Shop Austin’s Best Emerging Brands for Fall Fashion
Hamaila, Jowa, Aro and more designers create unforgettable pieces that will define your style
By Holly Cowart
With bold vision and fearless ambition, these brands are molding the future of Austin style standards, raising the bar to meet the demand for unlimited access to self-expression. Learn more about these unforgettable designers and show yourself some love with the latest fall wardrobe essentials, handcrafted, community-driven and made from the heart.
“Jewelry is that final little touch that has the potential to make or break a look,” says Austin designer and maker Hamaila Qureshi. The metalsmith recently celebrated the release of her first official collection, inspired by a trip to Arcosanti—an experimental city north of Phoenix conceptualized by Italian architect Paolo Soleri and rooted in minimal living and sustainability. Qureshi was immediately flooded with design possibilities. The resulting series, made in partnership with the Cosanti Foundation, is both beautiful and beneficial, with 25 percent of proceeds going to further the organization’s vision. Qureshi’s current favorite is the Keyhole Hoops, handmade from nickel-free sterling silver. “To me, they are Arcosanti distilled into a single piece of jewelry,” she says. Follow Hamaila’s Instagram for updates on the upcoming holiday collection, which will expand on the influence of architecture in fashion. hamaila.com
Moving to Texas in 2016, Eunhwa Jung struggled to find stores that had the same fashion-forward style as those back home in South Korea. So, she took matters into her own hands, establishing her very own brand two years later.
Adapting to more days spent indoors this year, Jung launched a three-part Stay Well Series in August. She started with a dreamy Stay Home collection of earth-toned garments before introducing the Wash Your Hands project—the brand’s first venture outside fashion—with the high-quality soap company Hanahzo. The final installation is titled Self-Care and launches in mid-September alongside Jowa’s upcoming 2020 F/W collection. Fans can expect transformational looks that fuse casual comfort with formal accents, invoking an “Anytime, Anywhere” vibe. Jowa’s gorgeous pieces are sure to become everyday staples. thejowa.com
ARO is a meeting place for lovers of underground fashion to discover independent designers from around the world. Thoughtfully curated by founder Leslie Hernandez, the boutique specializes in jewelry while also carrying clothing, apothecary products and an expanding selection of home décor. Hernandez is also in the beginning stages of forming ARO’s next contemporary collection, which will be heavily influenced by Mexican modernist design. Find your future statement piece online or at the boutique’s East Fifth Street location. shop-aro.com
What happens when you combine Aussie roots with Texas living and a whole lotta love? A one-of-a-kind brand that aims to add confidence to every wardrobe. Understated Leather released its Count Your Lucky Stars Fall 2020 collection in August, made in collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist Jen Mussari. The leather and jean creations are meant to instill hope and positivity with custom lettering and embroidery. “The Scribble Moto [Jacket] and Scribble Sweatshirt are two of my favorite styles from the fall collection,” says owner Jennifer Kassell. “The Scribble Sweatshirt is actually the first sweatshirt we’ve ever done.” Follow the brand on social media to stay up to date with upcoming drops, including an exclusive style coming this September—available only at the Maufrais South Congress location. understatedleather.com
After repeatedly getting stopped in the street with compliments and questions about her head wraps, Paola Mathé left her career in hospitality to start her own business. Pronounced “Fum-Jum,” the Haitian Creole name means “strong woman”—and nothing exemplifies the brand better.
Through her captivating designs and indulgent color palettes, the artist has harnessed her personal style to help women embrace their authentic selves while investing in her community. Fanm Djanm’s modern take on traditional African styles has also added to the visibility of fashion created specifically with Black skin tones and hair in mind. “I feel like growing up there’s so many things I’ve been told to do in terms of how to wear my hair to be accepted,” says Mathé. “But head wraps always made me feel regal. They always made me feel stronger and more like me.”
Mathé has unending ideas for growing Fanm Djanm into a far-reaching lifestyle brand, including the introduction of a locally printed T-shirt line featuring phrases like “Protect Black Joy,” with all proceeds donated to organizations that provide mental health support for Black women. Be sure to keep an eye out for her stunning spice-inspired collection of head wraps and the opening of her new Austin studio this fall. fanmdjanm.com