COVID-19 impacted our lives in every way possible, even down to the brands we shop for and how we shop for our different fashion items. Even though the world hasn’t fully recovered from the impact of the pandemic, things are at least slowly beginning to get back to normal. People are returning to their favorite brands and looking out for those new ones redefining the fashion world in 2021.
Whether the brand is a household name or a small and upcoming brand, the idea is to rock fashion brands that have a story to tell and will remain in vogue for a while from now. Here’s a list of the top fashion brands you should look out for in 2021.
There’s a reason why Nike keeps topping the list of fashion brand choices year after year. And even though there was a downturn last year as a result of the pandemic and the lockdown, Nike is making leaps and bounds every day to put its name back where it belongs. It’s now capitalizing on making iconic and innovative adaptive sneakers, and as a result of the “seasonal demand for fitness wear,” Nike is topping our list. Also, they made a buzz out of the release of their first hands-free shoe and navigated the controversy surrounding MSCHF and Lil Nas X’s unauthorized Satan shoes the right way.
However, the biggest standout moment for Nike this year may have been the release of the Cactus Plant Flea Market’s “Goa Flea” movie and Drake’s newly released Nike sub-label NOCTA Gore-Tex apparel line.
As for sneaker releases, Nike brought in the iconic Dunk silhouette, making notable collaborations with some streetwear institutions like Chicago’s Notre and SB Dunk Lows. Nike also continues to cater to the high-fashion crowd through collaborations with Matthew M. Williams, Chitose Abe of Sacai, and Yoon Ahn of Ambush. Nike’s influence is exemplified by its upcoming Comme des Garçons Foamposite collab.
2. Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton is another household name that’s leading the top fashion brand voice worldwide today. Earlier in 2021, Louis Vuitton announced Naomi Osaka as a new brand ambassador. This can be seen as a new dimension of high-end sports and fashion collaboration. Also, the Nicolas Ghesquière’s Coussin handbag is gaining popularity amongst female celebrities, as celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and Selena Gomez have been seen rocking the bag of late.
Louis Vuitton is also working towards bridging the gap between fashion and gender inclusion. At the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2021 runway show, we saw the first-ever Black transgender model, Kai Isaiah Jamal, walk on Louis Vuitton’s runway. No one will also be quick to forget Yasiin Bey’s freestyle over ESG’s “UFO” at the end of the show.
Louis Vuitton is sending out its all-inclusion message to the world, and for that reason, LV will top the list of top fashion brands as the years go by. Virgil Abloh says that the world is for the taking for black people, trans people, and all marginalized people today. LV will continue to redefine what luxury fashion looks like, and we’re all here for that.
3. Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta is no longer a brand that needs reintroduction. From models to celebrities and influencers, if Bottega Veneta isn’t found in their overall outfit look, there’ll at least be one BV item to look out for, we can assure you. It gained so much influence that Missy Elliott wasn’t just on the cover of the first digital quarterly journal; she also seemed to be a huge fan. But what exactly makes Bottega Veneta stand out?
First, it got a number of celebrity endorsements this year, from Daniel Kaluuya’s 2021 Oscars look, to Lil Yachty wearing the green puddle boots in the music video for his “No More Beatboxing Freestyle” Bottega Veneta’s getting in our faces now more than it’s ever done since 1966.
Aside from these endorsements, BV stands out for its intrecciato weave technique. So from women’s wears like the Cassette bag and the Lido mules, to men’s wears like the chunky Puddle and Tire boots, BV provides a wide range for everyone to find something for them. The Bottega Veneta’s Lug boot is, however, one of the top five trending women’s pieces this year.
Gucci’s one of the few brands that are not totally hanging on to old glory. Gucci is constantly looking for ways to keep its name on the lips of everyone, and as we know, a lot of people will agree that they’re doing an amazing job with that. The Gucci gang, like they’re generally referred to, had a collaboration with The North Face this year which got everyone buzzing.
Also, no one will quickly forget Harry Styles’ 2021 Grammy Awards feather boa look anytime soon. But asides from this, Gucci got a strong demand from online shoppers, particularly at the beginning of the year, and because of its much anticipated centennial anniversary this year, Gucci’s on the lips of everyone all around the world. Let’s not forget the filming of “House of Gucci ” that stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver.
The GG canvas bomber jacket from North Face x Gucci is probably the most notable fashion item of 2021. Gucci has held its ground for a hundred whole years, and we can almost be sure that they’ll do the same for the next hundred if possible.
Dior is one of the most creative and outstanding fashion brands to ever exist. 2021 has seen Dior make calculated strides in everything they’ve done, and it doesn’t seem like there’s any looking back for this famous brand. Dior kicked off the year by naming Blackpink’s Kim Ji-soo, popularly called Jisoo, a brand ambassador. Of course, that was a great idea, considering how much of an influence Jisoo is. As if that wasn’t enough, Snapchat users get exclusive access to the Dior augmented reality sneaker try-on lens, which also brought a level of upscale for the fashion brand.
Dior also had an outstanding Fall 2021 fashion show at Versailles, which highlighted their new collections for the fall, some of which are on the lookout for this in-coming Fall season. The reality is, even if Dior didn’t put so much effort into their brand output this year (which we doubt they’ll try), Dior would remain a household name. But thankfully, that isn’t the case, and Dior plans to give us much more than we bargained for.
6. Kenneth Ize
As the fashion scene continues to evolve and get more inclusive, more and more small brands are gaining popularity for the distinctiveness that they bring to the table. As much as the top brands are calling enough attention to themselves, unique small brands are also beginning to give us reasons to shift our attention to them.
And, top of the list of those small but outstanding fashion brands is Kenneth Ize. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Kenneth Ize is a designer who fuses a modern eye with an artisanal approach. He works with a small group of weavers and a variety of artisan and design groups across the country to create collections that leverage stripes, color, and traditional Nigerian fabrications to create smart and cool separates.
According to an interview with BAZAAR earlier this year, Ize says that “the work that I’m trying to do speaks to freedom. It speaks justice. And it also speaks to intelligence.”
Kenneth Ize is one designer you’re going to want to keep on your radar going into 2021 and beyond.
The Tove brand is following the 2021 trend of minimalism. From color choices, to eco-friendly materials and production methods, Tove is sustainably-minded and intentionally works towards showing that end goal in every action that they take.
Founded by Camille Perry and Holly Wright, the London-based label is a combination of 15 years of design experience. Tove originates from the Danish name, Tove, which means beauty and strength, which is what the founders say is their goal for the brand, and the years go by.
For anyone who’s a minimalist or plans to become one, Tove is one of the leading brands you should look out for. Not only do they design minimalist products, but they also work with the concept of a buildable wardrobe into their collections with the intention that each new piece can be worn with pieces from previous years, while still looking fashionable.
The quality of the materials and construction of the dresses are impeccable, so much so that you may not mind investing more bucks than originally planned. Anyone who patronizes the Tove brand needs to see it as an investment into the future, one that will serve you well for years to come.
8. Union Los Angeles
What’s Union Los Angeles known for? Quite simple – the first-ever streetwear store in the world, which is very much still thriving until now. Union, as it’s popularly called, Union has existed as far back as the 90s and still owns its space in the streetwear fashion world. It’s gone from being a New York City-based store to one that’s run across the world today.
As the brand clocks 30 years in existence in 2021, its owners have gone all out to ensure that the brand is even more exciting and enticing throughout the year. And that’s just one of the reasons why it’s a part of our list.
One of its biggest moments this year is its collaborations with Vaughn Bodē and Noah. Its collaboration with Noah was labeled “Truth Dare Dream” and told the story of historical figures like Beethoven, Shakespeare, and the French writer Alexandre Dumas reimagined as Black. It was intended to show and eventually did show a capsule that made great commentary on how history gets whitewashed. It was also targeted to raise funds for the Watts Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.
Another London-based fashion brand, Rokh, capitalizes on designing British Saville Row items with a good level of laid-back American vibe. Its lead talent is Rok Hwang. He combines his roots in Seoul, Korea, his time in Austin, Texas, and his eventual move to London to design his pieces. The Rokh collection also extends to avant-garde women’s fashion, which he only launched in 2017. Rok Hwang has also received the 2018 LVMH Special Prize.
10. Chrome Hearts
Chrome Hearts has been synonymous with rockstars and bands like the Rolling Stones, Guns ‘N Roses, and the Sex Pistols since its inception back in the 80s. However, Chrome Hearts is rebranding to be more modernized and bringing in an A-list artist, Drake, as its headliners. In 2021, Chrome Hearts collaborated with the hip-hop star on the Certified Lover Boy apparel. Drake came out in a full Chrome Hearts regalia.
Chrome Hearts intends to show that it’s evolved from a family-owned business in Los Angeles to an international fashion brand, and it seems to be achieving that. From Los Angeles to Japan, Chrome Hearts is gaining the attention of everyone, including top fashion brand owners like Virgil Abloh. Aside from Drake, Chrome Hearts has brought in the influence of stylish individuals like hip-hop stars Lil Uzi Vert and Offset, with Bella Hadid edging the modeling side of the business.
The brand’s leather cross-patch jeans are fast becoming its most popular fashion item, thanks to Drake’s influence. Chrome Hearts is one of the few brands that thrived on its obscurity for ages, but now, they’re swiftly making their way to the spotlight. To satisfy the new position attained, Chrome Heart is experimenting with e-commerce by dropping limited runs of hoodies and T-shirts sporadically on its online store.
These brands are the ones to look out for in the coming months or even years. Look through the list and pick out which ones work right for you!