When it comes to fashion designers, those coming from Italy and France are perhaps the most famous – think Prada, Versace, Givenchy, and Chanel. There’s more to style than just Italy and France, though. Great designers are born all over the world, setting trends and dressing the world up in unique, forward-looking garments standing out of the crowd with their materials, design, and approach. Here are some that offer truly unique looks to those who choose them… and not based in France or Italy.
DRKN is one of the top fashion brands in Sweden, especially among the young – or better said, especially among gamers. DRKN is a streetwear brand – you won’t see their products at a Fashion Week or a fancy presentation – focused on the gaming culture and digital life. It is selling pieces inspired by various video games – Doom, Counter-Strike, and most recently, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Sportswear is a branch of the massive fashion industry that’s often overlooked, even if much of the innovation in a matter of materials and designs comes from pieces of clothing designed with athletes in mind. One of the best examples is Ambiotex, a high-tech brand designed with activity in mind. It combines the latest in functional textile research with technology – its products come with integrated sensors that capture the vital parameters of the athlete and a TechUnit that can be attached to them simply and easily, with a magnetic contact. Plus, it comes with a smartphone app that stores and analyzes the collected data in real-time.
Unspun is not your usual fashion brand – it describes itself as a “robotics and apparel” company. Their innovative approach to clothing takes the guesswork out of clothes shopping: they manufacture each and every piece of their clothing to the exact specifications of their clients. The company takes the clients’ measurements through their retail locations (they currently have shops in Hong Kong and San Francisco) and build the jeans to the clients’ exact specifications. Their ultimate goal is to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the world through “automated, localized, and intentional manufacturing”, and to also make the best-fitting jeans on the planet.
We’ll mention the last two brands under the same heading because they are innovating in the same area: materials.
One of them is Orange Fibers, a sustainable fabrics startup that happens to be located in Italy (the home of the tastiest oranges, by the way). Orange Fibers has created a new type of fiber made entirely from citrus juice by-products that would otherwise have gone to waste. The fabric spun from this string is silky and light, perfect for scarves, blouses, and other applications.
The other innovative brand that won the 2018 H&M Global Innovation Awards is Algalife that, as its name suggests, creates fiber from – you guessed it – algae. Their materials check every item off the list of the eco-friendly shopper: their product is chemicals and pesticides free, uses five times less water than the manufacturing of traditional textiles, relies on solar energy, it’s zero-waste, vegan, and completely biodegradable. In short, it’s perhaps the best type of clothing you can wear if you care about the world around you.