Founded off the catwalk and away from the glare of the normal fashion cycle, a clutch of womenswear labels have emerged in recent years as the source of clever separates and tailoring. The new labels are less seasonal in focus, and their comparative success in the unpredictable ready-to-wear market has been in creating things that are classic, seasonless and made for comfort. 

Issue Twelve cashmere-mix Grandpa coat, £995, cashmere Eve jumper, £450, organic cotton Tina shirt, £230, and wool Stanley trousers, £320
Issue Twelve cashmere-mix Grandpa coat, £995, cashmere Eve jumper, £450, organic cotton Tina shirt, £230, and wool Stanley trousers, £320
Issue Twelve wool Stanley trouser, £320
Issue Twelve wool Stanley trouser, £320
Issue Twelve organic silk Milo shirt, £370
Issue Twelve organic silk Milo shirt, £370

Leah Chapman launched the London-based Issue Twelve last year. “In a way my brand is more inspired by menswear,” says the designer, who has long enjoyed an insider’s eye on consumer habits, being the daughter of MatchesFashion founders Ruth and Tom Chapman. “While women’s clothing has historically been a lot more embellished and changeable seasonally, menswear is classic and straight,” she says. Her inspiration translates into pleat-front trousers in flattering shapes, recycled cashmere skirts and mannish overcoats in wool and herringbone. “We wanted to create a brand that focused on high-quality materials and classic shapes – tailored items but at a lower price point than the luxury market. It’s not our desire to be part of the fashion calendar – the focus is around research and good materials.”

Chapman grew up in a household where clothes and retail were often a topic of conversation. “My taste in fashion comes from watching my mum dress for work and her desire for clothes that are practical.” They also tick all the boxes in terms of sourcing – the merino in her collections comes from a farm in Australia, the yarn is woven at a century-old family-run mill in Italy, while the final garment is made in London. 

Tove cotton James top, £365
Tove cotton James top, £365
Tove silk Hollie dress, £625
Tove silk Hollie dress, £625
Tove organic cotton Elen top, £275
Tove organic cotton Elen top, £275

Tove Studio, another London-based label, has the same ethos. “We recognised there was a disparity between contemporary and luxury, and an opportunity for a modern, timeless and feminine womenswear brand,” says co-founder Holly Wright. Its philosophy is centred on women designing for women, and providing solutions for how the founders – both mothers and business owners – want to dress. “One of the key tenets of Tove is that our pieces are versatile and relevant to the life of the modern woman,” adds co-founder Camille Perry. “Our vision was to create a wardrobe of sustainable signature pieces that could transition easily between occasions, day-to-evening and work-to-family.”

Another Tomorrow merino sweater, $550
Another Tomorrow merino sweater, $550
Another Tomorrow merino wide-leg pants, $650
Another Tomorrow merino wide-leg pants, $650
Caes organic cotton blouse, €250
Caes organic cotton blouse, €250
Caes organic cotton-mix 0020 dress, €400
Caes organic cotton-mix 0020 dress, €400

Amsterdam-based Caes uses materials made from renewable wood pulp and recycled polyamide for its seasonless “editions”, while Another Tomorrow, based in New York, uses recycled cashmere, renewed denim and buttons made of nuts. Founder Vanessa Barboni Hallik has also launched an educational platform within Another Tomorrow’s online shop where customers can learn about sustainability, as well as make suggestions. “I thought that there was a better way for brands to be communicating transparently,” says Barboni Hallik. “We’re really focused on showing what that can look like, from supply chain transparency to storytelling and the way we use technology.” All of Another Tomorrow’s collections – excellent staples that include wide-leg pants, funnel-neck sweaters and oversized shirts – come with QR codes that show where the raw materials are sourced, the boat journey to the factory, and who assembled the finished piece.

Teurn Studios twill blazer, €550, twill trousers, €350, and shearling slippers, €350
Teurn Studios twill blazer, €550, twill trousers, €350, and shearling slippers, €350 © Senta Simond
Teurn Studios knitted Bella skirt, €350
Teurn Studios knitted Bella skirt, €350 © Senta Simond

Stockholm-based Teurn Studios, which launched at the end of last year, comes from Anna Teurnell who has led the design department at Arket for nearly five years. “I needed a place – my own universe – to create what I really love, in high quality,” says Teurnell. “I want to build a community around my ideas and thoughts, working with people I admire.” Teurn is based on the idea of a curated wardrobe of luxury essentials: a classic camel coat with elongated, slightly flared arms, or a black knitted tunic dress with fringing. 

“I want to contribute to a shift towards another type of consuming – it has to be long-lasting, high-quality and with a twist,” adds Teurnell. “My customer knows that clothes with these values make you feel good. She dresses for herself, and she is looking for a reliable wardrobe.”

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