Highsnobiety has partnered with global fashion platform Lyst on The NEXT 20, a new approach to fashion forecasting. The first of its kind report predicting the next-generation brands and cultural pioneers on the rise.

Although marketing strategies and supply chains have been upended by Covid-19, youth culture doesn’t stand still. As the machinery of influence has been democratized, it is no longer dominated by giant brands and mainstream celebrities alone — the playing field of those driving culture forward has not skipped a beat.

The innovators of today no longer need the backing of traditional media, big retailers, and celebrity endorsements to get ahead. Today, the fact that emerging figures and brands write their own rules is more evident than ever before. With this in mind, Highsnobiety has partnered with Lyst — the world’s biggest fashion search platform — to present The NEXT 20, an in-depth quarterly report ranking next-generation brands and cultural pioneers (an emerging group whose power lies in their authority, not necessarily their reach — those who are the first wave to drive culture forward) on the rise. The core mission of this project is to improve the way forecasting in the fashion industry is done. In order to accomplish this, we gave the power to the public and enlisted external industry experts to go beyond personal opinion alone.

Those making up our NEXT 20 Brands and NEXT 20 Cultural Pioneer rankings range in size, social following, background, and age, yet they are unified by their current impact on youth culture, each having found a core community of influential, devoted fans. They challenge the formulaic blueprint set by mega brands and talents, respectively leading the charge and ultimately setting the stage for those who come next.

Methodology and Advisory Board

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To determine the NEXT 20 Brands and the NEXT 20 Cultural Pioneers for Q1, the Highsnobiety and Lyst teams formed an advisory board of leading industry experts to consider more than 250 brands and 300 cultural pioneers.

Lyst then created bespoke algorithms to analyze over 11,000 data points indicating breakout potential. The algorithms were designed to weigh the more established next-gen brands and cultural pioneers fairly against those who are still emerging. Data considered included Google search volume, social media performance, press, blog and online discussion metrics, and, for the brands, proprietary insights from Lyst’s fashion search platform, which is used by more than 100 million shoppers a year.

Data only paints part of the picture. Therefore, the NEXT 20 Brands and NEXT 20 Cultural Pioneers that emerged from the data were then reviewed once again by our advisory board for further commentary, adding human experience and qualitative insights to finalize our rankings.

Sarah Andelman (Founder | Just an Idea)

Serge Carreira (Head of Emerging Brands | Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode)

Saam Emme (Fashion Business Consultant)

Leila Fataar (Founder | Platform13)

Jo-Ann Furniss (Editor and Consultant)

Julie Gilhart (President | Tomorrow Consulting. CDO | Tomorrow)

Yiling Hong (Founder | Canal Street Shanghai)

Stavros Karelis (Founder and Buying Director | Machine A)

Olga Karput (Founder | KM20)

Lulu Kennedy (Founder and Director | Fashion East)

Mitsuhiro Kubo (Founder | GR8)

Stefano Martinetto (CEO | Tomorrow)

Chris Morton (Founder | Lyst)

Christopher Morency (Editor-at-Large | Highsnobiety)

Bosse Myhr (Director of Menswear and Womenswear | Selfridges)

Mel Ottenberg (Creative Director | Interview Magazine)

Marcus Paul (Stylist and Consultant)

Ida Petersson (Buying Director | Browns Fashion)

Sam Trotman | (Consultant)

Next 20 Brands

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  • #1 Jacquemus

    Highest Google search volume: 183,000 times a month in USA & Europe.

    Social and online press mentions 1116%.

    Lizzo went viral on TikTok with Jacquemus’ Mini Chiquito bag.

  • #2 Fear of God

    Collaboration with Ermenegildo Zegna.

    “Fear of God is changing the way we look at the whole genre of streetwear,” says Julie Gilhart.

    Released Nike Air Fear of God 1 ‘String’ and ‘The Question’.

  • #3 Bode

    LVMH Prize 2020 finalist and Woolmark Prize winner.

    Twice as many searches on Lyst compared to last quarter.

    “Bode is a pioneer for fashion’s new way of thinking about sustainability,” says Sarah Andelman.

  • #4 Peter Do

    Up 322% in social media impressions.

    “All bets are on Peter. He filled the empty niche of sophisticated womenswear,” says Olga Karput.

    LVMH Prize 2020 finalist.

  • #5 Arc’Teryx

    Over 13,400 social mentions.

    Up 540% in social & online press mentions after custom Arc’Teryx dresses hit Off-White’s F/W 2020 runway.

    Drake and Virgil wore matching camo jackets at Nike summit.

  • #6 Amiri

    Over 1,000 searches a day on Lyst.

    Average monthly Google search volume: 122,000.

    On Billboard, Wonderland, and Rollacoaster covers.

  • #7 Salomon

    Google search volume rose 71% over the quarter.

    Dropped collabs with Fumito Ganryu, and Wander, and 11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi.

    Strong product growth in lifestyle division.

  • #8 Needles

    Fastest IG follower growth over the quarter: 74%.

    Collaborated with A$AP Rocky’s AWGE label, and Lee.

    Needles tracksuits are becoming best-sellers.

  • #9 Marine Serre

    716% spike in social & online press mentions after F/W 2020 show.

    “These days even Kanye is walking through her showroom doing personal orders,” says Ida Petersson.

    Orders on Lyst up 40% compared to last quarter.

  • #10 Rhude

    Up 300% in social media mentions.

    Heavily endorsed by star NBA players.

    Paris Fashion Week Men’s debut.

  • #11 Maryam Nassir Zadeh

    Over 388 online press & blog articles.

    Searches on Lyst up 67% compared to last quarter.

    Expanded jewelry offering.

  • #12 Aries

    Over 300 searches a day on Lyst.

    Sold out collaboration with PORTER.

    Increased 62% in online press & social media mentions.

  • #13 Amina Muaddi

    Fastest sell-through on Lyst.

    “Her product has a very strong signature, yet with her passionate marketing, she’s rising very fast internationally,” says Yilling Hong.

    Frequently worn by Rihanna, Solange and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

  • #14 1017 ALYX 9SM

    Drake shouted out and wore 1017 ALYX 9SM in ‘Tootsie Slide’.

    Increased 50% in Google search volume.

    Ongoing collaborations with Nike, Moncler and Mackintosh.

  • #15 Aime Leon Dore

    Highest follower engagement rate: 5.4%.

    Viral campaigns for New Balance and Porsche collaborations.

    Relaunched ‘Uniform’ Program.

  • #16 Charlotte Knowles

    “Charlotte’s refined hybrid sports lingerie is how empowered women want to dress right now,” says Lulu Kennedy.

    Increased 534% in online press & social media mentions.

    Championed by Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber and Blackpink’s Rose.

  • #17 Miyagihidetaka

    Increased 614% in social media impressions compared to the previous quarter.

    Launched exclusive capsule with Highsnobiety.

    42% IG follower growth over the quarter.

  • #18 424

    Most Searched in the USA, Canadam and South Korea.

    Aresenal women’s football team debuted 424 uniforms as first ever sponsorship deal.

    Launched popular ‘American Psycho’ collection with illustrator Benjamin Marra.

  • #19 Stand

    Increased 83% in pageviews on Lyst compared to last quarter.

    27% growth in IG followers over the quarter.

    Fast becoming a favorite collaborator for influencers.

  • #20 Eytys

    Most searched in Sweden.

    Average Google search volume: 45,000 a month in the US and Europe alone.

    Increased 15% in searches on Lyst compared to last quarter.

A common theme among the brands topping our list is that they cater to a generation which expects more from a luxury brand than an expensive product alone. Our algorithm gravitated towards companies with strong on- and offline communities, especially ones who have stayed remarkably consistent in their vision and growth.

Taking this quarter’s top spot in our NEXT 20 Brands list is Jacquemus, the youthful French label named after the maiden name of its founder’s mother. Already beloved by those in the know, 2020 is the year Jacquemus reaches the masses. In the past three months, Simon Porte Jacquemus has significantly grown his womenswear offering, expanded his jewelry collection, and created viral shockwaves with his hit “Chiquito” bag. His men’s line, launched in 2018, is quickly gaining traction too.

Then there’s the brand’s viral Spring/Summer 2020 collection presented in the middle of the lavender fields of Provence — boosting social mentions by more than 1300 percent — which just hit stores. It was followed this January by one of their best collections to date, featuring star models Laetitia Casta, Doutzen Kroes, Joan Smalls, and the Hadid sisters, resulting in an increase in social and online press mentions of 1116 percent, with Lyst seeing a 159 percent rise in searches for the four days following the show compared to the four days prior.

“Jacquemus just gets brighter and brighter. I also respect the fact he’s not doing collabs.”

Sarah Andelman

“Jacquemus just gets brighter and brighter. I also respect the fact he’s not doing collabs,” says Sarah Andelman, founder of Just An Idea and creative director of the now-closed Colette.

Jacquemus is mastering the art of community building for the digital age. By having a transparent 360 degree communication and PR strategy, creating IG-friendly products worn by a diverse audience (from Lizzo to Kylie Jenner), and having a competitive price point, he’s teaching established luxury brands much, much bigger than his own some key lessons in how to grow an audience.

Brands with strong environmental practices also reign supreme in this quarter’s NEXT 20 list. Businesses including Bode, Marine Serre, 1017 ALYX 9SM, and Miyagihidetaka are among those leading the charge, educating the industry as a whole on how to seamlessly push the boundaries of creating, marketing, and selling fashion in a more sustainable way, without shoving the message down consumers’ throats.

Others featured — including Salomon, Needles, and Arc’Teryx — are not new businesses, yet they’ve found credibility in the fashion space more recently, making them important additions to the NEXT 20 Brands list. Quite quickly, they have realized youth culture’s adoption of their respective brands has allowed them to actively implement new strategies around collaborations, core product, distribution, and messaging.

This quarter alone, Needles saw its IG following rise by 74 percent — the fastest out of all the brands in The NEXT 20 — while Salomon dropped popular collaborations with And Wander, Fumito Ganryu, and 11 by Boris Bidjan Saberi. It grew its footwear lifestyle division substantially as well, continuing to add to its popularity.

At Arc’Teryx, a new wave of celebrities sighted in the cult outerwear brand greatly boosted their brand awareness. Travis Scott wore a black Gamma MX jacket in his home, self-quarantining, and received 1.5 million likes on IG. Meanwhile, Drake and Virgil wore matching Arc’Teryx LEAF camo jackets at Nike’s annual summit. The latter would go on to include custom Arc’Teryx dresses in his Off-White™ Fall/Winter 2020 runway, resulting in social and online press mentions for the outerwear brand going up by 540 percent.

Many of the brands included in The NEXT 20 are proving there’s equity in operating an independently-owned business at a time of uncertainty, when radical transparency, unique responsive product, and having aligned values with your shoppers are all more important for survival than ever before.

Next 20 Cultural Pioneers

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  • #1 Brent Faiyaz

    Up 238% in average monthly Google searches.

    Released ‘Fuck the World’ album.

    18.4% Instagram follower engagement rate.

  • #2 Charli D’Amelio

    Up 164% in social & online press mentions after Prada partnership.

    Became the most followed person on TikTok: 47.8m followers.

    First TikToker to star in a Super Bowl commercial.

  • #3 Evan Mock

    Louis Vuitton launched in-store Evan Mock mannequins.

    Up 179% in average monthly Google search volume.

    In campaigns for MCM, Calvin Klein and Macy’s

  • #4 Rickey Thompson

    Surpassed 5.8m followers on IG.

    Up 175% in average monthly Google search volume.

    Hit 1.2m Youtube followers.

  • #5 Mino

    12,100 average monthly Google searches.

    Mino’s boy band Winner released third studio album ‘Remember’.

    Reached 5.5m followers on IG.

  • #6 Val Kristopher

    Up 67% in social media mentions.

    “Val constantly engages with his community through a well curated yet simple pipeline of content,” says Stefano Martinetto.

    Gained popularity in the denim scene.

  • #7 Slowthai

    Highest Instagram follower engagement rate: 28.5%.

    US TV debut on The Tonight Show.

    Won big at NME Awards.

  • #8 Shoh Aalegra

    Up 20% in online press & blog articles.

    Walked Mugler F/W 2020 show, saw 112% increase in social & online press mentions.

    Up 173% in average monthly Google search volume.

  • #9 Lil Baby

    Most Google News results out of list.

    ‘My Turn’ number one on US Billboard 200.

    ‘Drip too hard’ nominated at 2020 Grammy Awards.

  • #10 Hunter Schafer

    Up 39% in social media mentions.

    Starred in global Calvin Klein underwear campaign.

    High 22.5% IG follower engagement rate.

  • #11 070 Shake

    Increased 254% in average monthly Google searches.

    Released debut album ‘Modus Vivendi’.

    32% IG follower growth.

  • #12 Nicole McLaughlin

    “I absolutely love and admire Nicole’s creativity, always surprising us with new objects made from other objects,” says Sarah Andelman.

    30% IG follower growth.

  • #13 Tierra Whack

    Covered Teen Vogue.

    Increased 60% in social media mentions.

    Ironic single ‘Stuck’ went viral during self-isolation, sparking #Stuckchallenge.

  • #14 Fai Khadra

    418% growth in average monthly Google search volume.

    Reached 1m IG followers.

    Launched ‘The Good Surplus’ merch line.

  • #15 Alexa Demie

    Launched collaboration and global campaign with MAC.

    22,200 average monthly Google searches.

    High 27.5% IG follower engagement rate.

  • #16 Frederik Heyman

    “As fashion photography and film move into the future, Frederik’s work adds an extra layer to those mediums,” says Stavros Karelis.

    Collaborated with Paper Magazine on Lady Gaga cover.

    56% IG follower growth.

  • #17 Sinead Burke

    717 online press & blog articles.

    Covered T Magazine alongside Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, Florence Welch and Mykki Blanco.

    On juries for LVMH Prize and International Woolmark Prize.

  • #18 DJ D-Nice

    Launched ‘Club Quarantine’ on IG live, drawing in Rihanna, Michelle Obama, and Lenny Kravitz.

    Fastest IG follower growth: 828% in March.

    24,650% spike in Google search volume in March.

  • #19 Coco Baudelle

    Increased 100% in social media mentions.

    Closely connected with next gen brands like Glossier and Saks Potts.

    Increased 125% in average monthly Google searches.

  • #20 KATERINA

    “She’s one of the most promising Russian influencers and singers with an impressive style,” says Olga Karput.

    High 15.5% IG engagement rate.

    Increased 210% in social media mentions.

The designers featured in this quarter’s NEXT 20 Cultural Pioneers ranking are interestingly under the radar in the fashion scene. They operate simultaneously within and without the traditional fashion system — much to their advantage. They all excel at controlling their narratives by reaching fans directly and by being radically transparent about their lives and endorsements of each other. They’ve found ways to authentically amass big groups of fans around the world without selling out or resorting to forced publicity.

The rapper Pop Smoke originally led the NEXT 20 Cultural Pioneers list, before his sad passing in mid February. During a pulse check just a few days before, the 20-year-old Brooklyn rap phenom — who was embraced by fashion figures like Virgil Abloh and whose second mixtape, Meet the Woo 2 was released only a few days before his death — clocked in at number one.

Pop is succeeded by the American singer and record producer Christopher Brent Wood, better known by his stage name Brent Faiyaz. His critically acclaimed second studio album Fuck the World was released in early February, peaking at number 20 on the US Billboard 200 chart. That same month, he suited up and sat front row at the New York Fashion Week shows of Prabal Gurung and Brandon Maxwell. Pyer Moss’ Spring/Summer 2020 collection, for which Faiyaz modeled, just hit stores. The 24-year-old broke through this quarter, with average monthly Google searches up 238 percent and a 57 percent follower growth on IG, on which he also has an exceptionally high engagement rate of 18.4 percent.

Faiyaz leads a meteoric pack of musicians who dominated the internet this quarter. South Korean rapper Mino, Swedish singer Snoh Aalegra, British rapper slowthai, Kanye West-collaborator 070 Shake, and American rappers Tierra Whack and Lil Baby have all pushed the industry’s perception of interdisciplinary stardom forward as a whole.

And it’s paying off. This year, Mino has been Googled 12,100 times a month, while slowthai — whose Russian girlfriend KATERINA also appears on this list — has this quarter’s highest IG follower engagement at a staggering 28.5 percent. Snoh Aalegra, now based in Los Angeles, saw an uptick of 112 percent in social and online press mentions after walking Mugler’s Fall/Winter 2020 show. And Lil Baby, who with 47 entries earlier this year tied the Billboard Hot 100 records of Paul McCartney and Prince, took the top spot of most Google News results out of the list. Tierra Whack covered Teen Vogue’s March issue, while 070 Shake grew her IG following by 32 percent over the quarter after releasing Modus Vivendi, her debut studio album.

Then there are the social media stars, like TikToker Charli D’Amelio and internet sensation Rickey Thompson, whose online fame is fast turning into real life cash. This quarter, D’Amelio became the most followed person on TikTok with over 47.2 million followers, and later signed with Hollywood mega-agency UTA. The content creator would go on to become the first TikToker to star in a Super Bowl commercial as well as the first TikToker to partner with a luxury fashion house. After attending Prada’s Fall/Winter 2020 show in Milan, during which she created videos with models backstage, D’Amelio saw social and online press mentions jump up by 164 percent. Thompson also had a big quarter — he’s worked with Moncler, Calvin Klein, and American Eagle, and has surpassed 5.8 million followers on IG and 1.2 on Youtube, and is up 175 percent in average monthly Google searches.

“Val constantly engages with his community through a well curated yet simple pipeline of content.”

Stefano Martinetto

Val Kristopher, who was born in the Philippines and resides in Manchester, doesn’t show on-schedule at any of the major fashion weeks, nor does he produce a set amount of collections per year, yet he has seen social media mentions grow by 67 percent this quarter. “Val constantly engages with his community through a well curated yet simple pipeline of content,” says Stefano Martinetto, CEO at Tomorrow London. Like Kristopher, American creative Nicole McLaughlin does not adhere to the growth plans many young designers find themselves dealing with early on. While her viral, upcycled customs remain a secret to a wider industry that’s too busy with praising the same designers, McLaughlin is creating an impressive following of her own. All of the figures included in the Next 20 Cultural Pioneers list are showing their respective industries how far they are still able to push themselves. They refute what’s expected of them, challenging themselves to look beyond merely their own discipline. It’s why we expect them to dominate the future.

  • Words: Christopher Morency
  • Lyst Editors: Katy Lubin, Peter Henderson
  • Graphics: Martin Major
  • Images: Callum Leyden, Tetiana Khvorostiana
  • Image Credits: Getty, Highsnobiety/Quil Lemons, Highsnobiety/Daniel Regan
  • Web Design: Shaun Roach
Editorial Director

Toronto-born, bred in The Netherlands, living in London.