I find few things more thrilling than the adrenaline rush of chancing upon a new brand on Instagram. I wish I could drink the sensation for breakfast every morning because it invigorates me like a protein shake spiked with caffeine and allows me to fancy myself a digital Magellan, exploring the uncharted waters of Instagram’s Discover Feed, compass (i.e. iPhone) in hand.
I was doing so just the other day when the profile of a girl with a pearl earring and pink hair clamp caught my eye. I recently wrote a story about my hair clamp obsession, so I clicked in, but once I did, it was the earring that really grabbed my attention. It was a baroque pearl hanging from a small gold hoop, reminiscent of the Céline pearls seen ’round the world this season but slightly simpler. Upon further investigation, I learned it was designed by a Denmark-based brand called Anni Lu. I followed the Instagram account, bookmarked the photo and haven’t stopped thinking of baroque pearls since.
More and more fledgling brands are using social media as a portal into the popular consciousness, circumventing the “middleman” aspect of a department store or big online retailer and reaching their customers directly. It engenders an unprecedented sense of intimacy as we (the customers, that is) get to follow their success, and cheer on designers along the way. It also taps into the basic human craving for your taste or style to tell a story that goes beyond buying something simply because everyone else has it.
Instagram discoveries are more personal, tailored to you by an algorithm that knows exactly what you like — literally. They feel a whole lot more special as a result, which I think is part of what makes me, and other people I’ve talked to, so passionate about the discoveries that come to light. I’m always greedy for more, so I asked eight cool people from the Man Repeller network (team members and freelance contributors) to tell me about a brand they’ve discovered recently on the seas of social media. Find their answers below, and share yours in the comments.
Who discovered it: Leandra Medine, Founder
Where she found it: Through the discover feed, which is really where I find everything these days, including the cacao powder that I put in my coffee.
Why it’s cool: I love that it’s a give-zero-fucks brand that decided to make fragrance AND jewelry. I also love that the jewelry looks like fine jewelry, but isn’t priced like fine jewelry.
What product she’s currently eyeing: The sweetheart earrings are what caught my eye on Instagram, but when I went to the site I learned that I’m really into the pulp ring (lavender orange) and the felt ring (red and blue).
Who discovered it: Leandra (again)
Where she found it: The discover page served it to me! They must know I am trying to up my Freakebana game and that I need new bowls.
Why it’s cool: Maybe I am growing up because I have been really into flatware/dishes as of late and I like the simplicity of Year and Day’s offering. The site lets you build your own sets, they come at an approachable price point and really speak to that minimalist Scandinavian vibe that I think I’m into but always prove to myself I am not (see: the elephant wallpaper in my apartment).
What product she’s currently eyeing: Right now I have my eye on their big bowls in the color “daybreak” because I find myself needing bowls all the time and don’t have enough.
Where she found it: My friend Lindsay tagged them in an Instagram story and I spotted some hunter green block heeled sandals that I LOVED. I think I sent her a DM that said “NEED.”
Why it’s cool: The shoes are minimal enough to go with everything, but also stand out with distinctive little details like the hardware. They also look super luxe (i.e. the leather looks smooth AF) and comfortable. I’m not really a heels girl (I would be if I could convince my feet to think of pain as beauty), but these definitely seem like the kind of heels I’d wear.
What product she’s currently eyeing: I don’t think the ones she Instagrammed come out until later this year (because Lindsay is cool and hip like that and also the fashion editor at The Cut), but I am eying these toe ring sandals that come in black and white (I want both) with gold hardware. They just look like something I could wear for the next three summers, and that’s my standard for whether or not I should buy something new.
Who discovered it: Emily Zirimis, Visual Manager
Where she found it: In a photo that someone else posted and tagged. I love the aesthetic — it’s a great mix of old and new.
Why it’s cool: They sell a combo of both new home decor and curated vintage.
What product she’s currently eyeing: Round velvet pillows — I don’t know what color yet, I can’t decide! I think rust. (Just FYI, there’s no direct link to buy online, you have to go in person to the shop).
Who discovered it: Juliana Salazar, Stylist/Consultant and Man Repeller contributor
Where she found it: I cannot, for the life of me, remember how I found Adolfo’s account. Every once in a while, when my feed feels stale and boring, I’ll visit the accounts of people who I think are cool and look at who they are following. I’m pretty sure one of those searches led me to Adolfo.
Why it’s cool: I love how his designs feel simple and complex at the same time. I also enjoy all the inspiration he posts of other designers’ chairs. I’m really into chairs right now.
What product she’s currently eyeing: His cobra chair immediately caught my eye. The shape makes it cool regardless, but I think the different colors add a lot of quirk to it. It’s sophisticated but not too serious. I also love his slim lamp. There’s something cartoonish about it, as if it could be a drawing on your wall.
Who discovered it: Louisiana Gelpi, Visuals Coordinator
Where she found it: I can’t remember if I found it through my explore page or through a chain of random profiles. I saw these earrings and was immediately hooked.
Why it’s cool: She’s a self-taught jewelry designer and her jewelry is all handcrafted. Her pieces are inspired by her South African heritage, which is really cool.
What product she’s currently eyeing: The cherry charm hoop earrings!
Where she found it: I discovered it through Charlotte Kraska’s Instagram (@charlykraska). She was wearing Crasca’s first piece: a glittery polka-dot top with wide sleeves, the kind of perfect evening top I’d given up on finding.
Why it’s cool: It was founded by Charlotte, who is the buyer at a high-end fashion boutique called Anita Hass in Hamburg, Germany, and Christian Villwock, the owner of Anita Hass. Charlotte is a friend of mine, and I’ve always admired her great eye for simple yet refined pieces (you know, the kind of pieces that make you remember the woman who’s in them). That’s the aesthetic she’s going for with Crasca now. Since Charlotte has worked for Anita Hass for a long time, she’s very good at telling the difference between a hyped trend piece and an item you will love forever. Whenever I walk into the Anita Hass boutique she always knows what I’m looking for before I do. I trust her taste 100 percent.
What product she’s currently eyeing: I love the polka-dot top! It’s casual with a glamorous twist. I want to wear it with white vintage 501 jeans once this endless winter comes to an end.
Who discovered it: Elizabeth Tamkin, Market Assistant
Where she found it: A photo someone else posted. I am always on the lookout for great gold hoops.
Why it’s cool: I like that they’re a twist on classic gold hoops with their slightly dimpled shape.
What product she’s currently eyeing: The Fat Snake Earrings. THEY LOOK SO GOOD DOUBLED UP ON A MULTI-HOLE EAR.
Who discovered it: Elizabeth (again)
Why it’s cool: Andy Wolf has SO many cool designs and each comes in tons of different colors.
What product she’s currently eyeing: I love the Akira in red. I’m also really into OVERSIZE sunglasses again (sorry), so I love the Jan in gray too. The Florence is a super narrow style that is very trendy right now and I wouldn’t mind a pair in blue.
Where she found it: I can’t remember the genesis of discovery — it was definitely via one of the many fashionable people I follow for style on Instagram, but I kept noticing the shoes appear on more and more accounts, in different colors/leathers and finally on a late night whim I added these ankle boots to my shopping cart and threw splurge-caution to the wind (they were a bit of a splurge for me, owner of SO MANY ankle boots).
Why it’s cool: All of their shoes have a very cool architectural/minimal heel and toe situation going on.
What product she was eyeing: The boots, which I already purchased. I love their candy-shell patent leather texture (I’m a texture person, for sure) and the square block heel! I got really hyped on the idea of stomping around on their bloody liquid square chunk. I feel slightly like a sucker for succumbing to the Instagram algorithm’s sneaky marketing, and while I’m well aware that targeted ads are essentially like a cute suitor who will just NOT quit texting even though I’ve not taken the bait, maybe I will indulge just this once even though I know you’re not serious, Wes! Sorry, that went in a personal direction.
What about you? What brands have you discovered via Instagram’s treasure-filled waters of late? I am truly eager to know.