Here at FashionBeans, we’re big fans of the retail giants, with the likes of Uniqlo, Topman, Paul Smith and Urban Outfitters often taking centre stage. But what of the smaller independent brands? Recession blues may have dampened most industries yet the fashion world has not only remained buoyant – it has grown. The UK is a major style hub (kudos fellow Brits, kudos), and with this reputation comes a vast array of smaller fashion brands that are sure to become household names in the very near future.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of advantages to buying independent. Firstly, the chances of seeing somebody else in the same piece is vastly reduced; although we’re less verbal than the fairer sex about such a catastrophe, I defy any man that says they don’t feel a tinge of embarrassment.

Buying independent also means supporting independent – you’re helping a young company grow. We should all be doing our bit to encourage and develop small businesses, especially when they’re putting killer threads on our back.

With this in mind, take advantage of FashionBeans’ current picks of the independent market…

1. RA Clothing

An amalgamation of LA neon and Hilfiger prep (trust us, it works), RA clothing imbues every piece with luxury detailing. Whether it’s their trademark gold stitching or the Illuminati-esque imagery, there’s something unique about RA.

Launched as a brand that tackles the whole ‘quality over mass production’ problem, RA clothing is undoubtedly one for the more urban amongst our kind. Think varsity jackets, snap backs and bold logo tees with a fine injection of regality. Every piece seems to possess a certain new money aristocracy, and anybody looking for the next level in streetwear would do well to invest.

Deepak from the brand itself states that they are aiming for clothing which is ideal for “hopping out of flamboyant vehicles and into marble decorated lobbies”. We couldn’t agree more.

RA Clothing Lookbook

RA Clothing Lookbook

Current Pieces
  • Theology Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.Theology Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.
  • Abstract Ra Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.Abstract Ra Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.
  • Infinity Hoodie By Ra Clothing Co.Infinity Hoodie By Ra Clothing Co.
  • Charge Crew Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.Charge Crew Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.
  • T-ra-iangle TeeT-ra-iangle Tee
  • Indian SummerIndian Summer
  • TrademarkTrademark
  • Dappers Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.Dappers Sweatshirt By Ra Clothing Co.
  • Ra Crown Snapback WhiteRa Crown Snapback White
2. Southern Structure

Although a company very much in its infancy, Southern Structure isn’t the average online tee store. Tapping into the popular market of urban fashion (think A$AP Rocky and Iggy Azalea), the brand provides affordable pieces that offer something incredibly different to the current high street trends.

A particular favourite amongst the FashionBeans team lies in the ‘Bleach Flag’ pocket shirt. In regular circumstances, a combination of heavy prints and logos would be far too busy, but for some reason, Southern Structure manages to strike a perfect chord.

If you’re looking for the perfect spring time tee, then the search is over.

Current Pieces
  • Chillin TshirtChillin Tshirt
  • Bleach Flag Pocket TshirtBleach Flag Pocket Tshirt
  • Will Prevail Black & Gold TshirtWill Prevail Black & Gold Tshirt
  • Will Prevail Maroon TshirtWill Prevail Maroon Tshirt
  • Rasta Pocket TshirtRasta Pocket Tshirt
  • C.r.e.a.m TshirtC.r.e.a.m Tshirt
3. Albam

Practical. Affordable. Wearable. What more can one man ask for?

Since Albam’s formation in 2006, the brand has gone from strength to strength by providing classic, no-nonsense menswear for the contemporary gent. The saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” has never rung truer for a fashion brand; championing the Breton stripe, perfecting the classic white t-shirt and pioneering the canvas shopper are all notches on Albam’s very impressive bedpost.

Combining their own products with other brands, Albam has a very versatile and very desirable collection. The classics really are timeless for a reason.

Albam Lookbook

Men's Albam Clothing Lookbook

Current Pieces
  • Seamless T ShirtSeamless T Shirt
  • Ernest ShirtErnest Shirt
  • Carson CardiganCarson Cardigan
  • Track SweatTrack Sweat
  • Athletic CrewAthletic Crew
  • Cotton JeanCotton Jean
  • Slim Leg JeanSlim Leg Jean
  • Coach JacketCoach Jacket
  • Canvas ShopperCanvas Shopper
4. Private V.C White

Being a proud northerner, any company with its roots in the finer side of England has a special place in my heart. All regional bias aside, Private V.C. White from Manchester presents a fine collection of tailoring with a distinctly British workwear appeal.

The brand is perfect for those looking to bring a little rural finery into city life as V.C. offers the very best in marl coats, waxed jackets and corduroy chinos.

Private Jack White, the company’s founder, had a strong military background that has undoubtedly inspired the brand’s ethos: pieces are structured, uniformed and ultimately charming.

It is now being stocked at Mr Porter – need we say more?

Private V.C White Lookbook

Private V.C White Clothing Lookbook

Current Pieces
  • The Shop Coat – KhakiThe Shop Coat - Khaki
  • Private White V.c. Waxed-cotton Bomber JacketPrivate White V.c. Waxed-cotton Bomber Jacket
  • Private White V.c. Waxed-cotton Field JacketPrivate White V.c. Waxed-cotton Field Jacket
  • Private White V.c. Quilted Wool Flight JacketPrivate White V.c. Quilted Wool Flight Jacket
  • Private White V.c. Quilted Waxed-cotton Flight JacketPrivate White V.c. Quilted Waxed-cotton Flight Jacket
  • Jet Jacket – OliveJet Jacket - Olive
  • Slim Combat Shorts – BeigeSlim Combat Shorts - Beige
  • Combat Blazer – KhakiCombat Blazer - Khaki
  • Cheaney Pennine Iir Country BootsCheaney Pennine Iir Country Boots
5. James Aubrey

The ultimate in Cotswolds couture. James Aubrey is a relatively new menswear brand that evokes and embraces the countryside gent – perfect for more formal dos, a day at the races or a weekend excursion to the countryside with the missus.

With a large variety of tweeds, knits and heritage checks, Aubrey does more than satisfy those looking for a finer sartorial injection. Whilst many pieces may be aimed at the more mature gentleman, it’s the brand’s tailored classics that will enchant any style-conscious chap.

Not the cheapest of our independent brands, but the quality sure is worth every single penny.

James Aubrey Lookbook

James Aubrey Men's Clothing Lookbook

Current Pieces
  • Long Sleeve Carbon Peach Casual Check/stripe ShirtLong Sleeve Carbon Peach Casual Check/stripe Shirt
  • V Neck Cable Knit PulloverV Neck Cable Knit Pullover
  • Crew Neck Breton Stripe Pull OverCrew Neck Breton Stripe Pull Over
  • Stripe BlazerStripe Blazer
  • Donegal Sports JacketDonegal Sports Jacket
  • Sports JacketSports Jacket
  • WaistcoatWaistcoat
  • Wool/cashmere Reefer CoatWool/cashmere Reefer Coat
  • Heavy Weight Cotton CordHeavy Weight Cotton Cord
Final Words

So, there you have five independent brands that we believe all our readers should be aware of.

Sometimes, through sheer convenience and well-trodden shopping rituals, we end up with a wardrobe stocked only with pieces from our favourite high street outlets – but why not try mixing it up with something from the fringes of the fashion industry this year? You never know when you could be graced with a coveted ‘limited edition’ item.

Make sure you let us know your favourite independent menswear labels in the comments section below.