#1: By Far
Founded last year, the Bulgarian shoe label aims to provide high quality yet affordable footwear. Their most popular styles include sleek suede mules and booties, worn by streetstyle stars like Aimee Song and Miroslava Duma, as well as celebrities like Lorde, Karlie Kloss and Emma Roberts.
The brand also possesses a green conscience: One-third of the collection is made from deadstock leather, which a Vogue article reveals as something that contributes to the exclusivity of some designs, because some deadstock material is only enough to produce one or two pairs. From €330 (S$478)
#2: Brother Vellies
While New York serves as its base, the sustainable accessory brand’s shoes are made in South Africa, Kenya, Morocco and Ethiopia. Its first tribal-inflected collection was launched in 2014, and the brand won the prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award a year later.
Its signature offering: Feathery pumps and tufted sandals in fun colours like pastel pink and vampy finishes like glitter and leopard print. So it’s hardly a surprise that style mavens like Eva Chen, Solange Knowles and Zendaya dig them. From US$235 (S$317)
#3: Gray Matters
The year-old New York-based label’s most visually arresting design is the Mildred Egg, a mule with a rounded, hand-carved and hand-painted heel that looks more like a work of art thanks to its sculptural influences. Also in its collection: Ankle boots, heeled loafers and block heel pumps, all of which exude a polished, laid-back vibe.
Though it’s still a fledgling brand, celebrities like Dakota Johnson and fashion stars like Leandra Medine have already been spotted in their shoes. One possible factor for its meteoric rise to fame (it’s amassed an impressive 23,000 Instagram followers at press time) could be that Italian-born founder Silvia Avanzi was formerly working in brand strategy for labels like Stuart Weitzman and Donna Karan. From US$487 (S$656)
The two-year-old LA-based label is best known for its classic block heel pump style. Its designs, which are made in Spain, are pared-down and minimalist, but still reflect a sophisticated touch thanks to the use of luxe materials like suede and mink calf leather.
So far, Loq has been featured on Vogue, Who What Wear and Racked, and has garnered close to 100,000 followers on Instagram as at press time. Amongst its fans: Solange Knowles (who featured certain styles in music videos for the songs “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Cranes In The Sky”) and Instagram style star Olivia Lopez. From US$300 (S$404)
#5: Reike Nen
The seven-year-old Seoul-based brand offers classic silhouettes with a twist, like block heel pumps with a chain link buckle and colour-blocking loafers and boots. Its quirky-meets-practical styles are a popular choice for rising style star Reese Blutstein, and were also worn by K-pop star Sandara Park in a magazine feature last year.
Why you should continue to keep an eye on it: It appeared in a Vogue story last month as one of three brands that have contributed to Seoul’s reputation as a city to score cool kicks in. From US$331 (S$446)
#6: Sanayi 313
More than just a footwear label, this is a Turkish brand concept that spans design, art and even food. Its shoe designs, which are produced in the brand’s Instanbul atelier, are eye-catching and flamboyant, thanks to intricate hand-embroidered motifs like stars, spiders and cherries.
At all of two years old, its pieces are already stocked on major e-tailers like Matches Fashion and Net-A-Porter, as well as Singapore-based store Edit Lifestyle (137-139 Tanglin Road). What’s more: It girls Gigi Hadid and Selena Gomez have been snapped wearing them. How’s that for serious style cred? From €635 (S$1,011)
Main image: www.loq.us