Three years ago, the brand Ostwald Helgason was virtually unknown. But then stylish women such as Natalie Joos and Miroslava Duma discovered the London-based brand and were subsequently photographed wearing its colorful pieces during fashion month. Those pictures helped get Ostwald on the map — and now the design duo behind the brand, Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason, freely admit that street-style photography has helped them immensely.
Now a new crop of designers are following in their footsteps and using street style as a form of really great marketing. Labels like Sandy Liang, Urania Gazelli, and Joshua Sanders are among the emerging brands that have turned recognizable pieces, like furry coats or holographic sneakers, into press coverage. Other brands, meanwhile, originate with street-style stars themselves: The high-end and surreal ready-to-wear line Vika Gazinskaya, the youthful and quirky contemporary brand A.W.A.K.E. (by Natalia Alaverdian), and the charmingly retro fine-jewelry and ready-to-wear line Natasha Zinko are all fashion brands started by women who are also frequently photographed at shows (and who now appear in their own designs).
Since today marks the first day of Milan Fashion Week — and we’ll likely be seeing many of these designers on the streets this week — check through our slideshow of ten designers who used the street circus to their advantage.