7 Top Contemporary Designers You Need to Check Out Right Now

contemporary designers Orseund Iris velvet bustier

Whether you’re already a passionate lover of contemporary fashion or just starting to get into it, finding the right designers to follow is key. Fortunately, even with the difficulties the fashion industry has faced in 2020, European contemporary designers are still producing exciting work worth keeping an eye on.

Why contemporary fashion?

High fashion is fun and interesting, but there’s no denying it can seem a bit inaccessible. Its high prices and occasionally impractical designs help create the impression many people have that fashion doesn’t have anything to do with them. But contemporary fashion aims at finding that perfect balance between practicality, affordability, and outstanding design.

Stand out from the crowd

In a world where fast fashion dominates, you can end up feeling a lot of deja vu. From seeing legions of high schoolers in H&M NASA gear to knock-offs of the latest chunky sneaker trend, it seems like people are trying to stand out and just end up looking the same. But buying from more rare contemporary brands means you can be a true original and get ahead of trends before they get worn out.

Define your unique style

Another critical element of contemporary fashion is that it’s got a lot of variety. Thus allowing you to define a unique style. Whether you’re into minimalism and a focus on materials or are obsessed with expressive patterns and daring designs, you can find a European contemporary designer that you’ll love.

Sustainability

One of the toughest criticisms the fashion industry has faced in the past decade is that it’s just not very sustainable. But more and more contemporary brands are aiming to address this with clothes designed to last longer and be more easily repaired instead of thrown away. Of course, they’re also working to encourage consumers to change their attitude to their clothes as well.


7 Top Contemporary Designers in 2020


All of that said, contemporary design comes down to contemporary designers. So which European designers should you be paying attention to these days? Below we break down some favorites.

1. Orseund Iris

While it’s become famous for an open-backed silk blouse that feels like something that could have been on a runway today or decades ago, there’s plenty to love here. In fact, their soon-to-be iconic double U design gracing everything from tube tops to purses contrasts with the elegance of their silk pieces with some very cheeky fun. Whether you look to Orseund Iris for streetwear or evening wear, there’s plenty to appreciate in their catalogue.

2. KAAI

The Antwerp-based purse and bag makers KAAI started their business to achieve that perfect balance of “functional and feminine.” It’s a balance that most of us try (and often fail) to get right in a world where we need laptops, phones, and a million other things on hand wherever we are. Instead of striving to be flashy, they obsess over the details, leading to classic and functional handbags that won’t be out of style anytime soon.

contemporary handbag designers KAAI Ikon Croco Oyster shoulder bag
KAAI Ikon Croco Oyster shoulder bag

3. Bande Noir

If you love minimalism and a brand with an interesting story, Bande Noir should be on your radar. Founded by a former fashion journalist named Mayte Allende. The brand’s name derives from the Holly Blue butterfly and true to form it focuses on quality fabrics and patterns formed into elegant and timeless designs. It’s clear that Allende’s many years in the industry brought her to find a niche with Bande Noir and she’s really excelling there.

The Isla dress by Bandenoir
The Isla dress by Bandenoir

bloom chair by koket

4. Mowalola

If you’ve never heard of Lagos, Nigeria’s fashion scene you need to correct that immediately. This brand’s namesake cut her teeth in London, allowing her to blend the daring and exciting styles of her birthplace with the tradition and focus on materials of her adoptive home. One look at the brand’s website and you’ll see why the word psychedelic is often used to describe their style. Its wild colors and daring headgear are perfect for anyone looking to make a fashion statement that won’t soon be forgotten.

contemporary designers Mowalola AW19 Glory in Acid Denim Jacket and Corset
Mowalola AW19 Glory in Acid Denim Jacket and Corset

5. Sandra Sandor

Coming up in the rugged DIY youth culture of Budapest, Hungary, Sanda Sandor’s brand Nanushka focuses on environmentally friendly fashion utilizing upcycled materials and vegan leather. But the key is, you wouldn’t know it. Sandor is showing that you don’t need to sacrifice quality, elegance, or beauty to get the sustainability the industry needs. It’s also one of the few European designers here with both mens and womens collections.

‘Bourgeois Grunge’, Fall/Winter 2020 collection by Nanushka. (Photo by @alice_eneale)
‘Bourgeois Grunge’, Fall/Winter 2020 collection by Nanushka. (Photo by @alice_eneale)

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6. Symonds Pearmain

UK brand Symonds Pearmain is taking the iconic looks of the 80s London club scene and turning them into daring, yet wearable looks for today. They’ve even strived to use materials made in British factories which had their toughest years during that decade. All of this comes together to make a brand that’s intensely personal, unique, and meaningful (and ironic commentary on the go-go 80s fashions the brand nods to). Unlike much of the fashion which permeated that decade, these pieces are built to last.

Symonds Pearmain Sincere Casual fittings at Cabinet. (Photo by Jack Day)
Symonds Pearmain Sincere Casual fittings at Cabinet. (Photo by Jack Day)

7. PDPAOLA

This once small jewelry brand out of Barcelona has grown into a globally recognized brand with serious clout. PDPAOLA takes timeless shapes, motifs, and materials and puts just enough spin on them that they feel fresh all over again. Their collections contain homages to the landscapes, insects, animals, and desires which make us feel most alive and in touch with the world around us. Whether you want a simple letter necklace or a daring gold earring, they have something you’ll love.

contemporary jewelry designers BUZZ Gold Ring, ZAZA Collection by PDPAOLA
BUZZ Gold Ring, ZAZA Collection by PDPAOLA

Feature Image: Velvet Bustier by Orseund Iris

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