If you’re not a die-hard stylista you at least like sprucing up your wardrobe from time to time. Be it budget or personal preference we all have select stores and brands that we shop when sourcing our latest pieces. But why stick to mainstream? You’re not molded from a cookie cutter and so neither should your wardrobe. But fashion lines come a dime a dozen, and in the midst of weeding out the good and the bad, special ones often shine through. Chock full of custom flair, StyleBlazer has gathered 14 of the hottest independent designers and labels you should get to know.
Click through to discover some amazing brands.
In the Yoruba language of West Africa, “Aso” means cloth and “Damisi” is prosperity. So there’s no wonder why more and more boutiques are partnering with this small, Philly brand to introduce their garments to the world. In Aso Damisi lies continuity and cohesiveness. Rather than using a wide range of fabrics to create their pieces, typically one patterned design is used and it is offered in different colorways. The brand creates various cuts including peplum dresses, pencil skirts and wide leg trousers all of which are job-appropriate but can be jazzed up for the night life. Aso Damisi`
Onion by Whitney Mero
Whitney Mero’s philosophy to creating her pieces is simply to keep it simple. There are no printed fabrics, appliques or embellishments here. What you will find are beautiful Grecian, maxi and halter dresses all crafted from a rather unexciting source—jersey cotton. From plunging necklines to dropped sleeves and flowy silhouettes, Onion fabulously celebrates femininity in all its glory, custom tailored to flatter all shapes and sizes. Whitney Mero
Started by Brooklyn-based dancer Tenille McMillan in ’09, Nakimuli proudly flaunts its creative roots through the line’s marriage of bright, boldly hued prints with exaggerated lines and cuts. In a few short years, Tenille has gotten the attention of fashionistas near and far and has even found a proud fan in Erykah Badu. Nakimuli is a brand for only the certain. Whether you’re rocking their funky bodycon dresses, fierce leggings or chunky, dookie rope fabric bracelets, you’re stepping out to cause a scene– and wouldn’t have it any other way. Nakimuli
Birthed at the London Metropolitan Fashion and Dance Charity Show in 2009, indie label Asakeoge was founded by Asake Ogoro. Ogoro grew up a third generation seamstress and learned her skills in fashion design from her family of Nigerian designers and crafters. From her specific use of certain materials to once naming one of her lines after matriarchs in her family, heritage is at the forefront of this blossoming brand. Asakeoge
Ever since Boxing Kitten came on the scene in ’08, it hit the ground running and never looked back. After finishing her studies at Wesleyan University in African-American studies, designer Maya Lake became inspired to created a line that would meld history from past to present. The foundation of her pieces lie in the Ankara, wax hollandaise prints she uses and is coupled with contemporary and edgy cuts for a well-rounded, unique look. Boxing Kitten
MÚS by Mali Ro
MÚS by Mali Ro is the perfect combo of edgy and classic, all with a bright twist. Featuring draped skirts, midriff tops and form-fitting mini dresses, Brooklyn designer Mali Romeo isn’t afraid to turn up the heat with her use of neon colorblocking in Mali Ro’s designs. Mali Romeo
Spring is evidently all about color for Samantha Black. In her line, Sammy B., the designer has made friends with pastels, floral prints, jumpsuits and peplum dresses. Flirty and fun, just in time for the new season. Sammy B.
Singer Ellen Varner and actress Tika Sumpter are fans of Nike Oyelami’s lively dresses in her line Ekineyo. Based in NYC, Oyelami uses ombre, neons and printed spandex materials to create her pieces, a line whose arrival is making its rounds in the realm of “what’s next.” Ekineyo
K’Lee Jones doesn’t design for the faint of heart and that’s very clear in her super edgy apparel line, BagladieInk. Jones, once in school to become a nurse, had a change of heart when she discovered her gift of design and began creating the hot line we know today. If you’re all for mesh silhouettes, leggings and graphic body-cons, BagladieInk is for you. BagladieInk
Sofistafunk, The Skirt Co.
With the help of daughter-in-law Cheshire Boone-Mickens, Arlinda McIntosh created the super funky skirt brand Sofistafunk over a decade ago. Implementing wool, silk and cotton materials in their designs, Sofistafunk’s themes merge Victorian and Elizabethan styles with flirty, contemporary cuts. Sofistafunk
Mixing Nigerian and NYC influences, designer Serwah Asante created Rue 114 upon graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Asante’s pieces use various mediums and textiles that uniquely flatter the feminine form. Rue 114
Nine years ago Adama Ndiaye, a Senegalese born-Paris raised designer, launched her line Adama Paris at Dakar Fashion Week. Using solid laces, silks and geometric-printed fabrics, Ndiaye’s line is a great mix between traditional, African wear and styles that are eclectically edgy. Adama Paris
Shavonne Deann’s self-titled line is casual chic. Complete with oversized trousers, knit button ups and cardigans, DeAnn ranges from chic office wear to more sultry pieces like her collection of cut-out mini dresses. Simple colors and simple cuts– perfect for everyone! Shavonne DeAnn
Reuben Reuel’s staple babydoll dresses are flirty and essential in the arsenals of all stylistas. With patterns that are both brightly colored and sophisticated, Demestiks offers a line that is everything fun and buoyant. Demestiks