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Any fashion girlie will tell you: International brands are where its at. Iconic fashion houses like Gucci, Prada, Chanel and more are still trailblazers to this day, while more affordable options like Zara, Mango and Ganni are leveling up their offerings by staying even more on top of friends (and creating new ones!). From the viral green Zara dress that made waves over the summer to Ganni’s signature oversized collar look, it’s easier than ever to stand out and find your own unique sense of fashion on a budget.
One of my favorite things about fashion is that if you have an eye for it, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your pieces. The best looks are thrown together with a mix of high and low items that come together with the wearer’s personality. With luxury brands, it’s best to invest in a piece that you know you’ll get consistent use out of and styles that stand the test of time. Don’t hit the buy button too quickly on trending bag or shoe styles that will be out of season by next year. The same goes for fast(er) fashion brands; you don’t want to pick up something affordable only to wear it a few times, only to eventually send it to the donation bin.
With that in mind, more and more international brands are serving unique styles at every price point, and right now international brands are hotter than ever. Here are a few of the brands we’re shopping now, and the best stand-out pieces to invest in to help build your wardrobe over time.
Prada launched in 1913 in Milan, Italy selling just travel accessories like bags and luggage. Since then it has evolved into the clothing, footwear and even beauty space with its fragrances.
I’m obsessed with every piece Prada is putting out lately with the triangle logo on it. It’s so chic—can’t you just picture stepping outside with your crossbody bag, socks and loafers for dinner with the girls? I need this ASAP.
House of Gucci anyone? Although this brand has a sordid history, it has been a coveted mainstay in the fashion industry since its launch in 1921 by Guccio Gucci .
Remember those loafers I mentioned above? It doesn’t look like this trend is going out of style any time soon. This is a great staple item to invest in that is sure to evolve with the seasons.
Chanel is practically synonymous with Paris, and it was founded there in 1910, at a time when it was still considered ~wild~ for women to wear blouses with trousers. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel began designing hats and quickly jumped into ready to wear—designing clothes that were both stylish and comfortable for women, coming off of a time when clothing for women was still very restrictive.
To this day, Chanel is a bucket-list brand, with its coveted handbags retailing on average for around $5,000-$10,000. This dreamy cashmere sweater crop top rivals NYC rent, but wow it’s worth it.
Ganni was founded in 2000 as a cashmere line, but it wasn’t until husband and wife Nicolaj and Ditte Reffstrup joined the helm in 2009 that the brand began to gain notoriety as a ready to wear luxury brand selling dresses, tops and more.
Today Ganni is infamous for its whimsical collars, staple tees and dresses for all occasions. Vests as tops are trending for the summer-fall transition weather, and this one’s just under $200.
Many people don’t know that Zara is a brand founded in 1975 in Spain. Since then, it’s become known for bringing international trends stateside at an affordable price.
Mango is another brand founded in Spain in 1984. Mango is privately owned and is known stateside for its over sized blazers and trench coats that the brand ships out directly from its factory in Spain to its Mango stores around the world.
If you were a fashion girlie in the early 2010s, you can probably remember the first time you walked into an H&M store and had your mind blown. For me, it was when I visited New York City for the first time, since H&M hadn’t yet made it to smaller American towns yet at the time.
H&M is based in Sweden and was founded in 1947 and didn’t make it to the U.S. until 2000. This checkered sweater dress is a great way representation of the brand which quickly takes current trends and puts them on the market for under $50.
8. Stella McCartney
The way fashion majors lived and died for Stella McCartney’s Falabella bag when it launched in 2009 is the kind of fashion success most designers can only dream of. McCartney’s vision of a slouchy luxury bag that was not made from leather proved to be a brilliant idea with iconic staying power for the brand. Today, McCartney’s designs are still celebrated world wide and if you’re very patient, you can find her designer duds on sale at luxury fashion outlets.
9. Yuhan Wang
Yuhan Wang is a London-based Chinese designer who studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins in London before working with brands like JW Anderson and Oscar de la Renta before launching her own namesake brand in 2018.
10. Autumn Adeigbo
Celebs like Florence Pugh, Gabrielle Union and Kerry Washington can’t get enough of Autumn Adeigbo’s designs, which quickly launched her self-titled brand (launched in 2016) into stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom and more. Make sure to check out her dresses and jumpsuits, in addition to her famous platform pumps shown here.