Given the current global crisis, shopping for anything beyond the essentials can feel like an indulgence. What’s the good in a new sweater when first-responders can’t even get masks? But shopping—one of the few things to be done in the (hopefully cozy) confines of one’s home quarantine—can actually do a great deal of good right now.
Based on recent reports, it’s estimated that the fashion industry employs over 300 million people across the globe. From textiles mills to seamstresses, manufacturers to retailers, there are a lot of people who make a living off of what we wear. As Covid-19 has forced a majority of production to pause, the effects are rippling through fashion’s supply chain. It’s an especially precarious situation for smaller, independent brands who don’t have the security of a corporation to fall back on. But even at this challenging time, many niche brands are rising to the occasion, finding novel ways to serve their customers and keep employees on the payroll. Some are even giving back to those people in even greater need.
With brick-and-mortar retail on hold, these brands are counting on online sales to help them weather the storm. Trivial as it may seem, ordering that sweater just might ease some of the damage Covid-19 has wreaked. There are more small businesses to support than we could possibly list here but, to help you do some benevolent shopping, here are 32 of Robb Report’s favorite indie brands currently open for business online.
Alice Made This
A London-based jewelry brand that offers all manner of sleek bibelots using a combination of industrial and artisanal techniques.
In the few years since it was founded, Beige has become Paris’ menswear mecca for everything from Justo Gimeno blazers to Doek sneakers.
Berg & Berg
A relatively new tailoring brand out of Stockholm that does classic menswear with a Scandi sense of understated cool.
Emily Bode has forged an entirely unique aesthetic, combining vintage textiles, quilts, and ephemera into a collection of exceedingly charming—and often one-of-a-kind—menswear.
Though historically known as a purveyor of deeply luxurious leather goods (the brand’s hides have upholstered everything from Rolls-Royce interiors to the seats in the Houses of Parliament in the UK), Connolly offers a whole range of exquisitely crafted essentials, from sweaters to socks, and just recently launched an online shop.
Still owned and operated by the same family that founded it in 1879, Crockett & Jones is an exemplar of English shoes. From cordovan brogues to unlined suede loafers, it offers superlative iterations of footwear classics.
A Swedish footwear brand turning out sneakers with a level of detail and handwork typically seen in the finest dress shoes.
You likely need no introduction: a tried-and-true source for natty wardrobe staples and polished casual wear.
Exclusively using natural materials like vegetable-tanned leather and cork, Feit’s hand-sewn, hand-lasted boots and sneakers are an artisanal upgrade to your standard kicks.
One of the few sources for made-in-America leather goods, this Massachusetts-based brand has been dedicated to crafting timelessly handsome bags, belts and more since 1970.
Founded in 1883, Hamilton is the oldest American shirt-maker still in existence. With an array of dress and sport shirts as well as a custom-made service, Hamilton can answer most any shirt need.
Jake Mueser is best known for his bench-made bespoke suits and custom shirting, but he also has a selection of equally dapper ready-to-wear, from gun check blazers to corduroys, that can be ordered online.
After giving a $10,000 donation to UCLA Health Fund to support the medical staff on the front lines of Covid-19, Elliott is offering a 25 percent discount on his most coveted tees and sweats, with 10 percent of the proceeds from those pieces going to the same cause.
Rhode Island-based Lotuff not only creates beautiful, hand-crafted leather bags (fancy a new duffle?) but it is also committed to employing young, local artists—many of them graduates of the nearby Rhode Island School of Design.
Finding the perfect belt can be a surprisingly challenging task, but Brooklyn’s Maximum Henry makes it easy with a variety of widths, colors of vegetable-tanned leather, and brass or silver buckles to combine to your liking.
Stocked with the likes of Brunello Cucinelli and John Lobb, Mitchells is one of the longest-running, and most esteemed, family-run boutiques in the country. The Mitchell family has also preserved a network of other local shops from coast to coast: Richards of Greenwich, Wilkes Bashford of San Francisco and Marios of Oregon.
No Man Walks Alone
NMWA is a prime source for the kind of menswear we love: elegant, wearable and thoughtfully made. Right now, they are offering 20 percent off on all orders and are donating 20 percent of proceeds to Meals on Wheels.
This young brand quickly gained a devoted following for its breed of streetwear with touches of traditional tailoring.
A one-stop-shop for building a smart-casual wardrobe, Officine Générale makes pieces that exude that enviable Parisian air of nonchalance.
Paolo Martorano Bespoke
Martorano is a young tailor with an old soul who exclusively deals in bespoke tailoring—an especially difficult service to provide at the moment. Evolving to the circumstances, he’s offering customers the opportunity to purchase gift cards, at 15 percent off, that will pre-pay for future garments. To boot: 15 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Island Harvest, a nonprofit providing meals to the elderly and at-risk.
Jewelry designer Jean Prounis has revived goldsmithing techniques from antiquity, bringing a bit of the old world to her studio in New York’s Diamond District. Right now, she’s donating a portion of her proceeds to No Kid Hungry, Food Bank for New York City and Citymeals on Wheels.
Designer Kirby Jean-Raymond is not only one of New York fashion’s brightest talents, he’s one of its most altruistic. He turned his office into a collection center for donations of essential supplies like gloves and masks for medical workers and has allotted $50,000 to help women and minority-owned small businesses cover their payrolls and urgent costs.
Small, thoughtfully-edited multi-brand stores are increasingly rare in the world of retail, but Sid Mashburn’s five outposts across the country make a case for the indie boutique’s enduring relevance. Mashburn’s online shop is currently offering 20 percent off site-wide, in what they’re calling the Prevail Sale.
Applying a level of customization typically seen in suiting to casual wear, Stòffa makes easy work of off-duty elegance. The brand’s online shop is currently closed but they are offering gift cards—buy one and you’ll have something to look forward to once Covid-19 is behind us.
The sculptural, hand-wrought designs of this New York jeweler are prime talismans for the current moment. Plus, 30 percent of every purchase will go towards providing meals through No Kid Hungry.
Few stores of the past decade have played a bigger part in the way men dress in Manhattan and Hong Kong than The Armoury. From Ring Jacket suits to Carmina shoes, it is an emporium of menswear’s finest.
The Elder Statesman
Designer Greg Chait took cashmere off its pedestal, imbuing artfully made knits with a groovy, SoCal sense of ease. The brand’s L.A. headquarters employs a number of skilled hand-knitters, weavers and dyers under one roof.
London’s Trunk Clothiers stocks a keenly edited selection of classics that add up to a look of timeless polish.
Turnbull & Asser
Founded in 1885, Turnbull & Asser made shirts for many of the twentieth century’s great men, from Winston Churchill to John Lennon. It may be one of the most celebrated shirtmakers in the world, but such bastions still need support to ensure another 100+ years.
Vintage watch dealer Carl Cohen has a collection that speaks to novices and collectors alike, curated with an attention to style as much as rarity.