Fall is often considered within fashion circles as the busiest and most exciting time on the calendar. It is during these months when wardrobes are updated to include exuberant key pieces—a standout coat, statement boots, art-inspired accessories, an opulent dinner dress. Regardless of era or year, I’ve always considered Fall as a time for going all out—even if the past years have meant staying at home most days. While not necessarily in terms of logos or blinding bling, it’s a season for piling on the layers, experimenting with new textures, embracing more dramatic color ways and discovering new emerging brands across the globe.
The challenge when shopping for Fall fashion essentials lie in finding garments and accessories that are unique yet versatile. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of trends, only to step out looking like the rest. On more than one occasion, I’ve invested on a coat or sweater that I thought would take me through the entire season. It’s when you realize that what you’ve purchased is either commonplace or impractical, that disappointment sets in.
Often times, we equate unique for expensive. And while there is some truth to this, there are smarter ways of shopping this Fall that don’t require breaking the bank. Global platforms that bring together the best of every region or continent are great places to start. Apart from highlighting exceptional, up-and-coming design talents from across oceans, these design collectives always serve up fresher and newer style propositions.
Shopping from global platforms also create deeper sense of connection with designers, artisans, local producers and makers. Compared to the more popular and mainstream multi-brand shops, these unique design spaces lend an intimate and personal experience of retail therapy even when done from behind a computer screen. And that, to me, holds more value than any logo or distinguishing luxury mark often found flooding runways and social media.
Brighten Fall With Vibrant Colors of Africa. INDUSTRIE AFRICA is the “definitive platform for African fashion.” The site carries a wide range of designers and brands representing the continent’s remarkable fashion landscape. Founded in 2018, it has since been at the forefront of bringing African design talents to the rest of the world.
At the peak of the pandemic in 2020, Industrie Africa introduced its online retail space where the best of African content and community are gathered. The team expounds, “We curate the continent’s most covetable brands from ready-to-wear to accessories, and deliver them straight from the designer to your door.” Shopping the site is like getting a front row preview of Africa’s dynamic style scene. Browsing its most notably, collections adds a new layer to retail that’s personal, ethical, artisanal and truly refreshing.
This Fall, the brand introduced its ORANGE CULTURE CASJ VOL 2 collection by Lagos-based label, Orange Culture. All 16 garments from the presentation are exclusively available for pre order and will be ready for delivery by November. The brand from Nigeria is known for crafting artisanal pieces with unexpected twists and silhouettes. A distinct gender neutral non conforming aesthetic brought the brand LVMH acclaim and Woolmark Prize recognition. Casual pieces from the collection are distinguished by heart shirts and shorts that work beautifully on both men and women. Fabrics are all locally sourced and ethically produced to bring every Fall wardrobe a pulse for the loving sense of community harnessed within the Orange Culture community.
The Lagos-based brand’s Creative Director, Adebayo Oke-lawal, shares: “My favorite styles are the Adire pieces. For numerous years, we’ve introduced variations of Adire diffusion pieces and this one is literally close to my heart as the design shows… It’s a love letter to my Orange Culture family… It’s almost like giving every buyer a literal piece of our hearts.”
Other pieces to shop at INDUSTRIE AFRICA:
From Sandy Shores to the Hong Kong’s Harbour City. MARIE FRANCE VAN DAMME is a Hong Kong based style platform best known for “city to resort” essentials. Founded by French Canadian designer, Marie France Van Damme, the line has gained a cult following of style innovators who appreciate well-made luxury resort pieces. While the online shop was primarily built to feature the brand’s very own designs, the pandemic inspired a new platform on the site, highlighting independent designers and artisans across the globe.
Curated by MF is was envisioned as a well-edited retail space where small businesses, independent designers and craftspeople from around the world could shine through. The lifestyle portal covers a wide product range from scents to artisanal teas and handmade chinaware and crystal stem glasses. Haute joaillerie are part of Marie France Van Damme’s retail mix as are bags painted by renowned Balinese artists and other fine objets d’art.
Jonathan Riss, also known as Jay Ahr, presents a stunning collection of vintage Louis Vuitton and Hermes bags. These precious collectibles are reworked via intricate embroidery work, resulting in bandana inspired patterns that blend seamlessly with handles wrapped in an Hermes’ Twilly. Breathing new life to time-honored classics, Jay Ahr’s limited edition bags are works of art that raise the bar for consuming high luxury in a more thoughtful and conscious way.
MARIE FRANCE VAN DAMME also recently released its unique take on resort dressing this Autumn with the Resort to City Collection. The founder and creative director writes: “As Autumn casts its mellow spell on the city, our inspiration takes flight on the streets of Kwun Tong, an industrial neighborhood in Hong Kong which is also home to our atelier and offices. Our take on Resort To City, with an alluring silhouette that amplifies a sexy fluidity, heralds a change of season. Envelop yourself in the warm cocoon of a flow-y dress. A delicate camisole dress is the epitome of edgy sexiness. Layer with our cashmere cardigans for the deliciously cool Autumn evenings.”
Other items to shop at MARIE FRANCE VAN DAMME:
Living La Vida Latinx this Fall. PROYECTO REPUBLICA was launched in 2019 as the “first 360-degree digital platform that provides direct access into the world of emerging Spanish, Portuguese, Central and South American fashion.” The site is dedicated to creating a retail space where conscious production and consumption is heralded as the cornerstone for a better tomorrow.
Selection of pieces are greatly influenced by ethical production practices. The team explains “Most of our pieces are created by designers who collaborate directly with artisan communities, valuing the expertise of these individuals and supporting the local economy. Most of the designers use ancestral techniques that preserve important aspects of the culture.”
For Fall, PROYEKTO REPUBLICA fills wardrobes with eye popping colors and prints the reflect the region’s distinct take on living larger than life. Joyful undertones expressed through bright hues and bold patterns present a clever contrast to the somber mood of the season. Stunning hand embroidery, fringe details and weaves lend a distinct Latin vibe to contemporary garments that were made to stand out.
Other items to shop at PROYECTO REPUBLICA
All Access To The Most Bohemian City In The World. MORE IS LOVE is a Tbilisi-based concept store founded by Ana Mokia and Nino Eliava. The physical shop located in “world’s most bohemian city,” is identified by a bright yellow door. It was built with the intention of “putting the spotlight on exciting fashion creatives from local and international scenes.” Fashion enthusiasts unable to visit Georgia, can also access the shop’s diverse selection of independent and emerging labels through the online platform.
MORE IS LESS has been a great resource for Georgian designers that have gained following among fashion cognoscenti. Anouki is a beloved Georgian fashion brand that recently showed in Milan Fashion Week. The label’s take on ready-to-wear for Fall compels one to break away from clichés and convention through unexpected details—a outsized bow, collar and over the top puffy sleeves—-all in timeless white and black.
Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili, a celebrated fashion label from Georgia, is distinctly minimalist and streamlined. Crafting sleek, for Fall, the brand celebrates the female form through bold shoulders, poet sleeves, high necklines and appearance of a thigh high slit. You’ll love how there is a play of contrasts in the current collection that inspires a modern yet pared down wardrobe. From leather jackets in yellow to pencil skirts and trousers, Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili creates key pieces to get you through Fall and beyond.
Also founded by Nino and Ana, 0711 celebrates Georgia’s time honored craft and knitting tradition. Lovingly and meticulously loomed by artisans, knits are applied onto glass panels to create stunning bags and purses. Imagined as signature statement pieces, iconic bags from 0711 include: Copacabana, Barts and Tropez. The label’s knit line, comprised of scarves, ponchos and mitts, are chic additions to any apres-ski ensemble.
Other Items To Shop at MORE IS LOVE: