In the past years I worked for an online boutique for 3 years that specialised in jewellery and accessories made by local artisans from around the world. Since then it has become quite hard for me to buy anything much more than socks and basic t-shirts and other essentials from mass produced brands on the high street where you just know everyone has all the same pieces. I do also love an ethically sourced piece of design or a website that supports an up and coming designer, artist or artisan in some far flung corner of the world.
I am often asked where I buy my clothes, accessories, shoes and jewellery from so I thought I’d do a little roundup of my very favourite online boutiques and marketplaces and also throw in a few new ones I am yet to personally explore but look promising – to be explored and enjoyed!
There are many many sites out there and new ones keep popping up all the time – but here is a Top 5 selection of boutiques (in no particular order) according to me anyway!
Of A Kind – a big big personal favourite of mine!! This US-based boutique for emerging designers has a great eye for curation and though I would not buy everything they pick, there are a lot of pieces I absolutely love and lust after! Current and past designers include the likes of VeraMeat, Wanderluster and Kathryn Bentley (love, love!) – and they also work in the space of interior design, functional design and furniture – they can cater to a whole lifestyle of supporting independent and emerging designers and artists, so what are you waiting for – get on there and shop!
Style Verdict: very urban, minimal, very NYC-chic, perfect execution of a slick and clean website with excellent email newsletters that are actually interesting and I read every time (extremely rare feat!!), easy to use and great selection of designers that are genuinely hard if not impossible to find anywhere else. The interior/ home section is also great for gifting those design aficionados we all know.
The Little Market – a beautiful site that also caters to interior design needs and every has a section for the little ones! Empowering (predominantly women) artisans worldwide, I would just buy everything in my life from this site if I could afford to! Their mission is to build sustainable partnerships with artisans around the world, by connecting them with customers through an online marketplace. They seek to empower women artisans to rise above poverty and support their families.
Style Verdict: goes down quite the yummy-mummy route – but nothing wrong with that if it’s done well and they definitely do. Perfect for gifting – think of all those handmade candles and knitted stuffed toys! Islington-Guardianista-Heaven surely??
Otiumberg.com – a relatively new site that I have not yet shopped on myself was apparently founded by two jewel-obsessed sisters, Christie and Rosanna. Combining backgrounds in the art and fashion industries (my-oh-my-do-they-sound-every-inch-the-spoilt-entitled-little-girls-eh). The designers featured on Otiumberg have apparently been hand picked because of their “inspiring craftsmanship, their passion for what they do, and above all their stunning designs”. Designers so far include the likes of Maria Francesca Pepe, Bellebas, Zoe & Morgan and Sunday Somewhere.
Style Verdict: a very good attempt at clean minimal chic, good mix of designers, I feel they are trying to do the high-end of casual – especially with brands like Sunday Somewhere. I imagine they could be very popular in Australia with their cas-chic style.
Pernia’s Pop Up Shop – perhaps the name is a tad misleading as there isn’t much very “pop up” about this online store…but don’t let that stop you, worry not, they’re around 365 days a year and not about to pop down/ away! Style queen Pernia Qureshi brings a great selection of Indian designers to the global stage with her online venture – ranging from jewellery to even men’s fashion, it’s all here. The list of designers seems endless, some of my favourites are Eina Ahluwalia (stunning jewellery), Eshaani Jayaswal (gorgeous dresses), Nikhil Thampi’s mind-blowing contemporary Indian fashion, Nachiket Barwe’s draped dresses and the super fun fashion jewellery by Maira. Can you tell yet how much I love the selection here?!
Style Verdict: Serious heavyweight South Asian (Desi) POW-POW from the more traditional to the very contemporary. If Wonder Woman was a curator of South Asian fashion, this would be her very own website. Might be slightly intimating to our non-Desi friends sadly, but please do not be afraid, the amazing and unique designers that you will discover with have you addicted in no time!
Carnet De Mode – a French player on the scene with tagline “unique fashion and accessories from around the world”. Being French they do however sadly fulfill the cliche of not being very international and being quite insular with most designers being French or from nearby European countries – quelle surprise. Impressive to see that they do however already have a translated Chinese website though (clever, as I’m sure there is a huge thirst for “french chic” on the market there at the moment). But they do have some of my favourite independent designers on there including Adin & Royale (jewellery from Israel), Moeva London (stunning swimwear) and the fun fashion jewellery from OhLaLa!.
Style Verdict: does a good job once you get past the annoying pop-ups, a substantial range of designers including some interesting countries of origin despite the overwhelming number of French designers. Clearly a French website with the amount of lingerie on offer compared to any other site as well ;) not sure how their customer service might be though as I’ve not tried them yet.