*This post is not sponsored and only reflects my personal tastes
Illustrious fashion guru and Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour argues “Fashion is not about looking back. It’s always about looking forward.” I would challenge her claim by alleging that childhood memories can be enhanced by beautifully crafted and comfortable pieces of clothing.
After spending countless hours browsing the internet in the search of independent labels offering exquisite handmade clothes (yep! you can call me OBSESSIVE), I finally concocted a curated collection of my ten favourite brands to the delight of the fashion-addicts among you, my dear readers.
1. Nellie Quats
This London-based brand offers the most charming handmade clothes for girls aged 18 months to 10 years. All pieces have a romantic and nostalgic flare and I am completely in love with their linen dresses in muted tones and jumpsuits in vibrant Liberty of London prints. The items are simple and functional, yet of high quality; perfect for everyday life!
2. La Coqueta
“La Coqueta is nestled in North London but is Proudly made in Spain.” With a statement like this on their website, it is easy to understand the dazzling success encountered by the independent Spanish label. Their timeless, vintage-inspired clothing line has a modern twist and Iberian accents. Brand owner Celia Munoz draws inspiration from her memories in Southern Spain. The label uses design methods and sewing techniques that are centuries old. La Coqueta’s unique style attracts hordes of Londoners who can now shop the brand in the heart of Hampstead village and more recently, on the posh Ledbury Road in Notting Hill. Smock dresses, baby sets and other items are all crafted with durable, classic fabrics so they can be passed on to the next baby and still look great. The shoes are also incredibly beautiful and well-made. Just take a look for yourself, you won’t regret it!
3. Louise Misha
To understand the feel behind each Louise Misha creation, we have to go back to when it all started. It is the story of two Parisian girls, Aurélie and Marie, who traveled to India and found inspiration for their brand in the the vivid colours and scents of Delhi. In 2012, they launched a line of handmade jewelry for little girls. The brand then expanded into clothing and accessory collections for babies, girls and women, now also offering some gorgeous twinning opportunities for mother and daughter!
The poetic detailing, eclectic notes and vivid tones splash on each and every item. Shapes are flowing, playful and bohemian-inspired. All the dresses, blouses, rompers and bloomers converge to this magical universe of freedom, joy and adventures. Just like the clothing collection, the accessories are whimsical and delicate.
If you are looking for British elegance and understated charm, this is your pit stop. The children’s collection reflects a subtle harmony between styles: items are luxurious, yet tough-wearing; traditionally made in Europe yet unconventional. You can find quirky notes here and there and a rich palette of colours renewed every season. Overall, the baby and child clothing lines offer distinctive pieces with a refined simplicity and a modern touch, that will be worn day in, day out and always feel good. The British brand has grown to present the same understated luxury in womenswear and homewares.
When days get colder and I need chunky knits and thermals for my daughter, I always start by browsing on MamaOwl’s website. MamaOwl is a London-based online boutique established by Anna, a Danish mother who spotted a gap in the market when trying to shop for her first baby during London cold months. As she could not find the same brands or variety of wool thermals as in Denmark, she started importing her favourite ones. According to her, untreated wool has undisputed advantages: a soft fibre that helps regulate your temperature, rejects dirt and does not need as much cleaning.
You will find wool and alpaca fleece suits, sweaters and hats that are made of organic merino wool and other natural fibres from Scandinavian and German labels such as FUB, Serendipity, Joha, Disana and Engel. The online shop also sells comfortable bodies and basics in soft cotton. Natural fibres, ethical production and good quality are the core elements of each label carefully selected by Anna. Brands are varied, with very different prices that suit everybody’s budget. The website has now expanded to offer a curated selection of brands that are not otherwise widely stocked in the UK, – including the trending Misha & Puff popcorn sweaters, sturdy Angulus shoes and delicate Soor Ploom linen clothing – which makes it the perfect online boutique for all year round.
6. Young Soles
Comfortable and stylish shoes for growing feet are a nightmare to find. High-street shops mainly sell flashy shoes (and oh so many pink pairs for girls!) and I struggled for a while to find a brand that offers classic British heritage styles with a contemporary feel. Young Soles do just that. From their studio in East London, the company designs lightweight footwear for both boys and girls from toddler to junior. The shoes are made in Europe using the highest quality materials. The soft and supple leathers and flexible outsoles make the shoes practical to walk with, run and stomp around the place. The T-Bar models look both traditional and effortlessly cool!
7. Tocoto Vintage
Inspired by travels and vintage garments found in antique markets, the collection offers a romantic palette of neutral colours – grey, taupe, dusty pink and weathered blues -, wrapped in a harmonious combination of lace edgings and subtle finishes made with meticulous care. The universe of the brand is all about simplicity, nostalgia and softness and finds its roots in the landscapes of the small island of Fomentera. Clothes are handmade using soft jerseys and cottons, suitable for everyday life.
8. Numero 74
Numero 74 is a Spanish home décor and fashion brand. Creations are handmade by a women’s community in Thailand, who receive a fair wage and who have ancestral know-how that respects local traditions. Each fashion piece is made from their singular lightly crumpled texture of soft cotton and in a poetic colour palette of lightly washed-out shades. Children’s bedroom decoration include bed canopies, tipis, cushions and garlands which will transport your child to a cozy and enchanting world. The little ones’ imagination will be delighted by the butterfly wings, fairy wands, flower headbands and other varied costumes. This creative lifestyle brand also provides a complete range of baby essentials as well as bed and bath linens for the whole family. It is money well spent (prices are very reasonable for the clothing range): you acquire a beautiful item and support a community of artisan women at the same time!
9. April Showers
The children’s brand offers a laid-back Parisian style with minimalist shapes and soft quality fabrics. In 2007, the creative duo of Dutch sisters – Madelon Lanteri-Laura and Natalie Vodegel – at the head of the Parisian label Polder, launched their clothing and accessory collections “April Showers” aimed at babies and girls ages 4 to 14. Each season offers a bold, colourful and breezy line. It is definitely a good place to shop for chic outfits with a relaxed French touch.
Ketiketa, which means “girl and boy” in Nepali, is a French label which started in 2007 with the aim to create refined clothes from traditional Nepalese fabrics and ancestry techniques. “Dumbar kumasi” is a fabric named after a Nepalese princess, who brought the technique of block printing back from India to Nepal in the 19th century. Clothing, bed linen and decorative accessories all present exotic prints and delicate colour shades, and are made from natural materials. The brand works with local carvers, independent printers and small sewing workshops to ensure high standards of quality with ethical production principles.