdish nationality: Their first collection was titled Serdem Nivar, which means “the future generation” in Kurdish. The designers used symbols and fabrics associated with Iraqi women’s bridal wear, including heavy white silk, and photographed the pieces on their male family members in Kirkuk, Iraq.