When I was in college, I was one of those annoying people who loved to spend entire days in the library, leaving only to fill up my reusable water bottle and make yet another Starbucks run. The act of studying, at least for subjects I actually liked, was oddly satisfying. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that now that I have a job I love, I'd want to spend hours on end researching everything there is to know about it.
My favorite subject? Cool brands that everyone, and I mean everyone, will want to be wearing in the months ahead. And after hours of thorough analysis—involving lots of Instagram, TikTok, runway, and street style stalking—I'm fairly confident that I've come up with this year's list of them. From the LVMH prize-winning designer who's already dressed Hailey Bieber and Zendaya in her stringy dresses to the Copenhagen-based label that every influencer is wearing right now, the brands ahead define what it means to be cool in 2022.
London-based Albanian designer Nensi Dojaka founded her namesake label in 2017 while studying Central Saint Martins and has already made quite the name for herself in the industry. The winner of the 2021 LVMH Prize, Dojaka's signature stringy and sheer minidresses and bodysuits have already found their way onto influential characters ranging from Hailey Bieber and Zendaya to Camille Charrière.
In the last month, practically every big-time influencer has posted on Instagram wearing a piece from Copenhagen's The Garment, which specializes in seasonless pieces meant to build a wardrobe around. Founded by designer Charlotte Eskildsen and influencer Sophia Roe, The Garment specifically designs for Roe's minimalist aesthetic, sticking with neutral tones and tailored, wearable silhouettes.
Husband-and-wife duo Léa Dickely and Hung La came together after years of working at established labels like Céline, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen to found Kwaidan Editions in 2017, a label that draws both celebrities such as Kourtney and Kim Kardashian and the fashion set. Meant to challenge the societal boundaries set for women and the way they dress, the brand's most recent collections feature a mix of padded jersey, floral-printed sets, and rubberized trench coats and skirts.
Founded first as a menswear brand in 2014 by South London–based designer Grace Wales Bonner, Wales Bonner has since introduced womenswear to its offerings, not to mention a wildly popular collaboration with Adidas, as seen on Gigi and Bella Hadid as well as Dakota Johnson.
Sequins, feathers, and sheer fabrics are but a few of the specialties offered up by Marco Capaldo and Kikka Cavenati's London-based label 16Arlington. Knowing that, it's no wonder that stylists are champing at the bit to get their clients in pieces from the brand, with Hailey Bieber most recently wearing a skin-colored sequin 16Arlington dress to an event for her beauty brand Rhode and Kate Bosworth wearing a similar but aqua-blue style from the F/W 22 collection to a movie premiere.
Indian-British designer Supriya Lele has been rising the ranks on the London fashion scene ever since she founded her eponymous label in 2016, following the completion of her MA at the Royal College of Art. That said, her most recent collections, which feature bright colors and sheer, often patterned fabrics, have been especially noteworthy. Spotted recently on the likes of Emma Chamberlain and Bridgerton's Charithra Chandran, the London-based designer is one to know (and shop) moving forward.
If you want to know about cool New York City brands, the first one you should check out is Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the Lower East Side label that's been dressing chic downtowners (and beyond) ever since it launched in 2008. Known for its unique styling methods and wearable yet elevated basics, designer Nassir Zadeh's aesthetic is immediately recognizable—and trust me when I say you'll see it a lot.