It's 2019 and there's no denying it, Instagram has changed just about every traditional channel of learning and consumption. It's a proxy for cosmetology school, it's the new Zagat or TripAdvisor, and to retailers, it's the new way to discover emerging brands. For Net-A-Porter's Fall 2019 Vanguard program, the online fashion behemoth discovered all four of their new recipients via the app. "Our entire buying team, including myself, is constantly scrolling through Instagram to find new designers and inspiration," explain Elizabeth von der Goltz, the site's Global Buying Director. "Brands today don’t have to launch the traditional way, but can use their personal network to launch on Instagram. Peter Do was a fabulous example of this concept with our last season of the Vanguard."
This season, the brands selected span the globe and all feature distinct design sensibilities that caught the Net-A-Porter team's attention, leading to their selection for the retailer's incubator program. "Bite Studios is a sustainable brand, which I was automatically drawn to with our NET SUSTAIN edit initiative." Read-to-wear label Le 17 September's construction and elegance convinced the team it was ideal for shopper's "forever wardrobes." For handbag brand Natura Sacrae, notes von der Goltz, "I love the organic shape and feel of the natural resin and how is juxtaposed with the sharp craftsmanship of the leather handbags." And lastly, handbag brand The Sant, which hones in on a few key elements in its design process, "exclusivity, originality, trend and quality."
Below, you'll find an intro to these four emerging brands to put on your radar now.
If you look to modern art or interior design as sources of inspiration, then Milan-based Naturae Sacra is a bag line to put on your radar. "We believe that nowadays, the real luxury is owning a product that is completely unique and special for you, made by an actual person's hand since every piece is handmade, while focusing on sustainability too," explains designer and co-founder Gizem Pirincciler. The vegetable-tanned leather bags feature unusual structural details in combination with their practical fabrication — a combo that fits the sleek, minimalist Insta aesthetic. "We've always been aware of our position and what should be our visual language and image, so we've tried the keep our identity consistent."
Minimalists with an eye for sharp tailoring, BITE Studios is the on-the-rise label to put on your radar. Sustainability is a key component of the brand's ethos, "BITE is an acronym for 'By Independent Thinkers for Environmental progress'," Explains William Lundgren, CEO and Founder. "We, 4 partners ... William, Veronika [Kant, the CEO], Elliot [Atkinson, head of design], and Suzanne [Liv, creative director] ... came together as a collective to address both aesthetic and moral questions around how clothes are designed, made and understood." Adds Liv, "working within the limitations of only using the finest and most honest organic and sustainable materials, techniques and workmanship is something that we all love and find continually inspiring. For us, to make a brand as sustainable as possible, whilst being aesthetically beautiful is the challenge. To show others that it is possible!"
This Barcelona-based brand handbag line relies on experienced artisans to create the minimalist, geometric designs. "It was while working at an architect’s studio that I started to build something of my own," notes founder Laura Riera. Though it only launched in 2018, it caught the eye of Net-A-Porter's buyers for it's unique silhouettes and creative inspirations. The brand's long, rectangular bags are inspired by Kinchaku bags, cloth designs used in Japan to hold precious items. "Our pieces are all quite minimalistic in form ... geometric and with simple lines and colours ... mainly black and white in all collections, explains Riera. Which makes them timeless pieces, with a classic touch."
Le 17 Septembre
South Korean designer Eunhye Shin began her career as a blogger, but has since crossed over into design. Her minimalist line has already drawn associations to Phoebe Philo's Céline. "Refined simplicity is very important to me," explains Shin. "All women who live their lives fiercely and fighting for their careers are always a constant source of inspiration. Shin notes that Instagram has been a key way for her to express her distinctive brand vision, and the resulting feedback has been a highlight of her launch. "I feel rewarded when customers love the pieces and satisfied with them after purchased."