The margins for what defines a brand, especially DTC in fashion, are ever evolving. What are the best in class brands doing in order to stand out and innovate? Some of our favourite brands are embracing ecommerce in inspiring ways, whether it’s by collaborating with others, creating an immersive on-site experience or acclimatising to trends like the Metaverse and NFTS.
From on-site UX to social collaborations, brands are doing exciting things to shake up their respective industries. We’ve selected our top 19 high growth brands we think you need to look out for. Whether it be through their enticing collaborations with unexpected brands or out-of-the-box design styles, these brands know how to grab your attention.
Lifestyle brand Kith has seen a cult following emerge since their launch in 2011, putting their stamp on streetwear culture by collaborating with brands like Nike, Adidas and Star Wars. Recently, Kith have partnered with US based cereal brand Trix to produce a range which includes clothing, hats, accessories and even a limited edition cereal.
Mastering the art of content whether that be through high quality videos or engaging social posts, Kith knows how to pay attention to the small details. They have ensured that their website is clean and easy to navigate. Visiting their physical store will give you the same shopping experience as their online output which ties into each other nicely, achieving a seamless omnichannel approach.
Another brand that knows how to create highly successful collaborations is Aime Leon Dore, with recent campaigns with Clarks Originals, Drakes and New Balance almost selling out instantly. Collaborations with musicians such as Lil Nas X have also played a part in their strategy, positioning themselves as a true lifestyle brand.
The website is streamlined and premium, while making it very easy to navigate and find inspiration without facing too many barriers to purchase. Visuals play a big part of the shopping experience with lookbooks regularly produced to highlight how products can look styled in a completed look. This content gives every item a moment without the experience becoming messy and distracting. Image is everything here and you can see clearly that Aime Leon Dore understands the power of using sharp imagery.
Ami Paris is a brand that understands the power of storytelling particularly through high quality images and video. This brand’s website is designed to engage from the very first glimpse with the home page’s hero image launching straight into a video of the most recent runway show. All imagery has been stylised well across the site.
The brand offers look books of their runway shows to highlight new products and show how to pair a look together. Pulling this imagery together brings a form of ease and takes away the effort of searching the site for inspiration.
The design for this brand’s site has a refined and back-to-basic approach, taking away all of the bells and whistles, focusing on delivering a user-friendly experience with a clean cut interface. The design is easy to navigate and highly functional, providing a streamlined journey.
This is a brand that understands how to remain contemporary while still paying homage to its past through imagery and social media content. The lifestyle shots that Stussy uses feel authentic to the brand and encourage engagement with fans of the products.
This Japanese brand stays relevant with its brand style and they have had great collaborations with brands including Doc Martens and Adidas. Neighborhood started 2022 with a bang, collaborating with Adidas to release a pair of sneakers in a limited paisley print. Their website has been created in a way that makes finding new products easy and quick with its clean menu options. This is a brand that has taken full advantage of their limited ranges to create a real demand.
At first glance this brand could be mistaken for a construction company but Heron Preston has found a way to make traditionally B2B branding an aesthetic success. The burnt orange colour palette creates a stand out impression which makes the brand truly unique. The brand has the ability to be polarising enough to make the un-cool, cool like their collaboration with construction brand Caterpillar.
The social content that the brands curates is always consistent with the site’s tone of voice and continues to be provoking enough to encourage engagement. The brand makes sure that they stand out from other brands in all the right ways.
In contrast to other similar luxury fashion brands, Cav Empt have designed their website to resemble a vintage arcade game. They have cleverly made their limited product range feel expansive by taking over the entire screen with this game style design.
With a constantly evolving website, with regular updates in-line with new seasonal drops, this is a brand to watch as they continue to release new products. The limited product range is part of their success, creating high demand through an exclusive volume.
Over the past 3-6 months this brand has continued to gain popularity with its innovative and disruptive styles that have fed into current trends in the activewear industry. They have seen certain models sell out instantly with resale value on them skyrocketing. The web page has been designed to provide all the latest ranges and ‘how to guides’ in a clean way.
An integrated Instagram feed makes up their homepage, creating a stronger sense of community between the brand and customers. With a simple call to action encouraging customers to share their Instagram photos with the brand, the feed nicely brings the brand together.
Similarly, bundling on the Salomon site is approached differently to other brands to encourage a larger average basket value. With products such as their men’s running layering bundles, they have consolidated multiple product pages into one to remove any barriers to purchase here.
Another brand that isn’t shy to collaborate with a brand outside of their industry is A Cold Wall* after successfully working with Beats to reimagine the look of the traditional headphones through their brand’s lens.
Product landing pages showcase imagery in a new and interesting way, engaging visitors with usually unused white space, bringing images in off-screen. Collection landing pages are also designed well, with full screen rows and columns catching your attention.
A collaboration can be a good talking point for a brand by using the other to leverage its audience which Undercover have done successfully. Their collaboration with Eastpak to create a backpack and jacket received a lot of attention for the strangeness of the pairing - which was ultimately hugely successful. This brand often sells out of their products quickly and can be difficult to locate in Europe due to the high demand. A brand to watch for 2022 as they continue to try new things with their products.
This is another brand that has maximised on their limited product range by adding great visual tools to showcase them. Through their collaborations with brands like Converse and Globe-Trotter it is exciting to see how they continue to innovate and fit their brand in-line with brands outside of their industry. The use of video content is strong for this brand, placing several short videos on their homepage alongside their most recent product ranges.
They manage to achieve a high level of consistency with their colour palette and branding across all their digital channels. Their campaign with Globe-Trotter is the perfect example of this through the storytelling in the promotional video across the range and social content.
A brand that knows no compromise - offering comfortable clothes in an array of colours that is good for the planet. PANGAIA pride themselves on using materials that are driven by scientific innovations and maintain full transparency which can be seen across their digital output. The brand gives off the feel that anyone could wear their products whether it be one piece or a complete look like one of their tracksuits.
Recently launching a pop-up store in Hong Kong, the brand continues to grow and innovate. All of the content that the brand has created in conjunction with this launch remains consistent with their core brand while lending itself to the new audience.
The NYC based brand has been gaining popularity with their modern take on traditional menswear. Adsum is a brand that knows who their audience is, making this clear at every point of contact. A community based brand that thrives on the unconventional - like their blog posts, which are somewhat niche but drive on-site engagement that leads to purchases. This translates to their Instagram feed which is full of interesting but left-field content that never ceases to surprise. This understanding of the core brand identity is clearly executed across all channels cohesively.
Another brand that continues to produce excellent lifestyle products and designs is Maharishi. They are another keen collaborator who isn’t afraid to deviate from their familiar territory like they did with Claustrum, a bespoke metal phone case brand.
As a brand, Maharishi is certainly less conventional than a typical fashion brand. Their creative direction is unwavering, despite industry trends, as seen in their collaboration on a phone case with Claustrum, a steel company likely unheard of by their typical customer.
A notorious brand in Japan, Porter Yoshida is still yet to really make their mark in Europe (perhaps due to price point) but with the right collaboration could see an emergence. They produce high quality, functional but stylish handmade bags that are an investment piece. Previously working with Japanese brands and artists to collaborate including Kaws and Studio Ghibli.
Despite being a UK based brand, it feels like it is Japanese-fashion inspired at a more affordable price point. They have had many collaborations with brands such as Adidas that have been hugely popular. The brand exudes relaxation through its clean and paired back image style. Using lifestyle shots, it is clear that this brand doesn’t take itself too seriously and is happy to be a bit playful.
Packer are a brand that have been around for a while but are expected to see an explosion in the coming year. A lot of their popular products are born from collaborations including those with Saucony and Reebok as well as through the sale of other brands' goods.
The brand stays true to their target market, regularly paying homage to culture and interests that define their brand, such as their Snow Beach inspired shoes from the Wu Tang Clan music video.
Beams are another brand that produces a lot through collaborations, perhaps one of their most notable is with Netflix. The partnership with Netflix was the first branded item that the streaming services had released. The quality of the products that Beams offer have a lifespan beyond the shifts of contemporary streetwear and clothing trends. The brand has an exclusive vintage offering to their Japanese market which will also be very interesting to keep an eye on.
Alife is another high growth brand with really nice collaborations with brands such as Saucony. The marketing and creative is streamlined and simple, reminiscent of Apple’s innovative style. There is a human feel to the brand, which is evident from their best-in-class curated content on Instagram. This is a high quality brand with a nice balance of product variation, and one to watch.
Tell your brand story - the one takeaway that all of our favourite brands here does well is storytelling. Know your brand, and find interesting stories to tell through your on-site content, collaborations, your social community and more.
Keep collaborations exciting - collabs are everywhere with brands and no longer stand out on their own. Consumers are looking out for new and unexpected collaborations that are marketed in new ways.
Balance innovative style with best practice - whilst some of the brands here are doing new things with white space and functionality, they also know how to balance this with best practice so as not to confuse the user.
Integrate web with community - whether this is through embedded Instagram communities or user-generated content, these brands know how to capitalise on their social mentions by building a community and spotlighting this on-site.
Create spaces for customer engagement - build on your digital community with pop-up shops or sponsored events where your community can meet and be immersed in the brand.
Embrace mixed media - create content across multiple media that keeps your brand fresh and engaging, such as video content on-site or viral content on TikTok.
If you want to find out more about high growth DTC and need help maximising your online store, then get in touch at [email protected]