Small Business Saturday: 38 Indie E-Boutiques To Shop on Small Business Saturday
There are plenty of good reasons to head to J.Crew or Zara for your holiday shopping, but today we bring you 38 reasons not to. In honor of Small Business Saturday, where consumers are encouraged to shop at independently operated and/or local stores rather than large brands, we are republishing the Racked Indie 38. It’s our list of the best indie shops on the internet, from indie designers you know and love, to our favorite Etsy shops and local boutiques with a click-worthy selection. Bonus: Many of them are having major sales this weekend. Happy shopping!
Ann Mashburn: Wife of menswear favorite Sid Mashburn, Ann Mashburn opened her Atlanta shop in 2010 as a feminine counterpoint to her husband’s tailored preppy aesthetic. In addition to her own line of tailored womenswear—shirt dresses, perfect white button-ups—the site also stocks classics like Petit Bateau and St. James. Consider it your indie answer to Kate Spade.
Emerson Fry: The brand formerly known as Emerson Made has recently gotten a name update and a website facelift. The clothes are just as casual cool as always, however. Blazers, dresses, trousers, and blouses created with Emerson’s personal city-girl-gone-country-cool aesthetic are some of our favorite wardrobe staples.
LNA: Though this LA-based brand, founded by two Cali natives, has expanded beyond the basics that put them on the map, it remains one of our go-tos for tees, leggings, and other relaxed knits. Prices hover around $ 50 for basic tees, and head up to $ 175ish for bigger ticket items, like the eminently wearable maxi dresses.
Nasty Gal: If you like your indie a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, this is the site for you. Started as an eBay shop featuring vintage and flea market finds in 2006, the brand has expanded to include it’s own line of trendy, affordable pieces that are both edgy and free-spirited. Prices for Nasty Gal brand skirts, tops, and dresses are mostly under $ 100, while vintage tends to be in the $ 100-$ 200 range.
Rachel Comey: New York designer Rachel Comey made the world just a little brighter this year when she launched her e-commerce shop back in March. There you can find her full apparel and swim lines as well as her coveted shoes, plus a handful of styles exclusive to the site.
Reformation: The brainchild of longtime fashion insider Yael Aflalo, former founder of Ya-Ya, Reformation offers sexy-yet-relaxed silhouettes made of surplus fabric and reworked vintage. Signature pieces include floor-sweeping backless gowns, flirty rompers and crop tops.
Steven Alan: Starting out as a shop for other designers, Steven Alan took on his own line in 1999 and was pretty much an instant hit. His aesthetic—for both his own line and the other indie designers he carries—is casual but perfected, simple but elegant, and definitely comfortable. One of the reasons we keep restocking our closets with his boyfriend shirts and smart dresses is because they feel like they were made to be lived in.
Surface to Air: The consummately cool Paris-based collective Surface to Air was founded in 2000 as a creative labs of sorts—they produce everything from music videos and gallery shows to their eponymous clothing collection, which includes several collabs with musicians (Kings of Leon) and artists (Solve Sundsbo). Cool is going to cost you, though—there’s not much for under $ 200 to be found on the site.
TenOverSix: Begun in 2008 as an LA boutique, TenOverSix has expanded to become one of our favorite e-commerce destinations. With a mix of indie brands—A.P.C., Vena Cava, Peter Jensen, Karen Walker, Bodkin—as well as their own TenOverSix line, the site takes pride in “subversive” fashion. They also offer original art and home goods, complete with the requisite rebellious twist.
Tucker: Tucker started with the printed peasant blouses Gaby Basora used to make for herself and her friends, and has grown into a line sold at Barneys, Intermix, and Scoop. The e-commerce shop feels a little low-fi by 2012 standards, but it’s in the middle of being revamped, and the opportunity to shop the line in all it’s printed entirety makes it worth a visit.
United Bamboo: A collaborative effort between Japanese-born Miho Aoki and Vietnamese-born Thuy Pham, United Bamboo clothing has a distinct Eastern influence. Asymmetrical construction and architectural silhouettes are standard, as are major plays on proportion. In addition to the clothing collection, the website also offers art and music collaborations along with a killer blog.
Won Hundred: Danish darling Won Hundred has a US-friendly website now, which means you can shop the brand’s gorgeous, understated collections straight from your computer. With roots in menswear, this is a brand for those who like clean lines and attention to detail.
SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Catbird: Sprouted from a Williamsburg boutique of the same name, this online shop is a go-to for delicate jewelry from a range of indie designer talents. The ring selection is especially strong.
Dannijo: There are a lot of great indie jewelry designers out there, but we’re highlighting DanniJo because their online shop is straight up awesome. The selection of beaded bib necklaces, colorful cuff bracelets, and statement earrings is huge, the photography is gorgeous, and product details are plentiful. Created by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder, the line is also stocked at high end retailers like Net-a-Porter and Bergdorf, but we love seeing in its natural habitat, modeled by the girls who made it.
Eugenia Kim: Hats are happening this year, in case you hadn’t noticed, and Eugenia Kim is a no-brainer for almost every headwear occasion we can think of. She’s got a high-fashion pedigree—she won the 2004 CFDA/Perry Ellis award for accessories design and she’s done runway toppers for Ralph Lauren and Diane Von Furstenberg, among others—but her website has a range of styles and price points. Get serious with a $ 285 ikat-banded fedora from her collection line, or take it easy on your wallet with a $ 70 crochet version from her genie diffusion line.
Kiel James Patrick: If rope bracelets and ribbon belts are your thing, Kiel James Patrick has enough color and pattern variations to supply a lifetime of Cape Cod clam bakes. A parttime hobby turned full-time job for the founder, this is a great place to get your prep on—especially as most pieces are in the $ 30 to $ 40 range.
Loeffler Randall: Narrowing down our favorite indie shoe designers is a tough one, but Loeffler Randall gets a spot on the 38 because not only are the collections invariably cute and wearable, the brand covers as much ground as, well, you do. It stocks everything from flat leather boots for winter weekends to some of the sexiest pumps around and a dizzying array of summer sandals. The brand clearly takes e-commerce seriously, with an super-stocked and easy to shop website, plus an addictively fun blog.
No. 6: This online outpost of the beloved New York boutique doesn’t offer as much merchandise as the Little Italy shop, but what it does have is the brand’s perfect clogs and clog boots, which can be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. The technical end of the site is a little dated—instead of true e-commerce, there is a quaint “order form” for you to fill out—but that actually feels fitting for the low-key, heritage vibe of the brand.
Proper Topper: Hats are demanding top wardrobe priority all of a sudden, and this DC-based shop has a trove of them. From feather-adorned cloches (Eugenia Kim, Louise Green) to elegant rafia beach hats (Helen Kaminsky), this is the best non-department store shop we’ve found to address all your headwear needs in one place.
Soludos: Since it’s summer, and since you need a pair of chic slip-ons, and since espadrilles are everywhere all of a sudden, we’re including Soludos. Nick Brown started the company when he moved to New York after college and was looking for a city-appropriate summer shoe that was as laid back as he is (as in, not flip flops). You can get most of Soludos’ many (many) collaboration styles via their website, plus all their originals—which means there’s more than 60 color and pattern options for you to choose from. Which is a lot.
Warby Parker: It’s hard to argue with $ 95 glasses, especially now that Warby Parker has expanded into sunglasses of both the prescription and non-script variety. Bonus: They donate one pair of glasses to someone in need for every purchase.
Yokoo: With memorial day looming, it’s likely that chunky wool scarves are the furthest thing from your mind. We’re here to encourage you to place your commission for next winter now before this Esty favorite gets inundated with cold-weather orders come fall. Yokoo’s exaggerated-scale knits are heirloom quality and made to order, so you get to choose exactly the color and style you’re in the mood for. Or will be, once summer is over.
AlleyCat Trade: Founder Jo Scapa scours the globe and the internet alike to source the emerging designers featured on AlleyCat Trade. She’s the sole US distributor Alice McCall’s girly, sexy dresses; there’s also a great selection of Italian brand Anniel’s perfect ballet flats. Straddling the line between wearable and distinctive, head here for pieces that are fun and unique, but not overly costumey.
The Dreslyn: This newcomer offers only the coolest pieces from contemporary and more pricey designers such as Helmut Lang, Zimmerman, One Teaspoon, Rachel Comey, A.L.C. In addition to women’s clothes and accessories, there is a small home and gift section.
Indie Collective: The name pretty much says it all here. Like Etsy, the site extends well beyond those categories, what’s nice about it is that they’ve curated products into gift guides and other categories, so you can easily find some interesting items without clicking through to each individual designer. The site functions as a showcase, rather than an e-commerce site, and your best bet is probably jewelry and accessories.
The Line: Brought to you by fashion insider, stylist and Joseph Altuzarra’s muse Vanessa Traina, The Line is a beautiful collection of high-end, minimalist design. The stock is divided into three sections—fashion, home and beauty—all tied together by their quality level and timeless appeal. The selection includes both the known, like Rodin’s coveted oils, and the unknown, such as Protagonist clothing and Creed and Gow decor.
Pixie Market: A Susie Bubble favorite, this site has a ton of indie designers at truly affordable prices. While there are a couple of high-end items (like this camo backpack we love for $ 460), there are dozens, if not hundreds, of unique dresses, blouses, and bottoms for under $ 100.
Modcloth: Modcloth features more than 700 independent designers, most of them with a distinctly retro feel (the site has its roots in vintage finds). Modcloth also fosters an active community, and has a platform that allows members to vote items from emerging designers into production.
Motel Rocks: This British brand was inspired by an American roadtrip in 1999, and they’ve been cranking out California-thrift-shop-inspired wares ever since. But don’t think baggy overalls: Bodycon, “siren-worthy” silhouettes are the brand’s signature.
Otte: Otte began as a shop in Brooklyn in 1999 and has now grown to three NYC locations plus an awesome e-shop. In addition to being hosting the shop’s array of established and emerging designers—rag & bone and 3.1 Philip Lim on one end of that spectrum; Failero Sarti and Rosa Maria on the other—you can find Otte’s own line of luxe basics for between $ 100 and $ 200.
The Urban Apparel: A must-stop for those who love Helmut Lang and Theysken’s Theory but balk at spending three figures on a slouchy tee, The Urban Apparel has dozens of indie brands with a distinctly downtown edge, and almost nothing priced over $ 50.
Zoo-ra: Zoo-ra launched this year with the concept that customized fashion should be affordable. Here you can shop ready-to-wear items according to style, occasion, body-type, or designer, then enter your measurements and pick customizations.
Aloha Rag: Launched in Honolulu (hence the name), this boutique made a splash a few years ago when it expanded to the far reaches of New York City’s Soho neighborhood. The men’s and women’s stock consists of prized and pricey designers like R13 denim, Carven, Lucien Pellat-Finet and Phillip Lim.
Bird: A favorite Brooklyn destination, wares run the gamut from perfect drapey tees courtesy of Alexander Wang’s T line to Isabel Marant blazers, Suno blouses, and Proenza Schouler bags. Prices skew high end (there are several $ 600 plus dresses from the likes of Thakoon and Zero + Maria Cornejo, for example) but even if that’s a bit aspirational for you (and us), browsing is half the fun. Plus, there are always some creative under $ 50 finds in the accessory and jewelry departments to be had.
Colette:Most of us can’t run off to Paris whenever we feel like it, but happily Colette offers worldwide shipping, which means you can shop everything from their gorgeous collection of Parisian-chic wardrobe staples to their wackadoo knickknacks right from your desk. Bonus: The site plays a constant stream of trancey club music, making you feel that much closer to actually being in the Rue St. Honore shop.
Dear Fieldbinder: Along with familiar brands like Jeffrey Campbell, Sophmore, and J Brand, we expect at least a third of the inventory here on any given day to be from designers we’ve never heard of—which is an indicator of how dedicated shop owner Laura Fieldbinder is to mixing things up. The perspective here is funky sophistication, and prices range from the budget friendly (this $ 62 Funktional button up) to pause worthy (these $ 440 Surface to Air platforms. But like we said, it’s all about the mix.
Need Supply: Like many of our favorite online shopping destinations, Need Supply started as an independent local shop and eventually expanded to to internet. Based in Richmond, the site has a modern feel and affordable price tags (the jewelry and bags are especially great). Stuff tends to sell out really fast, though, so if you like something, jump on it.
Roseark: A West Coast emporium dedicated to the most beautiful jewelry imaginable, from statement-making necklaces to ultra-delicate rings. Proprietor Kathy Rose knows the landscape like no one else, and stocks up-and-comers like Lebanese designer Noor Fares next to success stories such as Jacquie Aiche.
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